One way to live with incurable pain is to focus on a distraction. That is why virtual reality has slowly been integrating itself into the medical world.

The first time VR technology was used for a pain management study was in 2000. Two separate burn victims undergoing burn wound care were handed virtual reality goggles to help distract them from their treatments. The study demonstrated a decrease in anxiety, pain levels and the amount of time the patients spent thinking about pain. This form of distraction has also been tested on patients suffering from various cases of chronic pain. The study also showed that using VR technology during treatments helped maintain the patients’ pulse rate and pain ratings at normal levels.

In the last few years, VR distraction has been implemented in some hospitals. VR technology is being used to help keep patients- particularly children- still during long MRI or CAT scans. It has yet been truly implemented into pain management plans because of cost and a limited amount of research completed.

Samsung recently announced their collaboration with Travelers Insurance, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Bayer and Applied VR in funding a 16-month study on VR distraction.

Who knows, maybe after this study, VR distraction could become part of your new pain management plan.