For People with Chronic Pain

Are you looking for non-pharmacological methods to help deal with chronic pain? Are you ready for healthy immersive engagement with fun distractions like shopping, dancing, or listening to live music? Please consider joining us in the virtual world of Second Life®. Our Virtual Ability® cross-disability peer support community hosts educational and entertainment events daily, and there are thousands of other enjoyable activities throughout the virtual world.


Many people with chronic pain have found that distraction is an effective management technique.  Distraction can be achieved by listening to music, watching television, or interactions such as playing video games. Distraction may help relieve pain by changing your focus from the pain to something else.

When you log in to a virtual world from your home computer, most people feel a sense of immersion.  It’s very much like how watching a movie in the theater gives you a much deeper sense of “being there” than reading a book.  For some people with chronic pain (and other disruptive conditions) this distraction can provide real relief.  It’s also just plain fun!

Sign up for Second Life right here. Just a few clicks, enter an email address, select a name for your avatar, and you will be all set to enter the exciting new world of Second Life.  It’s free, though you must be 16 or older to sign up.

Social and Peer Support

But a virtual world is much more than the distraction of “a computer game”.  It is an immersive social experience.  The avatars you interact with are other real people from around the world, not computer-generated bots or characters.  Virtual Ability hosts and facilitates real communities of real people in this virtual world setting.  We laugh, explore, make friends, learn from, and support each other.

For Chronic Pain Researchers

Virtual Ability has extensive experience working with research projects in virtual worlds that address topics related to disability. We have engaged in the design, conduct, data collection and interpretation, and reporting of both qualitative and quantitative research projects.

We are an award-winning virtual world environment designer and builder, who can help you realize your vision for your own virtual world space, customized to meet your specific needs, in Second Life or Open Sim.

Once your virtual world environment is created, we can provide Community Management services to run, or help you run, your project. This includes facilitation of group meetings, effectively arranging in-world communications and security, training your participants, trainers or project team, and providing practical advice based on our years of experience in growing and nurturing virtual communities.

We have trained and employed persons with disabilities as proposal writers, project managers, materials and environmental accessibility evaluators, virtual environment developers, community managers, transcribers, data de-identifiers for HIPAA compliance, secure data collection and transmission, and focus group facilitators in support of the research work we have participated in. We are committed to including persons with disabilities as project collaborators, not just as research subjects.

Please contact us if you have a research concept you would like to explore with Virtual Ability. We will be more than happy to help you estimate the costs and effort required to set up your virtual world project, and then would love the opportunity to partner with you to make it happen.

Please see a summary of relevant published academic research here.

Who We Are

Virtual Ability, Inc.® is the leading provider of services and information for people with disabilities in online virtual worlds.  We are a non-profit corporation based in Colorado, USA.  Our mission is to enable people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in online virtual worlds like Second Life®.

Please read more about us here.

Please consider making a donation to support our work.  Virtual Ability, Inc. is a Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt Organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Your donation is deductible as a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes in the United States.  100% of funds raised go toward the cost of operating and providing the services of Virtual Ability, Inc.

Please contact us if you have questions, know of a way we can help, or are interested in working with us!

Note:  Virtual Ability, Inc. is not affiliated in any way with Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life.

What is a Virtual World?

A virtual world is a simulated 3-dimensional environment created within a computer and accessed via the internet. In a virtual world, you are represented by an avatar through which you can interact with other avatars (representing other people) or objects in the environment. Users of virtual worlds feel a sense of presence when their avatar interacts with others. This is often termed a sense of immersion, of “being inside” the virtual world.

According to its creator, Linden Lab, Second Life is the leading 3D virtual world. It’s a space where you can be whoever you’d like, build and sell whatever you can imagine, and have fun with others from all over the globe while you explore unique virtual environments, listen to live music performances, play games, shop in the world’s largest user-generated virtual goods economy, and much more.