Using Virtual Reality, Not Opioids, to Reduce Pain (Video)

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PBS NewsHour correspondent Miles O'Brien using the 'SnowWorld' VR program to withstand pain from burning. (PBS NewsHour)

As part of its series on the opioid crisis, PBS NewsHour's Miles O'Brien earlier this month looked at cutting-edge pain treatment that allows patients to take fewer pills. These non-pharmacological approaches include hypnosis, physical therapy and even virtual reality.

The VR program is known as SnowWorld, and it's used to treat burn patients. O'Brien himself suffers from chronic pain related to a phantom limb -- he lost part of his left arm in 2014 after an accident involving TV gear. In the video below, you'll see O'Brien use SnowWorld to withstand painful heat applied to his forearm.

"Intent on hurling snowballs at penguins. I didn't feel heat at all," O'Brien says.

And he didn't feel the phantom pain from his missing limb, either.