Pain Gate Theory

Pain Gate Theory

I often tend to apply this theory into my treatment to some of my clients.

Why should I apply?

The reason is the intensity of my massage treatment is usually moderate to high and not many people get used to it.

When should I apply?

Well, I will only apply to clients who I feel and think that they need it so they can get more benefits from my treatments.

How do I know they need it?

When clients making efforts to receive more intense pressure and clients who understand the purpose of me altering the sensation.

Below here is to explain more details about how this theory works and explain why thoughts and emotions influence pain perception, Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall proposed that a gating mechanism exists within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Small nerve fibers (pain receptors) and large nerve fibers (“normal” receptors) synapse on projection cells (P), which go up the spinothalamic tract to the brain, and inhibitory interneurons (I) within the dorsal horn.

The interplay among these connections determines when painful stimuli go to the brain:

1. When no input comes in, the inhibitory neuron prevents the projection neuron from sending signals to the brain (gate is closed).

2. Normal somatosensory input happens when there is more large-fiber stimulation (or only large-fiber stimulation). Both the inhibitory neuron and the projection neuron are stimulated, but the inhibitory neuron prevents the projection neuron from sending signals to the brain (gate is closed).

3. Nociception (pain reception) happens when there is more small-fiber stimulation or only small-fiber stimulation. This inactivates the inhibitory neuron, and the projection neuron sends signals to the brain informing it of pain (gate is open).

Descending pathways from the brain close the gate by inhibiting the projector neurons and diminishing pain perception.

This theory doesn’t tell us everything about pain perception, but it does explain some things. If you rub or shake your hand after you bang your finger, you stimulate normal somatosensory input to the projector neurons. This closes the gate and reduces the perception of pain.

Here is the link of the site which I got the information from. It includes some diagrams which may help you to have better understanding of it.

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