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Gate control theory

The Gate Control Theory acknowledges that some nerves exclusively transmit pain signals and that pain is partially determined sometimes by the pattern and sum of signals sent by these fibers and permits the role of psychological processes in pain perception.Pain impulses do not go directly from nerve endings to the brain but flow from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system.(example)There is a imaginary neural "gate" in the central nervous system that alters the pain signals.Certain things open the gate; certain things keep it closed.When the gate is open, messages are sent to the brain that are perceived as pain.If the higher centers of the brain interpret an event as painful, the gating mechanism will open, and the sensations of pain will be transmitted to the brain.Some things that open the gate may be: the ratio of pain-fiber activity (high A-delta and C-fiber activity, low A-beta fiber activity), stress, anxiety, depression and attention to pain.Some things that may close the gate: higher A-beta activity from acupuncture, massages and medicine, relaxation, increasing and sustaining positive emotions.
In a recent review women are found to have slightly lower pain thresholds, lower pain tolerance, and greater ability to make fine discriminations among painful stimuli (more aware of the pain). In general, women report more pain than men, different manners in coping with the pain and different responses to treatment. In fact, in a 1998 study, they found that ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory drug) did not reduce the pain for women, although it did for men.In turn, many painful diseases for which ibuprofen are typically prescribed are more common in women.Men and women have estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, the levels of each hormone differ between them, and while they tend to remain somewhat steady for men, they vary monthly for women.Also, the brains of males and females …

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