The prescription-use immersive virtual reality apparatus, EaseVRx, which can provide patients much-needed relief from chronic lower back pain, has received FDA approval. The system combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other behavioral methods to help alleviate the pain.
“Millions of adults in the United States are living with chronic lower back pain that can affect multiple aspects of their daily life,” said Christopher M. Loftus, MD, Acting Director of the Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
“Pain reduction is a crucial component of living with chronic lower back pain. Today’s authorization offers a treatment option for pain reduction that does not include opioid pain medications when used alongside other treatment methods for chronic lower back pain,” he added.
EaseVRx is available with a prescription for at-home use. The entire setup comprises a VR headset and a controller, with a ‘breathing amplifier’ attached to the headset that directs a patient’s breath toward the headset’s microphone for use in deep breathing exercises.
The VR program incorporates behavioral therapy principles to cater to physiological symptoms of pain and provide relief through a skills-based treatment program. It uses various techniques, including deep relaxation, attention-shifting, interoceptive awareness, immersive enjoyment, self-compassion, healthy movement, acceptance, and visualization.
The EaseVRx is a 56 VR sessions treatment across a daily 8-week program, varying from 2 to 16 minutes.
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