FDA approves VR therapy for chronic back pain

The EaseVRx therapy for chronic back pain works on the principles of cognitive behavior

Chronic back pain

An announcement was made by the Food and Drug Administration that it has authorized a virtual reality system that can be prescribed as a treatment for chronic back pain. The recent announcement has marked the versatility of the VR technology after it already marked its importance in the world of gaming.

The new VR therapy is known as EaseVRx and has joined the list of the digital therapeutics that has been cleared by the agency in the past few years. The EaseVRx therapy includes a VR headset and a device that amplifies the sound of the breathe of the users to assist in breathing exercises. The therapy makes use of the principles from the cognitive behavior therapy that aims to help people identify and understand a number of patterns and emotions. The pain here is addressed with the help of distraction, relaxation and the improved awareness of the internal signals.

The EaseVRx has been recognized by the FDA on the basis of an eight week study done in 179 people who have low back pain that lasted for six months or longer. Half of the participants had enrolled in the EaseVRx program while the rest of them enrolled in another program. The other program was a two-dimensional virtual reality program that did not use cognitive behavioral therapy methods. Nearly two-thirds of the participants who were enrolled for the EaseVRx therapy said that they experienced a 30 percent reduction in pain while just 41 percent of the control group had a similar reduction. The reduction in the pain lasted for nearly three months after the study of the people in the EaseVRx group.

Christopher Loftus, the acting director at the Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices at the FDA said that the new therapy can be used as an alternative to the opioid medications for chronic back pain. The recent research has also shown that psychological approaches and can also prove to be effective treatments for chronic pain.

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