Virtual Reality interventions for acute and chronic pain management

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2019 Sep:114:105568. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2019.105568. Epub 2019 Jul 12.


Virtual Reality (VR) is now consumer ready and nearing ubiquity. In terms of clinical applications, several studies suggest that VR can be effective as a complementary adjunct or alternative non-pharmacologic analgesic in a range of pain-inducing procedures and in management of chronic pain. The increasing affordability and quality of portable VR headsets and the ongoing utility of pain therapy signals an exciting future for the use of VR for analgesia. However, further research is needed to establish its long-term benefits if VR is to be adopted into mainstream protocols for analgesia management. This research requires a range of study designs with collection of patient self-report and clinical data together to develop bespoke interventions for different cohorts.

Keywords: Analgesia; Pain; Virtual Reality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pain Management*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy*
  • Virtual Reality*