Any ideas on how to help my husband feel more comfortable giving injections?

At first he was happy to help me feel better, but now it is making him feel queasy and like he is hurting me. He is giving me weekly injections in my upper arm but this last one hurt REALLY bad and even though I tried to hold it in the tears came down. I know he felt horrible.

Any recommendations for him, or for me to make him a bit more comfortable doing this? Perhaps it is easier to do the injections in my thigh? Maybe there is a tactic that would make it less painful? We currently follow the instructions of the doctor: which was select the area 4 fingers down and squeeze skin outward, insert needle and draw up then inject and pull straight out.

Thank you everyone :)

42 Replies

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  • I have my B12 injections in my arms too. The best one I have had was when the doctor warmed it in her hand first and injected slowly. I had to check that she had injected at all. I always have my arm hanging down and shake it to relax it.

  • Warming is a good idea! Thanks :)

  • After over 600 such injections in the upper arm during the past 46 years given by a succession of practice nurses I can only suggest that you both try to relax before doing the injection and for your husband to stand slightly behind and to one side of you.

    What size needles are you using? There are others on here who self inject who will be able to give you advice.

    I wish you both well

  • Hi Clivealive- I am using the needles the pharmacy gave me- they are 22 G x 1-1/2 (.7mm x 40mm)

  • Why don't you do it yourself ? I do mine subcutaneous in my stomach or thigh.Nothing to it.

  • Newly diagnosed- following what Dr. advised. That sounds terrifying- I am afraid I would puncture something, I guess. If he does not want to do it though, I will. Looks like I have some research to do :)

  • Thigh works best for me. Last injection was pain-free and blood-free! I use green needles to withdraw from ampules and blue to inject (23G and 21G at 1.5 inch). I always go for thigh and alternate which leg. Bigger muscle than the deltoid is my rationale. The best tip put there I think is warming to body temp (ish). I keep the ampules I my pocket for a while before injection. Good luck and hope you manage to both feel more comfortable doing it.

  • Thank you :) I think we will try the thigh tonight and see how that goes! Does your partner sink the 1.5 inches all the way in? It seems that the process of drawing up to make sure you have not hit a vein can lead to some movement, perhaps that is where some of the pain is coming from as well. Any suggestions for that process?

  • She never bothers to draw up. Think she goes in about 1 inch leaving about .5 inch showing. Reason for leaving some is in the event of the top bit (at the barrel) inexplicable snapping at least you can get the needle out easily with your fingers (think that's what she said!). I also keep my leg pretty relaxed. You know which bit of the thigh to go for right? Basically dissect with an imaginary line (basically where the bone would be), then 3 hands should make the space from groin to knee, then you'd go for the middle (hand) outer half. Look it up online if my explanation is a bit rubbish. Symptoms poor today so head is "crackling"!

  • Thank you very much! I will definitely look it up just to be sure I understood correctly :)

  • One final tip I just remembered: inject slowly. Only time I've felt a twinge of pain is when she's been rushing it.

  • Forgot to say, my partner does my jabs and always tightens the skin throughout (as she was trained as a pharmacist). My brother did my first few jabs but he bunched the skin (as he teaches - nurse trainer). Both techniques were fine in terms of pain so either or, whichever works best for the injector and injectee

  • Something that no one has mentioned and I only know from reading here. If the needle hits the glass it blunts the needle which then hurts - which is why some people draw up with a bigger needle and then change needles for a finer one.

    I hope someone who knows will elaborate on this - needle sizes etc.

  • We use one to draw and another to inject to avoid this. One thing I may consider is going a bit smaller on size for the injection needle....

  • Blue is 23G (inject as thinner); green is 21G (drawing up out of ampule)

  • I self - inject into my thighs ( alternating ) using the middle outer third where the muscle is closest to the surface .. I use two needles -a longer one 1 1/2 inches to withdraw the B12 and a shorter one - 1 inch with a 25 gauge (Nice and thin !) to inject . I can honestly say that I feel no pain . I prefer to self inject so I have complete control . I do it very slowly . The B12 isn't a thick liquid, so 25 gauge is suitable .The higher the gauge , the finer the needle .

    Best of luck .

  • Yes, I agree. I used blue (23G / 1.25") for IM injection in leg - pull skin a bit taut and 'flick' needle in at 90 degrees, then give injection slowly.

    I now use orange (25G / 5/8") and do subcutaneous injection into abdomen which has been much easier - I started to tense my leg and so it was more painful.

    I use green needle (21G / 1.5") to draw the injection up with, then change needle to give.

    Definitely warm the ampoule to body temperature before giving. Placing in a warm place on your body (under arm, in bra etc) for several minutes will also make a difference.

    YouTube apparently have some very good videos to show how to give injections, and where best sites etc

    You'll sort this and be fine. I self-inject and, although a retired nurse, wasn't sure I could stick needles into myself but I do and it's been fine. Take courage and encouragement ;)

  • sometimes it hurts but it's just a few seconds pain compared to the living death that is not having your B12 topped up - make sure you remind your husband of that when it does hurt.

  • When I inject my Husband I do it at 90 degree angle and I use blue 1 inch needle to inject slowly , and try to have no distractions , keep needle steady as moving hurts . I always feel nervous but try not to let him see my nerves , but all worth it as he is improving slowly . Good luck

  • Hi

    I am not good at self injections. I admire those that are. I have an auto injector That I put my syringe / needle blue 23g in it and press a button (I even have to steal myself to do that but I do and it doesn't hurt at all) then push the plunger. It is simple, effective and painless. Best bit of kit I have ever bought.

