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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 11/10/2008 8:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I just had my first four shots one and a half weeks ago and am getting ready for the next two on Thursday but the shots were incredibly painful.  I let the pens set out for about 15 to 20 minutes before hand, I numbed up the area with ice packs, my husband gave me the shots and after about 5 seconds I couldn't help it I had to scream.  I think I screamed immediatly with the last two - they just got worse and worse.  Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do or even if this is normal?  I used to get allergy shots every week and it was never this bad and I figured with the pen it would be pretty easy.  Now I am afraid to administer them myself.  A nurse at work suggested I try my belly next time instead of my legs, she says there are less nerves, but I don't think so.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 11/10/2008 8:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm thinking it's normal based on my own experiences and what other people have said. I've tried everything to help ease the pain, but nothing really seems to work. I've heard the syringes are less painful since you can control how quickly that dense liquid goes in. I'm sorry it hurts so badly...I have a lot of trouble with it as well(messed up the last one so all the liquid ended up everywhere except it wasn't supposed to).
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone(down to 10 mg), pentasa, bentyl as needed, prilosec, tandem plus, humira, and good probiotics
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 674
   Posted 11/10/2008 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Ive tried everything too.  I dread getting that freaking shot.  Ive numbed it with ice..made no difference. Even when I was fresh out of the hospital and had Vicodine, that didnt even ease the pain.  I tried the syringe and nearly passed out from the pain because it went so slow. Im just happy I only have to do it once every other week, if I had to do it more Id have to tell my GI that I refuse to take it anymore.  When I was in the hospital the nurse gave me my 4 starter shots, 2 in the thigh and 2 in my belly...I must say it hurt a lot less in my belly for some reason, but I was also on IV dilaudid and they gave that to me right before they did my shots...I havent tried in my belly at home yet though, for some reason it just creeps me out.

Dianogsed with Crohns at 16, 21 yrs old now.
Surgeries:2 Bowel Resections, Gallbladder Removed.
Current Meds: Humira (bi-weekly), 15mg Pred, Nexium, B12 injections.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 493
   Posted 11/10/2008 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I seem to be the odd one here in that the shots don't bother me so much. However, humira isn't working for me so well either. But. . .here's my routine.

The day before the shot, I am sure to try to stay really hydrated--this is supposed to help. A friend also suggested stretching the thigh the day before and the day of.

I take tylenol about 30 mins before the shot and let the pen warm up for 20-25 mins. I use the little ice pack to ice up the spot. Then my husband pinches the area really hard and I do the pen. I count out loud to 14 to make sure it's all in there--I tend to count fast. It sometimes hurts going in but then it's over.

Sometimes, I need to ice afterward. I've only had the injection site burn once but when I washed the area, it stopped.

Good luck!!

I hope the drug works better for you than it is working for me. I'm hanging on a while longer but it's frustating.
23 years with moderate Crohn's/colitis; fistulizing crohn's; pentasa; started humira 7/1/08

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7055
   Posted 11/10/2008 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
The abdomen was MUCH LESS painful than the thighs. In fact after the initial loading shots that went 2 in the thighs, 2 in the abdomen, I NEVER again used my thighs. Of course, I can't even say the thigh injections hurt much. I do think some people have an aversion to needles that increases their pain. My daughter told me the other day she would rather have the flu than get an injection.
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 493
   Posted 11/10/2008 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Women generally carry more fatty tissue in their abdomen, so for most women it's much less painful there. I took my first two shots about 10 days ago and while it definitely stung more than I expected, it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I have an AWFUL bruise, but that's just because I hit a tiny vessel one on shot--it doesn't even hurt. The first four shots are definitely traumatizing though, and I think once you get down to 1 every two weeks, it'll be much more manageable.
20 y/o, diagnosed 6/2007. On Humira, no wheat or corn syrup, low sugar, low dairy.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1342
   Posted 11/10/2008 11:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Personally, I found the stomach and thigh to be equally painful. However, I only have used the stomach for 2 of the initial shots. I always have my mom give me the shot, because then I can just cringe into my pillow until it's over. It's only 10 seconds though, so it could be a lot worse. Letting the pen warm up is the only thing I've found that helps a little bit. I ice it afterwards too, because I always get a red itchy welt at the injection site.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 11/11/2008 8:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh my gosh - you poor thing! Your first 4 shots sound exactly like mine - screams and all. My husband did them in my leg and I screamed so bad my kids heard me from outside! I have found that icing does NOT help me at all, in fact it makes it worse. Icing only helps with the initial needle prick, but it's not the needle that hurts, it's the dang medicine itself that burns so badly.

