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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Mar 2023 - 17 Mar 2023


Medical Devices


Front Pain Res (Lausanne)



The role of virtual reality as adjunctive therapy to spinal cord stimulation in chronic pain: A feasible concept?


Noble T, Boone L, El Helou A


Spinal cord stimulation and virtual reality therapy are established and promising techniques, respectively, for managing chronic pain, each with its unique advantages and challenges. While each therapy has been the subject of significant research interest, the prospect of combining the two modalities to offer a synergistic effect in chronic pain therapy is still in its infancy. In this narrative review, we assess the state of the field combining virtual reality as an adjunctive therapy to spinal cord stimulation in chronic pain. We also review the broader field of virtual reality therapy for acute and chronic pain, considering evidence related to feasibility in the Canadian healthcare system from cost and patient satisfaction perspectives. While early results show promise, there are unexplored aspects of spinal cord stimulation combined with virtual reality therapy, particularly long-term effects on analgesia, anxiolysis, and implications on the effectiveness and longevity of spinal cord stimulation. The infrastructure for billing virtual reality as a consult service or therapy must also catch up if it is eventually used to supplement spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain.