Norwich researchers explore VR games as way to treat chronic pain

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are studying whether virtual reality can help treat chronic pain.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are studying whether virtual reality can help treat chronic pain. - Credit: UEA

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have launched a new project to see whether virtual reality could help with the treatment of chronic pain.

The team will study whether new technology delivered via a VR headset could help ease symptoms, including people being taught to control elements of an interactive VR game using only the power of their mind.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are studying whether virtual reality can help treat chronic pain.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are studying whether virtual reality can help treat chronic pain. - Credit: UEA

Dr Jordan Tsigarides, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School and a rheumatology doctor at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “Virtual Reality is an emerging technology where the user gains a completely immersive, interactive and often transformative experience with the use of a head-mounted display.

“VR seems to flood the brain with a multitude of audiovisual signals, engaging the senses and diverting the brain’s attention from processing pain signals.”

The study, which also involves neuroscientists at the UEA, has seen AI technology company Orbital Innovations create an innovative new VR program for patients.



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