Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I've been thinking about the latest computer technology. Is it possible to use virtual reality programs to help overcome chronic pain? My son is doing a special science project at school. This might be a good one to pursue.

Scientists are beginning to examine virtual reality (VR) as a way to address chronic pain. VR allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. It could be real or imagined.

Most VR programs offer visual experiences. They are shown either on a computer screen or through special TV displays. Some simulations include sound heard through speakers or headphones. More advanced systems also include tactile input (touch). This feature is referred to as force feedback in medical and gaming applications.

Altering the focus through VR is a way to influence (and maybe even change) a person's focus. By doing so, it may be possible to decrease the person's perception of pain. Some studies have already shown that using VR to distract young children can bring pain relief (or pain prevention) for children having painful medical procedures.

MRIs show that brain waves associated with pain are less active when children are distracted by VR gaming. VR as an analgesic (pain reliever) is a novel and new approach that has unlimited potential. More studies in this area are definitely needed.


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