I have had two recent injections of local anaesthetic. The injections were similar but the accompanying verbals weren’t. In the first one, the injector said. “OK at the count of three I will put the needle in and it will sting a bit, 1,2,3 there you are…” It really stung! Some months earlier, another injector was about to put the needle in when she said “ouch” just before the needle went in. I didn’t feel a thing. It was as though she had my needle pain for me! I thought it was pretty cool.
Here is an interesting study – In two groups of 70 healthy women at term, prior to having a local anaesthetic before an epidural, “we are going to give you a local anaesthetic that will numb the area and you will be comfortable during the procedure” was compared to “ you are going to feel a big beesting – this is the worst part of the procedure”. In group 1 the median VAS scores were 3 (2-5) and in group 2 they were 5 (3-6). Highly significant differences (Varelmann et al (2010) Anesthesia & Analgesia 110: 868).
Is this just a bit of increased local discomfort that we shouldn’t worry about? It may be more than that. At least 10% of the population are trypanophobic i.e have a fear of needles. This may lead to further health problems, for example blood tests may be missed . There are many reasons for needle phobias but maybe language enhanced needle-pain neurotags may be one of them.
I must say I would feel odd saying to the next injector “can you say ouch before you inject!
I would love to hear your comments.