Community Ideas: Needle Fatigue

Since injections may be part of many of our community members' RA treatment plans, we asked our Facebook community: "Do you have tips for battling 'needle fatigue'? If you self-inject, how do you mentally prepare or make it easier on yourself?" The answers were thoughtful and specific. Read on to hear what over 100 people had to say.

I use particular strategies:

  • I count to ten to let all the Humira go in and try to concentrate on the counting instead of the burning. Because it's not really the needle that hurts, it's the medicine. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
  • I sit it on the counter for 10 to 15 min (Enbrel) it doesn't sting nearly as bad if its not so cold.
  • I try to focus on something else. I make the preparation quick so I don't think too much about it. And I count to 15 while I'm doing the injection since that's how long it takes for me.
  • I hold my breath, point the injector, and close my eyes repeating to myself, "if not for these few second of burn, I would be in a wheelchair by now."
  • I inject while taking a hot shower. There I don't notice the pain as much.
  • Chant..." It's worth it" over and over till you're finished.
  • I have to ice the spot, put my headphones on with a song with lots of bass to drown out the sound of the click or I will pull it out. Sometimes it's easy and I can do it with a few minutes and there are times it taken 40mins to take the shot.
  • After 4 years of giving myself the shots what works best for me is to be relaxed as possible. The more that I am relaxed almost no pain. Some days it works and others not so good.
  • I lie down in bed, head propped up, let the pen warm up a bit, pinch some belly fat and click.
  • Don't use the pens, they hurt more. I've used pens for my headaches. They hurt!!! I inject myself. Just make sure when you wipe the area before it's dry or it will sting.
  • Warm/room temps and (unapproved) wine helps.
  • The whole time medicine was injecting, I was labor breathing. LOL
  • 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3....
  • Humira stings as it goes in, so I concentrate on having control over how long it takes me to inject the whole shot.
  • I count seconds as the shot is injecting to keep my mind off the takes 16 seconds I think.
  • Get the sure click pen it helps.
  • The needle doesnt hurt me but the medicine burns. Just breathe through it. Its only 10 seconds of pain and you should hopefully feel 100x better afterwards.
  • I take mine out of the fridge 1/2 hour before injection so it's not so cold (per MD recommendation), sit in front of a favorite TV show and inject very slowly while pinching thigh tightly and really focusing on my show -- sounds simple but helps!
  • ICE before injecting. Makes a huge difference if injection site is numb
  • I count to 10 while I'm injecting because that's how long it takes from pressing the red button to seeing the yellow in the tube. So in preparation I think it's only 10 seconds. Also, I cuss a lot while I'm injecting.
  • I get the site ready and then look away. Don't know if that will work for you, but give it a try.
  • I place under arm for about 20 min to warm it up. I shoot in the stomach while laying down. It helps to pull the skin tight.
  • I make sure the Enbrel is room temperature and the alcohol has completely dried on my skin. I pinch up the skin and hold the needle at a 45° angle. I also inject very slowly sometimes pausing for a second or two after half the dose and that makes it hurt a lot less. I set something in front of me that I enjoyed looking at whether it's a picture or a flower or something interesting on my computer screen to distract me a little bit from the fact that I am sticking myself!

I think of it this way:

  • I actually look forward to mine, as it's the first med that's really helped (Enbrel)
  • I tell myself it only takes 15 seconds. It puts it in perspective a bit for me.
  • Usually, by the time my next injection is due, I'm totally ready for it. I'm usually hurting so bad, I'm glad to do it.
  • Don't mind it. As long as I get a good spot in my belly, it doesn't cause much pain.
  • Point and shoot...pain is so minimal compared to the pain of RA
  • I am always ready for it. Means there is medicine on the way and I am in pain so bring it on.
  • I use a regular needle but so use to it. Been a long time.
  • It gets old but it's like a job. You do it cause you have to and the alternative sucks.
  • I keep telling myself that this shot will be the one that will push my RA into remission.
  • I just do it and don't think about it. I have a friend who over sterilizes, and I don't even use alcohol. She gets bruises and infections....I get the occasional bruise...but no infections.
  • I do not let myself think about it too much -- I just do it without thinking much about it cause that causes me to get icky about it. But just get over it and do it and its over -- for now. Do it like the many things we all do to live with this disease, with as few distractions in our lives as possible.
  • I always psych myself out and then I can't do it for like 30 min. I finally started telling myself "You've been doing this for years. Buck up and get it over with." The quicker i do it the better.
  • I think of it as Nectar of the Gods
  • Before I inject, I affirm to myself the good it does me.
  • After being off of my Enbrel for so long, the 20 minutes pain from the needle is so worth the constant 24-hour pain of my RA
  • I just remember it only takes a minute and get so much relief that it doesn't brother me I get use to it, like brushing my teeth.

I treat myself!

  • I get a treat for myself on "Shot Day." A big Starbucks drink, cookies, something I don't usually get. Lol! I bribe my inner child I guess.
  • I bribe myself with cookies. I used to look forward to my shots but now I dread them. I tried to get my partner to force me to take them but then I'd talk my way out of it somehow. So cookies. Double stuft oreos.

I enlist help from others:

  • I found it easier if someone else gave me the shots.
  • My husband gives my shots.

The pre-filled injection pens help me:

  • Now I have the pens which I find much easier as I have really shakey hands
  • Using the prefilled injection pen helps me. The needle is hidden.

How about you? Do you have any particular strategies or thought processes you use for battling needle fatigue? Please share in the comments! 

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