5 Ways To Take the Sting out of Self-Injections

Don’t let pain and anxiety keep you from treating your arthritis.

Updated June 1, 2023

Although some biologic medications have been reformulated to reduce the sting of the injection, for many people the pain and anxiety associated with injections may prevent them from managing their arthritis and protecting their quality of life. These tips can help ease the pain and stress of self-injections.

Try to Relax

If you are nervous about administering your injection, your muscles will tense up and increase the pain. Try to distract yourself by talking to someone while injecting or listening to soothing music. Sitting rather than standing can also help to relax your muscles.

Numb Your Skin

Apply an ice pack to the injection site about 15 minutes before you plan to administer your medication. Numbing the skin will temporarily reduce pain and serve as another distraction. You can also ask your doctor to prescribe or recommend a numbing cream.

Take the Chill off Your Meds

Most arthritis injectables must be stored in a refrigerator. Allowing them to reach room temperature, typically about 20 to 30 minutes, before administration can reduce the sting of self-injections. Never microwave or boil your medications to heat them up.

Rotate the Injection Site

Arthritis medications can be administered in multiple places. The most common sites are the abdomen and front of the thigh. Try to switch the site regularly to prevent additional pain.

Massage Post-Injection

After the injection, rub or massage the site. A gentle massage — with cold or heat if you choose — helps to loosen muscles and disperse the medication.

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