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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Mar 2022 - 25 Mar 2022


Animal Studies

2022 Mar 24


A prospective, double-blind, pilot randomized controlled trial of an ’embodied’ virtual reality intervention for chronic low back pain in adults.


Eccleston C, Fisher E, Liikkanen S, Sarapohja T, Stenfors C, Jääskeläinen SK, Rice ASC, Mattila L, Blom T, Bratty RJ
Pain. 2022 Mar 24.
PMID: 35324507.


Adults with chronic low back pain, disability, moderate to severe pain, and high fear of movement and re-injury were recruited into a trial of a novel, automated, digital therapeutics, virtual reality, psychological intervention for pain (DTxP). We conducted a three-arm, prospective, double-blind, pilot, randomized controlled trial comparing DTxP with a sham placebo comparator, and an open label standard care. Participants were enrolled for 6-8 weeks, after which, the standard care control arm were re-randomized to receive either the DTxP or sham placebo. Forty-two participants completed assessments at baseline, immediately post-treatment (6-8 weeks), 9-week, and 5-month follow-up. We found participants in the DTxP group reported greater reductions in fear of movement and better global impression of change when compared with sham placebo and standard care post-treatment. No other group differences were noted at post-treatment or follow-up. When compared to baseline, participants in the DTxP group reported lower disability at 5-month follow-up, lower pain interference and fear of movement post-treatment and follow-up, and lower pain intensity at post-treatment. The sham placebo group also reported lower disability and fear of movement at 5-month follow-up compared to baseline. Standard care did not report any significant changes. There were a number of adverse events, with one participant reporting a serious adverse event in the sham placebo which was not related to treatment. No substantial changes in medications were noted, and participants in the DTxP group reported positive gaming experiences.