Needle, a word that makes the majority of people cringe or even cry while waiting in line for one. As many as 1 in 10 people experience needle phobia that can often make them skip appointments with their doctor, as well as cancelling routine blood tests, vaccinations, or prescribed treatments.

The fear of needles is both a learned and an inherited condition. A fairly small number inherit a fear of needles, but most people acquire needle phobia around the age of four to six.

Imagine if there could be a way to succumb that fear. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be great if there were no tears during infant vaccines? According to a new study painless injections could be possible with a device that applies pressure and vibration while the needle is inserted in the skin.

Needle phobia “may have negative consequences, such as decreasing the rate of vaccinations and blood donation,” said William McKay, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor of anesthesiology in perioperative medicine and pain management at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. “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.

Researchers studied the use of pressure, vibration, and cooling or warming in 21 adults poked in the shoulder by a plastic needle that doesn’t break the skin but produces needle-like pain. The perception of pain was significantly decreased when a specific amount of pressure and vibration was applied to the site for 20 seconds prior to using the plastic needle. Of course, “the study should be repeated in children, who may experience pain differently”, said Dr. McKay.

Still, until such a device is available, if you or someone in your family suffer from a fear of needles, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can suggest therapy options, modify treatments or even offer some pain-free alternatives to injections.

Source: Science Daily

Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.

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