Concentrating on Virtual Worlds Helps Patients Endure Pain
Patients in Sheffield, England who wore a headset to immerse themselves in a virtual basketball game said they felt less pain when having bandages changed, according to an online post by the BBC, featuring the Northern General Hospital’s Virtual Reality program.
The virtual reality gaming trial is helping burn victims deal with agonizing pain inflicted during medical treatment in the first experiment of its kind in the country. Researchers are expecting to roll out the technique to other hospitals over the next few years.
Medical procedures for burn injury often induce great pain. The present study uses VR to occupy a participant’s attentional resources. This may leave less attention free for the processing of pain, thereby reducing its severity. Nurses said the pain of cleaning and dressing wounds could be so intense that many patients could not tolerate it for long.
Senior sister Michelle Morris said: “One particular patient did have a lot of anxiety and didn’t want us to clean or touch the wound at all.
“With the VR he almost forgot the wound was there and he let us do pretty much what we wanted.”
This is only a fraction of the daily relief from suffering that the latest technologies are providing worldwide. The amount of robotic interaction in surgeries, minor and major, grows in number and intricacy on a regular basis. The use of VR is also being used in rehab for patients unable to walk when first given a prosthesis to stand on. The VR assists in regaining their balance and allows them to experience any environment they choose, and that makes them more comfortable in adapting.