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AppliedVR Evaluating At-home VR Therapy for Alleviating Chronic Pain

AppliedVR, a Los Angeles-based company, offers a virtual reality (VR) platform equipped with headsets and goggles to generate three-dimensional virtual worlds. It has been tested out for the prospects of reducing childbirth labour pains, burn-related pains, and discomfort from cancer treatment infusions.

AppliedVR collaborates with upwards of 200 hospitals to facilitate VR-based therapy for helping patients get relief from acute post-surgery pain and hospitalisation-related pain.

The company has partnered up with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for targeting and relieving chronic pain right from the homes of patients. AppliedVR has ambitions of trying out its immersive VR programmes for chronic pain and palliative care with help from VA. The company is also carrying out clinical trials with Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic to evaluate the potency of VR as a probable opioid replacement. The startup company considers its VR-based technology to be a potential home therapy solution for patients with chronic pain, in light of the circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

AppliedVR went ahead with a random controlled trial for testing the proficiency of patients utilising an at-home VR programme by themselves to alleviate pain. Based on the study results published in the JMIR-FR, the digital pain management initiative of the company can be an effective at-home chronic pain treatment.

AppliedVR evaluating VR therapy for chronic pain. Image source: appliedvr

The study involved analysis of data obtained from 74 individuals suffering from chronic lower back pain or fibromyalgia pain across a period of 21 days. Half of the participants were provided virtual reality headsets and had to watch virtual programmes where they swam with dolphins, played games and gazed on scenery. The VR group participants witnessed a reduction of their pain levels, pain interference and stress, based on the findings of the study.

The VR programme enables patients to learn self management capabilities originating from proof-driven cognitive behavioral therapy principles, in addition to mindfulness and biofeedback. Josh Sackman, AppliedVR president and co-founder, spoke to Fierce Healthcare, stating that the objective of the programme was to teach skills to patients so that they can live better lives after taking off their VR headsets.

AppliedVR has stated that the study is among the first to explore the potency of VR therapy which is self-administered by patients at their homes. The company has used the results of the study to spread out its programme to eight weeks. It will be put to the test in the latter stages of 2020 for additional trials.

According to Sackman, handling and living with pain can be quite difficult and expensive for individuals. Patients suffering from chronic pain can reach the points of desperation and hopelessness for relief. He said that the company is driven to perform more detailed research for making VR a potential pain care tool. Sackman also said that he was motivated to launch the startup company five years ago due to his own pain management experiences.

AppliedVR is putting in efforts to create a VR pharmacy for providing custom therapies, media and content for patients.

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