Lots of people do not like needles and that is perfectly logical. It is a natural response to not want sharp things piercing your skin! But unfortunately for steroid users, the other main option is orals, of which most are harsh on the liver and cardiovascular health. If you plan to use steroids for an extended period then injectables are the way to go. In that vein, this guide will help you to stay safe and minimize discomfort.
When it comes to injections, the number one most important step is cleanliness. There is a reason why many champion safe injection sites for hard drug users: dirty needles and dirty skin are more likely to kill than the drugs themselves! The same applies to steroids: have a shower, wash your hands, and keep your gear clean. You should also avoid ever reusing an injection needle. Needles are very cheap so this is an unnecessary risk. Be sure to also clean your injection site and the top of the vial each time with rubbing alcohol.
2. Needle Gauge
The next important thing is your choice in needles. Ideally you should have 22, 23, or 25 gauge 1 inch needles (1.5 inches if you are over 250 pounds). Additionally you should have an 18 gauge needle, not for injecting, but for withdrawing from vials. 25 gauge needles are designed for dogs and are less painful, but they inject much more slowly. This is good because injecting slowly means you are less likely to make a mistake and that the steroid can distribute more evenly. The downside however, is that you can only inject oil based steroids with this type of needle; water based compounds may be unable to penetrate such a small gauge.
3. Filling the Syringe
When withdrawing your solution a 25 gauge needle will not do. In addition to this, it can also dull the needles point meaning less comfortable injections. For this reason the 18 gauge needle will come in handy. With clean hands, you should unscrew and remove the needle head from the syringe you had intended to use. Replace this head with the 18 gauge one and then use this needle to withdraw your compound. You should use a smaller syringe as a large syringe maybe more difficult to handle or may end up containing too much medication. Remember, never fill a syringe with more than you intend to administer. Now remove the 18 gauge needle head and replace it with your gauge of choice. Do your best Hollywood doctor impression and flick the upside down needle to release any hidden air bubbles and squirt them out. Now you are ready to inject.
Of course, the question now is where? Certainly the best spot on the body to perform your injections is the glutes (your butt). This is the fleshiest part of your body with the least nerve endings and fewest blood vessels. Specifically you should inject into the muscles of the upper outer quadrant of your glute (there is an important nerve in the lower buttocks and if you hit it you will remember it). Remember to pull the chosen cheek taunt with your opposite hand and insert the needle deep enough to reach your muscles. And, of course, be sure to relax your chosen cheek by putting most of your weight on the opposite leg or by lying down.
5.Check for Blood
If you are concerned about hitting a blood vessel, and you should be, once the needle is inserted, pull the plunger back slightly. If you see blood enter the syringe, remove the needle and choose a different site.
If you find the intramuscular injections to be uncomfortable there are a few tricks you can try to alleviate this. One trick is to use an ice cube to freeze the tip of the needle which can dull the pinch of penetration. The same trick can be used on the skin itself to dull your own sensitivity. If these do not work for you, you can go the opposite route and try warming the needle which will make the oil more watery and thus easier to inject. Freezing the needle can dull the pinch of penetration. Additionally you can try focusing on something else to distract yourself.
When you have completed your injection, remove the needle quickly then massage the injection site to help disperse the oil. If there is any bleeding, just swab the injection site with alcohol again. You can apply a bandage if you would like to. You may feel the steroid running through your leg but this is completely normal.
Be sure to dispose of the needle in a safe manner, both for your own safety and for the safety of others. This can be done by placing the syringes in a empty container, preferably a hard plastic one like a deterget container. A warning should be written on the container in large, black marker reading, “CAUTION! Syringes/needles. DO NOT RECYCLE!” When full, replace the lid and wrap it in tape. Dispose of the container in your garbage, not your recycling.
There is a certain small amount of risk with injections, even under the best conditions. This risk, of course, is that of anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction. If you are concerned that you are allergic, you should consult a doctor as, unless you have someone standing by with a syringe full of adrenaline, you will be rendered unconscious nearly instantly.