Researchers have conducted various studies on the role of VR in acute and chronic pain management. From rehabilitation of burn survivors to decrease pain and anxiety in patients during their cancer treatment to treating chronic neck pain, VR has been used in the management of a variety of painful medical conditions. A majority of these studies have been conducted in hospitals and rehab centres. However, COVID-19 has ramped up the concept of decentralized clinical research.  

AppliedVR—pioneers in VR therapeutics—has partnered with Curebase—a tech firm that offers decentralized clinical research solutions—to test its VR-based 3D, immersive headset and goggles in chronic pain management through five decentralized clinical studies in patient’s homes. These clinical trials with Curebase will be based on a self-administered VR therapy program. The Curebase software will manage all aspects of running clinical trials such as patient recruitment, consent, engagement, and collection of data. 

In October 2020, AppliedVR received FDA breakthrough device designation for using its EaseVRx—a software-based VR medical device—in treating chronic lower back pain and fibromyalgia. The company conducted a trial and published the results in the Journal of Medical Internet Research concluding that EaseVRx offers meaningful symptom reduction in patients with average pain intensity. 

The VR tech company has already worked with more than 240 hospitals in managing more than 30,000 patients with acute pain after surgery. Its current partnership with Curebase could be revolutionary in managing pain via nonpharmacologic forms of analgesia. In fact, VR could be better than pharmacological analgesia as it offers a holistic approach that encompasses biological, psychological, and social factors. 

If AppliedVR is successful in getting meaningful results through its partnership with Curebase in testing VR for chronic pain management, the US can save more than $635 billion spent annually in managing chronic pain.