Steroidal injection! I'm terrified!

I don't consider myself that much of a softie, as I do my enbrel every week & have my bloods every month. However, my consultant said that he was concerned about my right hand and suggested the injection: I muttered something about managing ok with it and, "if it's not broken, don't fix it". The time has come: saw my GP yesterday and it looked like an alien was trying to burst out of my hand, nerves dragging down like carpal tunnel & lumpy wrist. Couldn't wipe my bum properly again (I last experienced this 2 years ago!). The time has come for the injection! I've never had one, and I'm worried. I keep telling myself it's nothing compared with the pain of RA, but no one likes pain perpetrated on them just for the thrill of it, not even us. Can I ask for a local, or am I just expected to take it?

14 Replies

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  • Hi Andrea, in order to get yourself through the injection just think of the benefits you may get by having the injection, that's what I've always done and I've had quite a few over the years. The swelling going down the pain relief etc, everyone is different though I might add, so the benefits you get may slightly differ to others. But in my opinion you have nothing to lose by giving it a go, I don't watch I just take myself off somewhere for a minute.

    Very often they will give a local anyway, I think if its done at the hospital its part of the procedure but the GP may not give a local.

    You will be fine I'm sure you will need to rest the joint for about 48hrs after in order for it to have the full effect.

    Best of luck

    mand xx

  • Agree…get your Rheumy to do it, they are The Specialist.

    Had many in my knees…not too painful & totally worth it. I had one in my wrist once, smaller joint & more nerves, not to bad having it, but was really painful for 24 hrs, then bliss…Good Luck x

  • Hi, I've had steroids injected into my knees and it was fine. Doc gave a quick spray with a thing that made area cold and a bit numb, and then did injection - no local injection but didn't need it. It took about 15 seconds and by the time my nerve endings had worked out that there was a needle near them it was all over. Each of us is different of course, but I'm as much as a wuss as anyone else when it comes to injections and I found it was bearable. I concentrated on the benefits of after effects and thought about what I'd be able to do with bendy knees. Personally if there was a choice between injection from Doc or Nurse I'd probably take the nurse as they do it more often.

  • i was wondering how you got on with injecting your self with the enbrel?!!,do you manage this ok?.. im not brill with needles. re steroid injection. or any other needle I have to look away.. some people have this theory that if you watch its less painful??.. bumken I SAY X

  • Hi Alison, after the first one it gets better, best to give a quick sharp jab then its not so painful. When your doing you own injection not really advisable to look away!! I hated needles at on time but after 60+ joint injections,enbrel, humira,MTX injections and of course the endless blood tests you kind of get used to them.

  • I've never had any problem with the enbrel, but must confess that I don't look forward to it because it doesn't tickle! I think I feel worse about it since my inspired moment when I thought, "before I put this in my sharps box, I think I'll have a little look down the shaft to see how long the needle is!". I find that if I feel distracted by news etc, I hardly notice me doing it. I don't mind it at all, if I'm honest, it's a necessary evil and the more relaxed I am, the less I notice it.

  • Hi Andrea, further to my reply above and since reading other replies I would like to add that some GP's are qualified to do joint injections, or they sometimes have a nurse at the clinic who can give certain joint injections.

    Generally though for patients with RA they are referred to their own joint injection clinic at the hospital run by an RA team of consultants and nurses.All my injections have only ever been done at the hospital.

    However both my husband and my mother in law have both had injections done at their GP surgery, no local given though I may add.

    mand xx

  • I dont think we should be undermining your confidence in the GP with this steroid injection. Different doctors are differently abled arent they. I've had steroid injections - in knee mainly. I didnt think it was unbearable, but I did know it would stop the pain - and hopefully the inflammation that leads to joint erosion.

    My tip on injections is a yoga based one my tutor who was doing yoga for childbirth suggested. Big breath in and then as the needle goes in you breathe steadily out. It helps you relax and go with the pain rather than resist it.

    I really hope things improve for you.

  • Just another thought about your work issue. You may not want this, but could you swing some benefits for yourself out of this unacceptable situation? Like some days working from home? I managed to organise my work like that, but of course you do miss the pleasure of working in a group. They dont sound very compassionate/empathetic though do they.

    And, do you ever see clients in your work? Because I found that if it was a matter of student access the administration jumped. Not enough in some cases, but some.

  • I have had a good few steroid injections in wrist and hands. ALWAYS in a theatre under camera, that is so they can watch exactly where they are putting it. They do warn you it can be painful, because of all the small bones in your hand/ wrist. It is only momentary pain, like a slight tightening not pain really. Mine were always of great value my hands are my job ie keyboard! both my wrist bones are perfect now. My knuckles are fine and my hands have no visable damage, due to the diligence of my consultant! I think where you have inflammation there is damage being done, why would you not get rid of it by having injection?. I must add I would never NEVER allow any joint injection (Rheumatologist has done my knee a couple of times) outside of under camera, and you can watch your skeleton hand having injection put in. My GP would'nt give me a joint injection anyway.

  • i was diagnosed in April and because wrists were so painful and swollen I had steriod injection. I wasnt expecting it at all so didnt have time to worry about it, which is a good thing! It was uncomfortable, but not agonising, and the relief after the initial 24 hours was unbelievable. I had NO pain at all. It is well worth going ahead with it. Keep talking while you are having the injection to distract yourself, and dont watch it, but please give yourself a pain break and get this done. You will look forward to the second one because you know the relief is worth the initial discomfort. Good luck - Pet xxxx

  • My GP did my left wrist 3 yrs ago as pain was unbearable in my hand and especially my thumb. I was given local first then the injection. It hurt A LOT when local wore off and had to keep wrsit strap on for as long as possible and try not to use wrist for 48hrs to keep steroid in the right place BUT it worked. I have confidence in my GP and I'll go back and have my GP do it again should I need it. My consultant gave me an injection in my shoulder and that hurt way more and no local ;) Good luck, I hope you feel the benefit of it soon xx

  • yes some gps and nurses very good.. research your local practice.. mine is verging towards mini medical centre.. they do minor ops men.. nudge/ wink, and remove moles etc.. got back home found a leaflet from them offering chiropractic treatment too.. 1st consult free.. might have a look?. not sure on its benefits for ra?..

  • Had steroid injection in both wrists (for carpal tunnel) several years ago done by Rheumy Nurse at the hospital. Relief was good and actual injection pain was minimal. Was on Humira for a short time at the beginning of this year but came off of it due to other problems but found stinging from injections was less if Humira had been out of the 'fridge for about 30 minutes.

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