Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Samsung, Travelers Insurance, Bayer and AppliedVR have teamed up in a new 16-month study to evaluate virtual reality (VR) for pain reduction and therapeutic purposes. The belief is that VR can potentially be a drug-free tool for pain management. Similar VR studies are happening in Canada. Earlier this year, researchers from Simon Fraser University’s Pain Studies Lab recruited people with and without arthritis to play their VR game. Their goal is to understand how VR can be used as a tool for enhancing physical activity, which can help reduce pain.
According to Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, the study will use technology from Samsung, Bayer and AppliedVR as a supplement to manage pain in patients with acute orthopaedic injuries of the lower back and extremities. The study will be funded by Travelers and Samsung. Dr. Spiegel added: “We need to find ways to stem the tide without relying entirely on medicines. Health technology, like virtual reality, has tremendous potential to improve outcomes while saving costs, which is why we’re so excited about this collaboration among academia and industry.”