Managing MS Injections with Ease
Something many people hate to do the most is get a shot. Unfortunately it is also something that an MS patient is likely to have to do daily at some point for the management of their condition. There are many types of injections available to help reduce the frequency of MS relapses and to help to slow the progression of MS.
Most people with MS may elect to have a family member or friend inject the medication for them. If you have no choice but to give yourself an injection, the following techniques may help you do it without as much apprehension:
This is a technique where you think about a pleasant environment surrounding you as you inject the medication. For instance, you could imagine you are in a tropical paradise as you inject. The idea is that the calm you associate with the place in your imagination will carry over to real life. The goal is to learn to associate relaxation with this time and alleviate your anxiety.
Massaging Injection Sites
Massaging the site before injecting helps to desensitize the area for the needle, so you don’t feel the pain as much. However, it’s important to note the different ways to inject different medications. Pay particular attention to Copaxone.
- Betaseron, Avonex , Rebif injections: You should massage the area where you just injected the medication immediately. This can be done by gently massaging the site with a dry cotton ball or gauze for about two minutes. This helps disperse the medication and will help reduce any irritation.
- Copaxone injections: DO NOT massage the injection site for at least 24 hours after the injection. The medication causes some trauma to the tissue, so if you rub it right after injecting, you can cause destruction of the fatty tissue, which can lead to tolipoatropy. Copaxone causes hard, red lumps at the injection sites for a day or two after the injection was given. Vigorously massaging these lumps after 24 hours has passed may reduce the irritation and help them to heal faster. A warm compress can be used after the 24-hour period as well.
You might like to try this breathing technique right before injecting yourself to help you relax. Make sure you have already prepped the area and have the syringe ready.
- Inhale while you count from one to four. Count to yourself and keep the same pace through the whole practice.
- Hold your breath while you count from one to 10.
- Exhale while you count from one to five.
- Repeat at least once, but no more than four times.
- Practice at least twice a day.
It is good to remember that all medications have benefits and risks. Knowing these risks is advisable for anyone taking medication, especially intramuscular injections.