I let the pen sit out for about 45minutes to an hour to make sure it's warmed up. I also ALWAYS do the shots in the fatty part of the back of my arm. My husband does them - I have a major aversion to sticking myself with a needle. I'm pregnant so I have never tried my belly, but I don't know that I could because it just seems like too tender of an area.

So far I haven't found that anything helps the burn or the INCREDIBLY PAINFUL stinging afterwards. I just scream into a towel every time so I don't freak my kids out and it gives me something to bite on to bear the pain. Sounds pitiful, and a bit embarrassing, but it hurts that bad for me. I think that if you were brave enough to try the syringes it could possibly help. With the syringe you can control how slowly the medicine goes in. With the injector-pens you have no control and that's why I think it burns so badly- because the medicine goes so quickly.

Good luck - and try the back of your arm!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1665
   Posted 11/11/2008 4:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I did shots in my belly, by myself, and felt just a light sting. sorry it is so awful. I have heard better results with syringe than pen. My gi wouldn't give me pens and I learned easily to do the shot.
49 y/o woman.  Diagnosed 4/06 after colonscopy, SBFT, CT-scan all showed crohns. 3 months later, after pred and remicade, all tests showed no crohns. December '06 had adhesions cut through a laparoscopy. Now taking Glycolax, Ultra Fiber Plus, Florastor, and DHEA. Have become gluten-free diet per naturopath's tests.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 351
   Posted 11/11/2008 4:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone.  I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 20 years old.  (I'm 26 now)  I've done the whole Humira thing and it worked great for a few weeks then I stopped responding to it.  The injections in the stomach were extrememly painfull but they were less painfull then in the thigh.  You need to set the pen out for about an hour to get to room temp then inject.  All that crap about ice and that it doesn't work.  The warmer the medicine the less it will hurt.  What sucks is that with the pen you need to hold it for ten seconds.  After like 4 seconds you want to stab yourself in the eye just so you don't feel the pain where you're injecting.  Unfortunately for me I am considered a medicinal failure.  I've been on every type of drug for crohn's except for the new on Cimzia and methotrexate.  Unfortunately on August 8th 2008 after a week of running almost 105 fever I was rushed to the er where they promptly started on antibiotics and high doses of prednisone.  I had a severe stricure in my terminal ilieum and it needed to be removed.  On August 12th I went in for a bowel ressection to remove a foot of my small intestine and was left with a temporary ileostomy.  I had that for about 10 weeks then went it for reversal surgery.  It has been three weeks since my reversal and I have to say I actually feel "normal" for the first time in a long time.  I go to the bathroom about 3 times a day and there is minimal pain only because of the scar tissue that is building up at the reconnection site.  I am crohn's free right now.  I have a little bit in the colon but it's not active.  I was started on asacol AGAIN so I stay in remission.  As for the Humira I hope it works for you all and you can avoid what I had to go through.  Just remember the warmer the medicine the less it will hurt.  Also make sure the alcohol is completely dry on your injection site before you inject.  That will also make a sting.  If you need any advice I will try to help.  Hope you all stay well.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 11/11/2008 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I did shots in my belly, by myself, and felt just a light sting.


Irish Red
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 11/11/2008 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
I do the shots every two weeks and alternate between leg and belly. It sucks going in but then the pain stops.  The next day is the worst for me. The area swells up and is sore to touch.  The third day it is ichy and the fourth it is gone. 
No pain for no gain I keep telling myself.  Anyway I am moving to Remicade in a few weeks because we are looking at starting a family and Humira is too new to take a risk. 
Has anyone gone off Humira and gone on Remicade and if so how did they do the transition in terms of dose.  My specialist feels I can go to 8wks since I have been on Humira for over 4 months.

CD since 1988,

Cocktail of medications ( Remicade included) and have explored many herbal remedies.

Currently experiencing another flair up after 4 years of remission.


"Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what your going to get inside" 

Everyone knows that quote... how true how true.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 83
   Posted 11/11/2008 11:57 PM (GMT -6)   

Try pinching the skin on your abdomen, inject, remove shot and then release the skin.  Works for me thank goodness.  Good luck.


