Virtual reality helping people escape pain

SEATTLE (WIVB) — Virtual reality isn’t just a way to escape the outside world. Now, researchers are using it to help people escape from pain.

A hospital in Seattle is using virtual reality to help manage pain.

Games like “Snow World” let people take their mind off what’s hurting.

Doctors say a distracted brain leads to less focus on pain.

“The areas of the brain that light up with pain light up less and they’re just not processing as much!” Dr. David Patterson, who is with the University of Washington School of Medicine, said.

A burn victim named Kevin Walsh said “There is one time when I did it doing wound care. They have to peel off my bandages while I’m there, and they peeled off a couple bandages and I didn’t even really notice.”

Researchers say they’re seeing a 35 percent reduction in pain — enough to lower it from severe to moderate. They say this could even help pregnant women during childbirth. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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