Virtual and augmented reality reduces phantom pain suffered by patients with amputated or paraplegic limbs. In this sense numerous studies and investigations are being carried out.
According to different studies, the extended realities (VR, AR and MR) will increase their presence in the field of medicine. In this sense we find reports such as that of the Industry ARC consultancy, where it estimates the RV and AR market in medicine at 2.54 million dollars.
The Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EDFL) in Switzerland (article), has verified the reduction of phantom pain in paraplegic people. Through a virtual reality device, the illusion is created that patients can feel their limbs paralyzed.
The results of these investigations are published in the journal Neurology, and foresee that new therapies will be made for chronic pain in this type of patients.
Virtual reality technology also helps to familiarize amputees with their prostheses. Through neuronal stimulation techniques and virtual prosthetics, the sensation of phantom limb suffered by many patients is reduced.
Studies like that of Dr. Craig Murray (article) affirm that the majority of people who have undergone this type of treatment have managed to considerably relieve pain.
Some clinics, such as the Mayo Clinic in the US, already incorporates virtual reality technology for the treatment of patients with phantom pains.
Other research focuses on the use of augmented reality, such as that carried out by the University’s neurorehabilitation laboratory. Technological Chalmers (Gothenburg, Sweden).
The results of research on real patients, published in The Lancet, were very promising and positive, but they should always be taken prudently.