The following is a summary of “A Systematic Review of Virtual Reality Therapeutics for Acute Pain Management” published in the October 2022 issue of Pain Management Nursing by Dreesmann et al.

The goal of this review is to assess the present state of the literature on the use of virtual reality (VR) treatments for the treatment of acute pain in adults, including its implementation, clinical efficacy, and any relevant practical concerns. Examining the literature systematically. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and keyword search phrases relating to acute pain and VR were used to search PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Embase, Compendex, and Inspec.

In accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) criteria, a comprehensive literature search was performed to identify all relevant publications published between January 1, 2000, and August 1, 2020. About 23  articles were included because they met the review’s strict standards. Virtual reality (VR) has been used in a number of research settings, including for wound care, procedure-induced pain, physical or occupational therapy, dental treatment, and acute pain in general. These investigations suggest that distraction is the mechanism via which virtual reality facilitates analgesia. 

About 19 out of 21 studies (83%) found that utilizing VR reduced pain compared to either no VR use or a non-VR group. According to the results of this meta-analysis, virtual reality can help people cope with severe pain. This review’s findings also highlight the significance of taking into account the patient’s perception of presence as well as their degree of immersion, interactivity, and interest in the VR experience. There should be more than just acute pain metrics included in future VR studies; measures of anxiety, presence, and VR side effects should be considered as well.