US FDA authorizes virtual reality system for reducing back pain

The device was authorized based on trial results that evaluated 179 patients, where about 65% of the patients showed a greater than 30% reduction in pain.

 Back pain (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Back pain
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized a virtual reality (VR) system from Applied VR for reducing lower back pain after a majority of patients in a trial testing the device showed lesser discomfort.

The device, EaseVRx, uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other associated methods to help with pain reduction and is meant for self-use at home.

It consists of a VR headset and a controller, along with a breathing amplifier attached to the headset for use in deep breathing exercises. The treatment consists of 56 VR sessions, 2-16 minutes long, with an eight-week treatment program.

The device was authorized based on trial results that evaluated 179 patients, where about 65% of the patients showed a greater than 30% reduction in pain.

Software developer Applied VR has a number of virtual reality devices under development for diseases including anxiety and general pain.

Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland. (credit: REUTERS)Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland. (credit: REUTERS)

Last year, a small study suggested that immersion in virtual reality may relieve some of the pain of contractions before childbirth.