Virtual Reality Approaches to Pain: Toward a State of the Science

Zina Trost; Christopher France; Monima Anam; Corey Shum


Pain. 2021;162(2):325-331. 

In This Article


Virtual reality pain research is increasingly applied to a range of acute and chronic pain conditions. The field is spurred by rapid technological advancements and creative deployment of VR capabilities, with exciting developments in the areas of embodiment and manipulation of virtual cues to address pain-related targets. Yet, despite rapid development, this relatively young field calls for replication and standardization as part of a theoretical framework to facilitate reflective, purposeful progress that is not driven solely by technology. The heuristic model offered by the current review aims to facilitate a language and critical examination of the key elements that drive VR effects on pain experience.