Pain in the backside

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

Having recently had the mis-fortune to undergo a course of steroid injections I was intrigued by my physiological response…

I had been warned by a number of friends how painful this type of injection can be, so I was naturally apprehensive. As I lay waiting for the inevitable, thinking about anything that might help to take my mind off the imminent pain, I was pleasantly surprised that after a slight stinging sensation I was told it was all done!

It was the second dose a couple of weeks later that proved more interesting. I knew now that it didn’t really hurt. But on my way in I spotted the syringe, complete with needle, on the side WAITING for me. The needle was about twice as long and three times as wide as I had previously imagined. Putting that to the back of my mind I duly prepared myself for the procedure….. blimey did that injection hurt!
So why is this?

Does needle gauge, dosing size and drug viscosity effect the injection experience? Almost certainly, but this doesn’t explain why two identical injections felt so different.

Many studies have been conducted into the management of pain during injection, especially in relation to the immunisation of young children. Trials of psychological strategies to distract the child with sweets, discussion about unrelated topics or even breast feeding have shown some levels of success.
So what is the answer?

One approach documented on WikiHow did catch my eye.

Simple strategies all basically aimed at encouraging the patient to mentally remove themselves from the injection setting, simple relaxation techniques and the power of distraction.

This experience has certainly made me think about the power of the mind and how this is very much underutilised as a tool within general medical practise, but also how powerful it could be within the recovery and healing process.

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