Session Time: None. Available on demand.
Disclosures: Todd Maddox, PhD: AppliedVR (Products/Services: No) (Employment)
Background and/or Objectives: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the most prevalent chronic pain condition worldwide. Although behavioral medicine is generally effective, its accessibility remains poor. Pain mitigation solutions that are effective and accessible while utilizing virtual reality (VR) headsets have been developed. VR engages multiple pain and learning centers in the brain thus potentially speeding the development of behavioral skills and habits known to mitigate pain. This report evaluates the 6 month post-treatment efficacy of an 8-week home-based therapeutic immersive pain relief skills (RelieVRx) program.
Design: Double-blind, parallel arm, randomized placebo-controlled study
Setting: Participants’ home
Participants: 188 participants were randomized to the 56-day RelieVRx program (Nf94); or the 56-day Sham VR program (Nf94).
Interventions: 56-day therapeutic immersive pain relief skills VR or 56-day Sham VR that displayed two-dimensional nature scenes
Main Outcome Measures: Reductions in pain intensity and pain interference with activity, mood, sleep and stress from pre-treatment to 6 months post-treatment.
Results: Immediate post-treatment results demonstrated clinically meaningful and superior reduction for RelieVRx compared to Sham VR for average pain intensity, and pain interference on activity, mood, sleep, and stress. At post-treatment month 6, clinically meaningful reductions (i.e., those 30% or greater) in pain intensity (31%), as well as pain interference with activity (35%), sleep (44%), mood (39%), and stress (42%) were observed for the RelieVRx group. In contrast, no outcome reached clinical meaningfulness in Sham VR. RelieVRx participants also reported using deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness and self-compassion twice as much as Sham VR participants at post-treatment month 6 to manage their pain, suggesting that RelieVRx builds behavioral skills and habits that are applied outside of the headset.
Conclusions: An 8-week, home-based VR pain management program confers important reductions in pain intensity and interference up to 6 months after treatment.
Level of Evidence: Level I
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Maddox T, Okhotin D. Six-month Follow-up Results of a Double-blind, Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial of 8-week Self-administered At-home Behavioral Skills-based Virtual Reality (VR) for Chronic Low Back Pain [abstract]. PM R. 2022; 14(S1)(suppl 1). https://pmrjabstracts.org/abstract/six-month-follow-up-results-of-a-double-blind-randomized-placebo-controlled-trial-of-8-week-self-administered-at-home-behavioral-skills-based-virtual-reality-vr-for-chronic-low-back-pain/. Accessed December 3, 2023.
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