Powers MB, Carl E, Levihn-Coon A, et al. Nonpharmacologic Pain Management Among Hospitalized Inpatients: A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial of Standard Virtual Reality (CGI VR) Versus Video Capture VR (360 degrees 3D/Stereoscopic Video Capture VR). Clin J Pain. 2021 Sep 1;37(9):678-687. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000958. (Original study)

OBJECTIVES: Nonpharmacologic pain management strategies are needed because of the growing opioid epidemic. While studies have examined the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) for pain reduction, there is little research in adult inpatient settings, and no studies comparing the relative efficacy of standard animated computer-generated imagery (CGI) VR to Video Capture VR (360 degrees 3D/stereoscopic Video Capture VR). Here, we report on a randomized controlled trial of the relative efficacy of standard CGI VR versus Video Capture VR (matched for content) and also compared the overall efficacy of VR to a waitlist control group.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants (N=103 hospitalized inpatients reporting pain) were randomized to 1 of 3 conditions: (1) waitlist control, (2) CGI VR, or (3) Video Capture VR. The VR and waitlist conditions were 10 minutes in length. Outcomes were assessed pretreatment, post-treatment, and after a brief follow-up.

RESULTS: Consistent with hypotheses, both VR conditions reduced pain significantly more relative to the waitlist control condition (d=1.60, P<0.001) and pain reductions were largely maintained at the brief follow-up assessment. Both VR conditions reduced pain by ~50% and led to improvements in mood, anxiety, and relaxation. Contrary to prediction, the Video Capture VR condition was not significantly more effective at reducing pain relative to the CGI VR condition (d=0.25, P=0.216). However, as expected, patients randomized to the Video Capture VR rated their experience as more positive and realistic (d=0.78, P=0.002).

DISCUSSION: Video Capture VR was as effective as CGI VR for pain reduction and was rated as more realistic.

Discipline Area Score
Psychologist 7 / 7
Physician 6 / 7
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 6 / 7
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

This is a very useful study. A lot of patients would definitely appreciate the additional non-opioid means to help deal with pain.

Psychologist rater

This is an area worthy of further investigation. Relevance to treatment of chronic pain should also be investigated.

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

The benefit of this article is providing optional choices other than drug therapy. Frankly, this appears to be a large expense. I prefer to see doctors using nutrients to balance brain chemistry for good results.
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