The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has licensed a virtual reality system as a treatment for chronic low back pain. This treatment is called EaseVRx and joins the list of digital treatments that have been approved by the FDA in recent years.
The EaseVRx treatment consists of a virtual reality headset and an auxiliary device Is used Which amplifies the user’s breathing sound to help the person breathe properly. In this method, the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy are used, which try to help people identify and understand thought patterns and emotions. This mechanism treats pain by relaxing, distracting, and raising awareness of internal signals.
The Food and Drug Administration issued the permit after studying data from an eight-week EaseVRx test on 179 people, all of whom had low back pain for six months or more. Half of them used the EaseVRx program, and the rest faced a two-dimensional virtual reality program that lacked cognitive-behavioral therapy.
About two-thirds of participants in the EaseVRx group reported a more than 30 percent reduction in pain, while only 41 percent in the control group reported a similar reduction in pain intensity. This amount of pain relief remained for up to three months for the EaseVRx group, but no such condition was observed in the control group.
Christopher Loftus, director of the FDA’s Office of Physical and Neurological Therapy, said in a statement that the VR system could be an alternative to back pain opioid treatments. Research has shown that psychological approaches can be effective in treating chronic pain for some people.
EaseVRx was developed by AppliedVR, which is currently testing the same platform for the treatment of fibromyalgia, burn pain and labor pain.