Chronic pain and the opioid crisis are the two biggest public health challenges of our time. Using virtual reality to change how pain is experienced can serve a huge need in this fight. Both chronic pain and addiction are the byproducts of complex structural changes that take place at the brain level that affect many important biological systems, including those that regulate emotions, decision-making, and movement.
Any intervention that has the power to reshape these disrupted circuits, like meditation or exercise as examples, carries potential for drug-free transformative pain relief. While VR has previously been shown to help mold therapeutic neuroplastic changes for conditions like strokes, we can now demonstrate how VR can play a valuable role in overcoming chronic pain.
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.