What is one of the first things you do after you bump your head or pinch a finger by accident?
You probably rub it and it feels better, right?
Could this be explained by The Gate Control Theory?
Devised by Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack in the 60’s, the Gate Control Theory of Chronic Pain is a famous theory about how pain works.
The theory asserts that non-painful input closes the “gates” to painful input, which prevents pain sensations from traveling to the brain. Therefore, stimulation by non-harmful input is able to suppress pain.
Rubbing your bumped head or pinched finger would activate touch signals carried into the spinal cord by large nerve fibers.
Scientific Explanation: According to the theory, the activity in the large nerve fibers would activate the inhibitory interneuron that would then block the projection neuron and therefore block the pain!
In the gate control theory, pain messages encounter “nerve gates” in the spinal cord that open or close depending upon a number of factors.
When the gates are open, pain messages “get through” easily and can be penetrating & intense.
When the gates are closed, pain messages are prevented from reaching the brain and may not even be experienced.