The Dr. Is In: Using virtual reality to treat patients

SAN ANTONIO – A local doctor is using virtual reality as a treatment for her patients.

“If we give attention to something else, it helps to distract us from the pain we’re feeling,” Dr. Maureen J. Simmonds said. “We’re developing some of the games that actually help us to manage pain.”

Simmonds, a professor at UT Health San Antonio, said one of her main areas of research is looking at pain, mind and movement.

“What we’re trying to do is understand pain and its impact on the whole person,” Simmonds said.

Simmonds said she knows first-hand about recovering from a traumatic injury after experiencing a horseback riding accident.

“The horse was racing along and then tripped over some wire and did a summersault. He landed on his back and in between my legs. It broke my back and pelvis," she said.

It was that injury and the following rehabilitation that led her to a career in medicine.

“It’s a privilege to be here at UT Health San Antonio," she said.

For more information on UT Health San Antonio, call (210) 450-9000 or visit

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