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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Jun 2022 - 1 Jul 2022


Human Studies

2022 Jun 24

Pain Pract

The Feasibility and Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Meditation on Reducing Chronic Pain for Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis.


There is an urgent need for safe and effective non-pharmacologic approaches to treat chronic knee pain in older adults. Although virtual reality (VR) has shown some effectiveness for acute pain, there is limited evidence on the effects of VR on chronic pain particularly with older adult populations. This single application, within-subject pilot study evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of VR as a clinical treatment for older adults with chronic osteoarthritis knee pain. Nineteen participants aged 60+ years old participated in a 10-minute VR meditation program. Data on pain and affect were collected immediately prior to, post, and 24-48 hours after the VR. Results suggest that VR meditation had significant moderate-large analgesic effects on knee pain intensity, primarily during VR (d = 1.10) and post VR (d = .99), with some lasting effects into next day (d = .58). The findings also suggest VR meditation intervention had a positive effect on affect, with a significant large decrease in negative affect scores pre to post VR (d = 1.14). The significant moderate to large decreases in pain interference for normal work (d = .71), mood (d = .53), sleep (d = .67), and enjoyment of life (d = .72) suggest that older adults may have a higher ability to participate in meaningful daily activities up to 24-48 hours after VR meditation. VR appears to be a feasible and effective nonpharmacological tool for older adults to treat chronic overall & knee-specific pain.