Effect of Virtual Reality Hypnosis on Pain Threshold and Neurophysiological and Autonomic Biomarkers in Healthy Volunteers: Prospective Randomized Crossover Study - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Medical Internet Research Year : 2022

Effect of Virtual Reality Hypnosis on Pain Threshold and Neurophysiological and Autonomic Biomarkers in Healthy Volunteers: Prospective Randomized Crossover Study

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Abstract

Background: Virtual reality hypnosis (VRH) is a promising tool to reduce pain. However, the benefits of VRH on pain perception and on the physiological expression of pain require further investigation. Objective: In this study, we characterized the effects of VRH on the heat pain threshold among adult healthy volunteers while monitoring several physiological and autonomic functions. Methods: Sixty healthy volunteers were prospectively included to receive nociceptive stimulations. The first set of thermal stimuli consisted of 20 stimulations at 60°C (duration 500 milliseconds) to trigger contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs). The second set of thermal stimuli consisted of ramps (1°C/second) to determine the heat pain threshold of the participants. Electrocardiogram, skin conductance responses, respiration rate, as well as the analgesia nociception index were also recorded throughout the experiment. Results: Data from 58 participants were analyzed. There was a small but significant increase in pain threshold in VRH (50.19°C, SD 1.98°C) compared to that in the control condition (mean 49.45°C, SD 1.87; P<.001, Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test; Cohen d=0.38). No significant effect of VRH on CHEPs and heart rate variability parameters was observed (all P>0.5; n=22 and n=52, respectively). During VRH, participants exhibited a clear reduction in their autonomic sympathetic tone, as shown by the lower number of nonspecific skin conductance peak responses (P<.001, two-way analysis of variance; n=39) and by an increase in the analgesia nociception index (P<.001, paired t-test; n=40). Conclusions: The results obtained in this study support the idea that VRH administration is effective at increasing heat pain thresholds and impacts autonomic functions among healthy volunteers. As a nonpharmacological intervention, VRH has beneficial action on acute experimental heat pain. This beneficial action will need to be evaluated for the treatment of other types of pain, including chronic pain.
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hal-03753878 , version 1 (18-08-2022)

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Claire Terzulli, Meggane Melchior, Laurent Goffin, Sylvain Faisan, Coralie Gianesini, et al.. Effect of Virtual Reality Hypnosis on Pain Threshold and Neurophysiological and Autonomic Biomarkers in Healthy Volunteers: Prospective Randomized Crossover Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2022, 24 (7), ⟨10.2196/33255⟩. ⟨hal-03753878⟩
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