Forget Tramadol - Use Virtual Reality!

Forget Tramadol - Use Virtual Reality!

Until now, virtual reality has been talked about as a valuable tool for training new doctors, and assisting surgeons to make the right cut. But a recent study suggests that virtual reality could also help patients recover from their operations.

Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that spending 20 minutes in a calm VR game dramatically reduced the acute pain felt by patients. The volunteers taking part in the study reported a 24% reduction in their pain - from 5.5 to 4 on the pain scale. This is a sizeable effect, and one comparable to drug-based painkillers.

The results are so astounding that the Center 
plans to do a more formal, clinical controlled trial with VR headsets.

The work was originally stimulated by AppliedVR, who have developed a VR platform specifically for clinical settings. As well as working with Cedars-Sinai, the company have partnered with the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and Stanford. It's their strong belief that their simple pain-relief platforms will work effectively as a drug-free alternative for pain management resulting from procedures like blood work, epidurals, and chemotherapy. 

AppliedVR also hope that their platforms could help reduce patients' anxiety and discomfort whilst waiting for operations or undergoing routine, minor out-patient procedures. By using mobile VR headsets, such as the Samsung Gear, costs could be kept quite low for healthcare providers. 

One of their pain relief platforms is a straightforward game called Bear Blast, where the patient moves their head to toss balls at cartoon bears. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

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