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  • Kristin Eapen

Hair comb to manage labour pain



The brain is a fascinating organ, especially as you begin to understand the perception of pain and theories such as the gate control theory to pain.

The gate control describes how Pain signals run along nerve endings in the spine to the brain. There are smaller nerve fibres along the spine that sense pain, and large nerve fibres that sense touch (heat, cold, pressure, etc)

The brain can only focus on a select number of sensations, and guess what takes precedent over pain? TOUCH, yes, touch sensations have priority over pain signals. When this happens, the brain pays attention to the touch before the pain. Using touch sensation enough, can distract you from perceiving the pain.

Think about when you've stubbed your toe or bumped your 'funny bone' and you rub it vigorously...this is touch sensation. Mysteriously you start to feel better as you vigorously rub the sensitive area….this is gate theory.

Combs are an excellent tool to inhibit pain signals reaching the brain. The teeth of the comb act as a type of ‘acupressure’ to points on the hand which create a great distraction from the pain. The comb also plays an integral role incorporating the gate theory, as the nerve endings in your hand send messages to the brain, causing distraction from the sensations of contractions.

Knowing this, would you add a comb to your ‘tool bag’ for birth pain management techniques?


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