By Ed Coghlan.
I received an email from Valerie Biscardi earlier this fall. I know Valerie a little bit—and know her to be a serious person who has suffered from migraines and trigeminal neuralgia since she was a youngster and ten years ago was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
She wanted to talk with about using virtual reality to address her chronic pain.
Biscardi’s health issues forced to retire from her government job prematurely. She spends a lot of time painting—and it won’t surprise you that her painting often tries to describe her chronic pain.
Like all chronic pain patients can attest, it’s a daily battle for Valerie.
“As a long-time chronic pain sufferer I’ve tried a lot of things,” she said. “I’m always willing to try something because if anything can help, even for a short time, it makes my day better.”
So she tried a device made by a small company called AppliedVR which creates a visual experience for chronic pain patients that teach what the company called “essential skills and education for learning to live with chronic pain. Each module covers a different topic such as breathing techniques, mindfulness, psychoeducation, and positive thinking.”
“You have to breathe right, which took me a while to figure out. The whole process literally takes your mind off your pain and onto the visual images,” she said. “Often I would experience a reduction in my pain for a while.”
“The device would coach me to slow my breathing. And when I did the trees would move with my breathing, the better you do it the more beautiful and larger the images become. It has taken me a while to do it correctly, but I look forward to it. I want to emphasize it doesn’t eliminate my pain, but it does reduce it.”
When you wake up in pain every day, you manage your life differently. You asked your loved ones to change their lives, too. The device made me hopeful that for some time I can reduce my pain, which makes my day better and better days is what every chronic pain patient wants.”
To see her experience described in the company video, click here.
If you have some experiences that have helped you and might help others, let us know.