How to Get Over the Fear of Pricking Your Finger

When you have diabetes, testing your blood glucose is something you cannot avoid. Luckily, the DigiVibe has some tricks to help you get over the fear of pricking your finger. Our vibration technology takes the pain away in just 12 seconds. 

Sometimes, fear is not just about pain. Putting a few tips to reduce anxiety into practice can help you become more comfortable with this aspect of monitoring your blood sugar levels. 

Do You Have Trypanophobia (Fear of Needles)?

Nobody loves needles, but most of us tolerate them without any major issues. However, some people experience a significant fear around them. 

Trypanophobia is an extreme phobia of medical procedures that involve the use of needles. This includes small needles to test blood glucose, such as finger pricking for diabetes management. In some cases, this fear can be so extreme that it interferes with the ability to perform daily tasks, which may include blood sugar monitoring.

It’s unclear why some people develop phobias and others don’t, but there may be early life experiences that caused underlying trauma or certain aspects of needles that lead to trypanophobia.

Common symptoms of trypanophobia may include the following in relation to needles or preparing for a procedure that involves needles: 

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety 
  • Panic attacks
  • Racing heart rate
  • Avoiding medical care
  • High blood pressure 

If you think you may have trypanophobia, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about it, particularly if your fear interferes with your ability to monitor your blood glucose. 

How to Get Over Your Fear of Finger Pricks

If you do have an extreme fear of needles, you may be wondering how to get over trypanophobia. For severe fears, mental health support can be extremely helpful in managing anxiety and treating underlying causes. There are also things you can practice to help reduce fear of finger pricks in general. 

Perhaps the most crucial piece of reducing fear around needles is to make the process as painless and low-stress as possible. Humans often associate pain with fear and anxiety, so practicing habits like the ones below to separate these may be helpful. 

Practice breathing and muscle relaxation techniques

Intentional, slowed breathing practices can be a great way to help reduce anxiety and calm your nerves before testing your blood sugar. Taking long, slow, deep breaths in and out can help bring down your heart rate, reduce anxiety, and promote calmness. Muscle relaxation can also help take your mind off of your fear. Starting from your toes and moving up to the top of your head, consciously tense your individual muscles and release them. 

Choose a more sensitive testing device

It can be helpful to choose thinner gauge testing needles and set your lancet to the lowest possible depth. Additionally, the DigiVibe device has been designed specifically to minimize pain and anxiety around blood sugar monitoring. Unlike other devices, it uses vibration to block pain signals from reaching your brain. 

Test in low pain areas

It’s easy to fall into the habit of testing in the same areas repeatedly and become more comfortable with them. However, this can lead to increased pain and localized sensitivity over time. 

Try switching between all ten of your fingers and identify which areas are less painful or anxiety-provoking. It may help to draw a “hand map” by tracing your hands on paper and marking these areas. Furthermore, testing on the sides of your fingers where there are fewer nerve endings may be less painful than in the middle of your finger pads. 

Practice with others

Sometimes it can help to test your blood sugar in the presence of, or even with help from, other people. If you have roommates, friends, or family members you can trust and be relaxed with, consider seeing if your fear around testing changes in their presence. While this may not be sustainable for the long term, it may help you become more comfortable with the process itself and doing it on your own. 

Don’t look at the needle

Similar to getting a shot, sometimes looking at the needle while it’s injected can increase anxiety significantly. Briefly looking away during the finger prick portion of testing may be helpful. Just be sure that you’re experienced with blood glucose testing and have a good handle on setting up and using your device properly first.

If you’ve been struggling with how to overcome trypanophobia, it’s important to acknowledge that your fear is valid and deserves attention. If you think your fear is controlling your life, begin by learning some trypanophobia facts first. 

It’s also best to speak with your doctor to develop an effective plan that may involve mental health support. You can also implement some of the practices discussed above to reduce anxiety over finger pricking and minimize pain associated with the process.