Distraction with Virtual Reality (VR) for Anxiety During Pain Procedures in the Interventional Pain Clinic

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"Volunteer for research at UC Davis and contribute to discoveries that may improve health care for you, your family, and your community!"
Age: 18 years or older
Healthy Volunteers: No
Keywords: virtual reality, Pain Procedures, anxiety
Type: Device study
100 Participants
Virtual Reality (VR) is an emerging technology. It has been used to ease pain and anxiety during painful procedures. This includes burn injury wound care, physical therapy, and pediatric dental procedures.

A prior study looked at the use of VR during trigger point injections in the Pain Clinic showing favorable results.

Our research would expand the use of VR to interventional pain procedures. It will be used as a distraction tool to help with patient’s anxiety, pain, and improve patient satisfaction.
This study requires

Before your pain procedure:

You will fill out a survey collecting basic information such as: age, gender, duration of pain, anxiety level, and pain level prior to procedure.

You will then be randomly allocated to either a VR group (wearing a VR headset) or a control group (routine procedure without a VR headset). The randomization will be done with a computer program.

During your procedure:

The VR group will be wearing a VR headset during the procedure. The VR headset will be playing a pre-selected simple relaxation experience.

The control group will not be wearing a VR headset, and will proceed with the procedure as usual.

You will not be able to choose which study group you are in, control vs. virtual reality. See below.

After the procedure:

You will fill out a basic survey to rate your anxiety level, satisfaction with your treatment, pain score post procedure, and global impression of change.

Your interventional pain procedure will be carried out in the usual manner and with the appropriate procedural consent from, with or without the VR headset.

The treatment you get will be chosen by chance, like flipping a coin. Neither you nor the study doctor will choose what treatment you get. You will have an equal chance of being given each treatment. You will not be told which treatment you are getting, however your study doctor will know.

Who can participate

Inclusion criteria:

  • Patients aged over 18 years old, who are referred to University of California Davis Pain Medicine Clinic and require an interventional pain procedure
  • English speaking
  • Having the ability to understand oral and written instructions
  • Willing to fill out psychometric surveys.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Pregnant women
  • Prisoners
  • Patients who have high risk of motion sickness, seizure disorder, or visual/hearing impairment
Benefits and risks of participating

We cannot promise any benefits to you as a result of taking part in this research study.


The study team will discuss the risks associated with taking part in this research study.
You will not be paid to take part in this research study.
Study duration and period
We expect that you will be in this research study for about 60 minutes. This consists of taking surveys and undergoing your interventional pain procedures. The study is planned to take 2 years, which is how long the study results will be kept for analysis.
Recruitment period
From May 21, 2020
UC Davis Medical Center
2315 Stockton Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95817
Clinical Trials Office
Research Topic
  • Virtual Reality
  • Anxiety
  • Pain

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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