Altered Central Pain Processing
A study published in The Journal of Pain offers hope to those in pain. Researchers examined virtual reality and how it might improve conditioned pain modulation. For those with nerve injuries and other types of pain, VR can improve a dysfunctional pain suppression system. By stimulating the natural pain inhibiting process VR was shown to "modulate dynamic CPM responses and mechanical hypersensitivity in healthy volunteers" and could be a game-changer once tested on those in pain.
The study "demonstrated that exposure to an immersive virtual reality environment can modulate perceptual correlates of endogenous pain modulation and secondary hyperalgesia in a human surrogate pain model" suggesting that VR "could provide a novel mechanism-driven analgesic strategy in patients with altered central pain processing." Dr Sam Hughes, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Plymouth, England, stated that these results suggest, "that virtual reality can not only reduce pain perception in human models of chronic pain, but also gives us insight into the mechanisms behind this effect. The next step of course is to conduct the study with people who experience chronic pain to see if it works for them."
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