How it works

How the Vibrata® Works

Dr. Simon Ourian developed the Vibrata® with the Gate Control Theory in mind. The theory suggests that a non-painful input effectively shuts off the ‘gates’ to the painful input. Essentially, pain can only be inhibited by stimulus that activates nonnociceptive nerves. The Vibrata® serves as a tactile stimulus that prohibits the feeling of pain during injections.

Informational videos on how to use the Vibrata® and how to keep it clean are available for viewing under the Videos tab.

Brief Guide to Gate Control Theory

When we experience pain, it normally travels through the body and eventually reaches the central nervous system. However, the gate control theory suggests that a non-painful input effectively shuts off the ‘gates’ to the painful input. When this occurs, pain can be suppressed naturally.The idea was first introduced in the mid-sixties.

Over the years, the gate control theory has gained much attention and completely revolutionized all pain research. As with many studies, there are some people who are slightly cautious with the theory due to the lack of some explanations to observations. This being said, it describes the relationship between the physical and psychological sides when experiencing pain.

The Theory - Originally, the theory was started by the idea that large diameter pain and thin pain carried information. Within the nerve fibers, the information would reach transmission cells in the dorsal horn which led to the brain as well as interneurons affecting cell activity. While the diameter fibers excite the transmission cells, the inhibitory cells are impeded by thin fiber activity. With this in mind, they saw that less pain was felt when the large fiber activity was more prominent relative to thin fiber activity. After this, the scientists could explain why we rub certain pains such as a smack.

After the initial research, a neural ‘circuit diagram’ was prepared where two paths to the brain were seen. As well as the cells leading to the spinal cord and therefore the brain, they found that the transmission and inhibitory cells were also bypassed to reach the brain. Depending on the brain’s state, the signal could be sent back down the spinal cord which decides the intensity of the pain experienced. Henceforward, the relationship between the physical and psychological effects completely changed and our understanding evolved.

Signals - Within gate control theory, we can also see the impact of ‘nonnociceptive fibers’. Essentially, these are fibers that do not transmit pain signals in themselves. However, the activation of the nerves will cause a reaction in the pain fibers and this then leads to pain.

In addition to this, there are also centers in the peripheral nervous system where the regulation of pain stimuli occurs. With ‘laminae’, this is an area in the dorsal horn which receives both Aó and C fibers as well as Aß. When the pain fibers are inhibited by the nonnociceptive fibers, the gate is closed and the transmission to their stimuli is blocked. Elsewhere in the laminae, the gate can be opened since the pain fibers inhibit the nonnociceptive fibers.

Summary - All things considered, gate control theory explains how pain can only be inhibited by stimulus that activates nonnociceptive nerves. When we naturally rub an area after experiencing pain, it lessens somewhat because these same fibers fire up the nociceptive fibers in the laminae.

At first, skepticism surrounded the theory for many years. Despite this, the premise has remained largely the same although a few adjustments have been made down the years. Nowadays, experts see the theory as oversimplified boasting many different flaws. This being said, it inspired some of the greatest experiments and research topics as well as granting us a greater understanding of how our bodies handle pain both in body and mind.