Using virtual reality to treat neuropathic pain in people with spinal cord injury

Takeaway

  • Virtual reality (VR) may be an effective non-pharmacologic intervention for treating chronic neuropathic pain (NP) in people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Why this matters

  • Studies have shown that VR can reduce acute and chronic pain levels, possibly by downregulating nociceptive neural signaling leading to a decrease in pain perception, although its analgesic mechanisms are unclear.

  • There is currently a lack of research investigating the effects of different virtual environments (VE) on pain relief, including in people with previous SCI.

  • Although only a pilot, this study provides evidence for the efficacy of VR as a potential novel non-pharmacologic treatment for neuropathic pain in people with SCI.