Finger pricking for self-monitoring blood sugar levels is critical for diabetes management. But, unfortunately, it isn’t the most pleasant experience for most people. While there’s no replacement method for monitoring blood sugar, the good news is that recent research led by Lutz Heinemann, Ph.D. shows how the cycle of pain and anxiety can be broken. It was this research that inspired the creation of DigiVibe for painless finger pricks — a unique compact device that uses pain-blocking technology to ease discomfort and achieve painless finger pricking.
Side Effects of Finger Pricking for Diabetes Management
One of the most essential pieces to optimal blood sugar management with diabetes is the practice of checking your blood sugar levels. Having a regular tab on what your blood sugar levels are doing throughout the day gives you a baseline idea of your body’s normal patterns and also allows you to put proper interventions into place when needed. When blood sugar levels come back either too high or too low, generally, either insulin or sugar in the form of food is administered before a recheck.
Unfortunately, there are many side effects of finger pricking regularly. A common complaint among people with diabetes is that it can be painful and anxiety-provoking. Blood sugar is generally monitored by pricking the softest areas of the fingers, and this repeated action can be burdensome and make the digits sore and painful. Without a lot of time to heal between finger pricks, soreness can become chronic.
Furthermore, regularly pricking the fingers can lead to scarring of the skin as well as the formation of rough calluses. Many people also experience a loss of sensitivity in these areas. This ongoing necessity can create negative associations, especially among children, that may prevent the regular yet essential practice of finger pricking.
Why do finger pricks hurt more than shots? Your fingertips have many more nerve endings, which increases sensitivity to the prick. Additionally, your fingertips aren’t full of muscle like your arms are — meaning more pain will be felt when poked.
Finger pricking for diabetes is the gold standard method of self-monitoring blood sugar, as it’s the most effective and quickest way to see your glucose numbers. But just because there’s no substitute for the practice of finger pricking doesn’t mean researchers aren’t continuously looking for ways to improve the experience of doing so.
Attempts to Reduce Finger Pricking Pain
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology acknowledged the pain associated with finger pricking and examined the available technologies to reduce pain side by side.
When this paper was published, the author, Lutz Heinemann, Ph.D., noted that there were very few studies on the topic of finger pricking technology for diabetes. This still appears to be the case today. Heinemann concludes by making a call to action for a better way to create a finger pricking solution without the pain.
The fact is that despite the small number of actual studies done on the topic of pain and finger pricking, millions of people with diabetes are performing the action multiple times per day, every day, to help in their blood sugar management.
Several attempts have been made to improve the discomfort associated with finger pricking for diabetes over the years. For example, some practitioners suggested monitoring in different areas than the fingers, such as the thigh, arm, or abdomen. While pain may be reduced for some people, this approach also tends to create marks on the skin that may be off-putting.
Before the blood glucose meter, a laser approach was recommended at one point. This method burned a tiny hole in the upper layers of the skin to prevent pain perception. However, the device was costly. Additionally, many patients reported side effects and discomfort from using it in public. In the end, it was not successful.
Today, blood glucose meters are the standard self-monitoring devices on the market for diabetes management. These use a lancet, or needle, with a meter. While they’re effective and quick, they’re not painless. Some people with diabetes may use a continuous monitoring system for their blood sugar. However, these also aren’t without pain and discomfort upon insertion — and typically still require at least one self-monitored reading per day.
DigiVibe for Pain Free Pricking
DigiVibe was created in response to the pain and anxiety experienced from finger pricking by those with diabetes — and a need for a better way to self-monitor blood sugar. By offering a painless finger pricking option that also makes blood sugar monitoring a more positive experience, millions of people living with diabetes around the world can also have better metabolic control.
DigiVibe is a device that has eliminated the side effects of finger pricking by blocking the pain signals and allows you to better manage your blood sugar in turn. By removing the pain and anxiety many people associate with finger pricking, the blood glucose level monitoring practice can be much more tolerable.
Wondering how DigiVibe works? This revolutionary device runs off of one AA lithium battery designed to last up to 3 years, or approximately 450 finger pricks. In addition, it comes with a stand that easily attaches to any stable, flat surface for the quickest and most accurate finger prick.
Once you stabilize the device, you will place your finger underneath it for approximately 12 seconds. During this time, the device vibrates and painlessly pricks your finger. Plus, DigiVibe comes with a secure tip — that can be sized to fit both children and adults — and ensures a prick in the right spot every time.
DigiVibe is an affordable and compact device that helps eliminate the pain of finger pricks. To learn more about us, how easy it is to use DigiVibe for painless finger pricking, and understand how it can help, check out these patient and doctor reviews.
- Heinemann L. Finger pricking and pain: a never ending story. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2008;2(5):919-921. doi:10.1177/193229680800200526