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Mobile Devices as Adjunctive Pain Management Tools

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Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, 1Kenneth Gao, BS,2Lingjun Kong, MS,2 and Mark D. Wiederhold, MD, PhD, FACP2


Approximately 108 million people in North America and Europe suffer from chronic pain. Virtual reality (VR) is a promising method for pain management in a clinical setting due to the distracting properties of an immersive virtual environment. In this study, we demonstrated the potential use of mobile phones as a means of delivering an easily accessible, immersive experience. Thirty-one patients tested VR pain distraction. Objective measurements of heart rate correlated to decreased anxiety, while, subjectively, patients also reported reduced levels of discomfort. The positive results of this study indicate that mobile phones can provide an immersive experience sufficient to deliver pain management distraction. Because mobile devices are widely available, the potential for developing pain management programs that are accessible has become a realistic possibility.

Resource: Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Jun 1; 17(6): 385–389.