Sterile water injections
SWIs are a method, applied as early as at the turn of the century, to relieve pain in connection with minor surgery and acute lumbago [back pain]. The technique is simple; small amounts of sterile water are injected at the site in which the pain is experienced. Pain relief most often occurs within minutes and the treatment can be repeated as needed. In more recent years, SWIs have primarily been used to relieve back pain during childbirth.
Mechanisms of action
Sterile water is salt-free and causes osmotic irritation as well as mechanical stimulation when it is injected under the skin. The anti-nociceptive [pain relieving] mechanisms underlying SWIs are not fully understood but they most likely stimulate the bodies own pain relieving systems. These include the gate control theory, where the stimulus from the SWIs redirects the brains attention away from the original pain. Another theory is that SWIs stimulate the release of endorphins, which are a part of the diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) system.
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