US FDA Authorizes Virtual Reality System for Reducing Back Pain

By Reuters Staff

November 18, 2021

(Reuters) - The U.S. 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 less discomfort.

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

Other studies have also found that immersion in virtual reality may relieve pain, such as the pain of contractions before childbirth (