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10 Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear of Needles

By Chris Brown

The fear of needles, trypanophobia, is surprisingly common amongst adults, affecting 25 percent. However, for some, the fear of needles is so strong it impacts their ability to receive required medications. Trypanophobia can cause extreme anxiety, dizziness, nausea, and chest pain when severe. Whatever one's symptoms, the reason not to receive medication shouldn't be due to a fear of needles. Luckily, needle-fear can be overcome if the main causes are addressed.

Fear of needles sometimes arises from a traumatic experience with shots or even from simply witnessing a traumatic needle experience of someone else's. Those with generalized anxiety are more prone to developing phobias like trypanophobia. Regardless of cause, there are 10 proven ways to reduce, and hopefully alleviate, your needle anxiety forever.

  • Expose and desensitize yourself to needles - Utilize proven exposure therapy methods by viewing pictures and videos of needles to desensitize yourself. Then visualize the real-life encounter until the fear reduces.
  • Preemptively numb the shot area - You can apply over-the-counter lidocaine cream, or use ice, prior to your shot to pre-numb the shot area safely.
  • Look away from the shot - Looking away removes the traumatizing visual aspect of a seeing a needle enter your skin. Also, it removes some of the expectation of pain, as you do not know exactly when the shot will occur.
  • Use relaxation or meditation techniques - Practicing meditation and breathing techniques can make you more relaxed and less anxious in all of life, including getting a shot.
  • Visualize a "happy" place - Similarly, visualizing a safe, relaxing place while the shot occurs could calm your response and distract you from your anxiety-inducing situation.
  • Imagine the worst-case scenario - With trypanophobia, catastrophizing is common and often worse than the actual injection. By thinking about the worst-case scenario, you will come into the doctors office prepared for the worst, and then realize it's not so bad by comparison.
  • Tense your muscles immediately prior to the shot - Tensing the muscles just prior to injection raises one's blood pressure and makes you less likely to faint according to research.
  • Visit the doctor with a trusted friend - It is always easier to go through a potentially traumatic event with someone you trust. Bring along a good friend to hold your hand and help keep you calm.
  • Tell your doctor about your fear - Don't be afraid or ashamed to share your fears with your doctor. That way they know to be understanding and patient when you require shots. Plus, they may have additional tips for reducing trypanophobia-based anxiety.
  • Seek therapy - Therapists, and especially cognitive behavioral therapists, have shown great success in reducing trypanophobia symptoms over time.

You can reduce your need to experience needles in life by keeping your body in optimal health with chiropractic manipulation. The Joint Chiropractic offers walk-in sessions at affordable, insurance-free, prices that can help optimize your bodily systems and keep you in top shape. The Joint's chiropractors analyze one's body holistically to correct joint and spinal dysfunctions that unknowingly are causing needle-needing health problems in your future.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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