Gate Control Theory

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Gate Control Theory|
Date of last revision July 26, 2011|
* Gate control theory was described by Melzack and Wall in 1965. * This theory explains about a pain-modulating system in which a neural gate present in the spinal cord can open and close thereby modulating the perception of pain. * The gate control theory suggested that psychological factors play a role in the perception of pain. Terms

* Pain - an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. * Analgesia - the selective suppression of pain without effects on consciousness or other sensations. * Nociceptors - sensory receptor whose stimulation causes pain * Pain threshold: the point at which a stimulus is perceived as painful. * Phantom limb pain – feelings of pain in a limb that is no longer there and has no functioning nerves. * Sensation – the process of receiving, converting, and transmitting information from the external and internal world to the brain. Major Concepts

* The three systems located in the spinal cord act to influence perception of pain, viz; * the substantia gelatinosa in the dorsal horn,
* the dorsal column fibers, and
* the central transmission cells.
* The noxious impulses are influenced by a “gating mechanism.” * Stimulation of the large-diameter fibers inhibits the transmission of pain, thus “closing the gate.” Whereas, when smaller fibers are stimulated, the gate is opened. * When the gate is closed signals from small diameter pain fibres do not excite the dorsal horn transmission neurons. * When the gate is open pain signals excite dorsal horn transmission cells. * The gating mechanism is influenced by nerve impulses that descend from the brain. * Factors which influence opening and closing the gate are: * The amount of activity in the pain fibers.

* The amount of activity in other...
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