Virtual Reality, Music, and Pain: Developing the Premise for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Pain Management

Emily Honzel; Sarah Murthi; Barbara Brawn-Cinani; Giancarlo Colloca; Craig Kier; Amitabh Varshney; Luana Colloca


Pain. 2019;160(9):1909-1919. 

In This Article


Based on the studies discussed above, both VR and MT might contribute to reducing pain through mechanisms that include distraction and demand on attention, mood and emotion regulation, and immersion and engagement. Virtual reality and MT can act as a multimodal pain intervention by activating in turn, sensory-perceptual, action-related, cognitive, affective, and evaluative processes. Future research is needed to explore the mutual contribution of these processes and their effect sizes. At the time of this publication, no studies have been published that assess music as part of the VR intervention for pain management. We believe that with the relative novelty and ongoing development of VR and MT experiences, it is both feasible and logical to introduce VR-MT environments to promote therapeutic hypoalgesic outcomes. Immersive VR-MT presents a unique and promising approach to pain management and could help further our understanding of the complex relationship between music and VR-driven neurobiological healing mechanisms.