A mother holding and soothing her son who looks sad and/or sick

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September is Pain Management Awareness Month. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) established this annual campaign in 2001 to raise awareness through mass media and public forums, and by forming a coalition to increase understanding within the health care community and among families struggling with pain management. Virtual reality headsets are often used to distract and alleviate pain in youth during uncomfortable or painful procedures. Browse the Center on Media Health’s Database of Research for articles on how media can play a role in pain management, and read about selected articles below:

Virtual reality use in pain management during wound care

  • This randomized control trial studied 41 adolescents undergoing burn wound care, found that those patients in the virtual reality distraction trial group experienced less acute pain than those in the standard distraction control group.

Virtual reality intervention for pain management during IV placement

  • This pain intervention exposed 20 children to a virtual reality game simulator. Those who played with the game before treatment were less anxious during treatment and happier about their overall therapy than the children who played with the game only after treatment.

Virtual reality provides pain distraction for children

  • This empirical study explored the use of virtual reality as a cognitive distraction method. Of the 79 children tested, those who wore a virtual reality head set to watch a video game during the test were more distracted from their pain than those who simply watched a video game on a screen.

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