Trypanophobia is basically the fear of needles and medical procedures involving injections. It is quite a common affliction, with one in every ten people suffering from some kind of needle-related anxiety disorder. Studies have shown that needle phobia leads to fewer vaccinations and blood donations among the sufferers. If you are one of them, fret no more. Scientists have developed an innovative technology that can turn those painful, and at times nightmarish, occasions of getting a shot into something a bit more pleasant.
The research, presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, states that applying pressure and vibrations right before an injection is administered lessens the pain, by fooling the nervous system. William McKay, lead author and professor of anesthesiology at Canada’s University of Saskatchewan, said:
Our early research suggests that using a device that applies pressure and vibration before the needle stick could help significantly decrease painful sensations by closing the ‘gate’ that sends pain signals to the brain.
The ‘gate’ here refers to the Gate Control Theory of pain, which says that the perception of pain requires the corresponding neurological signals to reach the brain after travelling through certain ‘nerve gates’ present along the spinal cord. This means that blocking these gates with other sensations, of vibrations and pressure, can actually fool the nervous system from recognising the pain-related stimuli.
To test the success of the technology, the researchers studied the effects that varying amounts of heat, cold, pressure and vibrations had in 21 volunteers, getting pricked in the shoulder by plastic needles. While the application of vibrations and pressure, for 20 whole seconds before using the injection, proved to be most effective in reducing the sensations of pain, the effects of temperature change on the nervous system weren’t all that significant. Further clinical trials must be conducted in children, as the perception of pain, along with the neurological process associated with it, might be different in them.
Although several varieties of vibrating needles are currently available in the market, scientists believe that including the other features, mentioned in the research, may yield better results. Such a device will therefore help alleviate pain during intravenous therapy, blood donation and vaccine administration.
Via: Popular Science