  • This little device sounds interesting. specialk16

    Would you mind posting a link so that others, and myself, can see what you are using, please?

    I suspect there are others who may well benefit from something like this. :)

  • Erm, I wish I could but I have no idea how to add a link! I took a photo of it but no where add that either lol

    I got it from unionmedico and I love it.

  • This is one from unionmedico and is a YouTube video showing how it's used. Hope it's same/similar as the one you mean specialk16 ???

    To put a link here, simply copy (Ctrl+C) the www address, then paste (Ctrl+V) into your post ;)

    At 77€, it's certainly not cheap but could be really useful for those who can't bring themselves to stick the needle in but could push the plunger ;)

  • Yep that's the one. Very easy to use. 👍

  • Thank you!

  • Interesting! I've not heard of this

  • Thank you, everyone ☺️

  • The pharmacy I use provides one I have never used it considering it weildy but different strokes for different folks am in US

  • Have you tried to practise on an orange? It really helped me to get my head around it.

    In the beginning I was drawing up to check for veins but it always made me feel queasy. So, now I ignore that part. I am not medically trained but have read that should you inject into a vein it will be ok. Also, if you feel it sting then slowly pull the needle out a little bit. It all seems to work for me.

    You will probably find it easier to inject yourself - it really is less painful because you are incharge. I prepare the needles, draw up the warmed ampoule, depress until one drop squeezes out, slap my chosen spot, bunch it up a bit and count 1,2,3 and pop it in. Depress VERY slowly. Legs stretched out and relaxed.

    Make sure you have eaten a meal beforehand and stay put for a couple of minutes to rest after injection.

    Don't give up! The benefits are enormous.

    Good luck.

  • Warm the ampule in your hand or pocket for a few minuets before use, and as you push the plunger into the syringe do it slowly right down to the bottom, I inject myself into my thigh and find it stings if I try and speed up

    All best wishes and good luck

  • How interesting all our different comments! There's a few things I would add.

    I was advised by my GP practice nurse that there is no need to draw up, so I don't.

    I si weekly and rotate my injection sites.....upper arms, glutes and thighs. Glutes are slightly awkward to reach but worth the contortions as they're the most painless. If anywhere is going to hurt or I need to make more than one attempt or swap to a different site it will be my thighs (I seem to have tough skin to get through on them).

    Inserting the needle and injecting slowly is the most painless method.

    If I abandon an attempt I always use a fresh needle to start again in case I've blunted the first needle.

    I use green to draw up and blue to inject.

  • My tuppenceworth:

    1. I use blue needles to draw up the B12.

    2. I back-load diabetic syringes with a 6mm, 30g needle. These are the finest and shortest needles made. These are nearly as thin as a hair. There is no need to inject subcutaneously any deeper than 6mm - there is no advantage and it may even be better the more shallow, so says current research.

    4. Expel any air bubbles by upending the syringe and flicking it, then put the cap back on.

    4. Shove the syringe into my armpit for a few minutes to warm up.

    5. Sit and watch TV. Lift my upper garment to reveal the muffin top, very very lightly touch my skin with the needle around my bellybutton and about 1.5 inches away from it, at either side.

    6. when I find a spot that doesn't notice the touch of the needle, slowly insert the whole (tiny, thin, barely a needle) needle.

    7. SLOWLY work the plunger down, millimetre by millimeter, usually by working it down using the stem not the end of the plunger until the plunger is in easy reach, still watching the TV.

    8. wonder why the plunger won't go any further

    9. look down and see that all the B12 has been used

    10. hold my skin tight and withdraw the (tiny, thin, barely a needle) needle.

    11. Do not reveal that it doesn't hurt because:-

    12. I can then whimper at the OH to get some sympathy and a cup of tea (recommended). Have a square of chocolate (optional). Smirking to be avoided.

  • Well Schenks you made me laugh, Thanks.

  • 🤗

  • I've just started self-injecting and getting over my fear of it has made me feel incredibly empowered. Also I can do it exactly as slowly as I need to and it really really doesn't hurt.

  • Why not get an auto-injector from unionmedico? They make it easier and you would be able to do it yourself. I love mine. Also heat the B12 in your hands and inject it very very slowly. I use the auto-injector put syringe & needle in and place against thigh press button and needle goes straight in and all I have to do is slowly press plunger to inject the B12. Much less squeamish!

  • Looking into this- thank you!

  • Hi jstarkey

    When I the loading dose the nurse did every other arm - always hurt. New surgery and different nurse - still hurt. Now I have a different nurse and she does it slowly and is great. In between when on holiday I have had injections in the bum around the gluteus maximus and medius muscles at one of the hospitals.

    On the NHS the injections are not often enough for me so I also self inject now. I watched some You Tube presentations and have found the upper thigh for self injecting the most suitable. Make sure YOU PULL THE SKIN TIGHT pop the needle in around the upper thigh outer quadrant and slowly press the liquid into your thigh.

    In a way I think quick confident procedure is the best and perhaps your husband is no longer confident as it has hurt.

    If you have a friend who is not squeamish perhaps this may be an alternative.

  • Hi jstarkey I hope the advice worked, please let us know.

  • Hello, Last Thursday I stuck the ampule in my bra for about 5 minutes prior to injection and my husband read everyone's replies :) It was better, but I think can still be perfected. I am looking into the auto-injector as well as the thinner needles. Thanks again!

  • I'm pleased that the injections have improved and hope they get better still. Don't forget to inject slowly.

  • I always inject into stomach as there's plenty of it... very similar procedure and syringes that Schenks uses and I warm the syringe contents before hand, usually resting it on a towel on a warm radiator!

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