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 12/15/2008 12:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I just recieved my first 4 doses yesterday. I was fearing the worst from everybody's posts and all in all it was hardly anything I imagined. Of course it stings a little but it only lasts a few seconds. Not bad at all!!! It was all in even before the ten seconds that they say to let it sit. My mom gave me the shots - 2 in the belly and one in each thigh. I couldn't decide which site was worse, to me they felt the same. I let the pens sit out for at least 20 minutes while I iced the area. I did not touch the area at all about 15-20 minutes after each shot. I did accidently go to wipe the first blood droplet and it stung like hell! You just should lay down and relax so the meds can dicipate in the area of shooting it. So far no rashes, itches or even red marks! My fingers are crossed.
Age: 26 Female
Diagnosed at 6 with Crohn's
Bal-resection at 15
Plenty trials of steriods, anti-biotics, Asacol, Pentasa, Immuran, Remicade.

Admitted for severe flare 12/2008
Avoided surgery once again - 1 ft diseased, narrowed lower intenstine found
treated with high does steriod/antibiotics - currently weaning off Prednisone

started Humira 12/14/08

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 12/15/2008 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I found that my belly works best, ice/pinch/poke/burn/done. Now the first time loading dose I did each thigh and each side of belly and about flew thru the roof when I did the thigh ones, NEVER AGAIN!

Dx CD 2003 but probably had it 10 years prior

Dx Primary Sclerossing Cholangitis 2006

GB out '95, Appendix out '96, Kidney stent '02/stone removal '02, Resection '04, fistulectomy '06 2x, tubal '05

Currently on 100mg 6mp-50 mg,  and Remicade every 8 weeks, Ambien, predsnisone, humira 

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 12/15/2008 2:43 PM (GMT -6)   
belly is best for me

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 12/15/2008 3:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Counting to 14 with the pen seems like a long time. It goes so quick, I barely get to 5. You may be able to pull it out quicker by watching the window for the yellow indicator. I usually wait for the sound it makes when it's empty.

I also don't squeeze too hard. The firmer skin may be causing you more pain. I do a light pinch and press. As soon as the window on the pen goes to yellow, out it comes.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 134
   Posted 12/30/2008 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Shannon,

I've not gone from Humira to Remicade, but I was on Remicade for about 2 years, along with Imuran and then Methotrexate. I started out every 8 weeks on the Remicade and gradually had to move to the maximum dose every 4 weeks. I went off of it about 2 years ago because I had built up antibodies to it.

I just started on Humira this month, and have done 2 doses thus far. I can certainly relate to the Humira pain. I hadn't tried to get mine to room temperature or ice, but will definitely thy both of those the next time. I've only done it the thigh so far. I just can't seem to bring myself to shoot that pen in my stomach!

Best of luck to you.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 196
   Posted 12/30/2008 8:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm on the same schedule you are. I chose the syringes. The pen looked like it would be a horrible experience. I had a mild sting. I like being able to control how fast the Humira goes into me.

Sorry it was so painful for you. Perhaps you should try the syringe. Best of luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 981
   Posted 12/30/2008 11:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I do my shots in my belly and found the first 4 loading doses did hurt but after that I havent had a problem. I didnt know you could even do them in your leg. My GI has always just said belly only, but for me I dont have any pain from them at all. Sorry your having trouble I hope it can be sorted soon, but I tend to agree with the others that suggested that perhaps the pen is the most painful of the 2. All the best

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 544
   Posted 12/31/2008 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I can only comment on what works for me...
I find that the thighs are a little more sensitive than the stomach...not much but some.
If I let the pen set out for about 30 to 45 minutes then it really helps. the house is never more than 72 to 74 degrees f so there should be no problem.
At first I didn't let it warm up and I iced the area before injecting.  That hurt...then I allowed the pens to warm a bit, but I still iced the area....that hurt almost as much.  so then I figured the idea was to inject the humira at a temp that was as close to the temp of the body, so I quit icing and it quit hurting for the most part.  I also make sure that when I grab the skin where I am injecting, I do so with a very light grab and very little pressure.
there are times when the injection still hurts, but I assume I have hit a small nerve.
because I had a resection done in November and the incision was about 8 inches long straight up the midline I have been injecting mostly in thighs.  I did one in the stomach but found that my nerves in that area are still upset from the surgery ( I wll wait at least 8 weeks before I try that again)
For me it has become pretty routine,....I almost laugh now when I think back to all the prep and worry that went into this.  I used to lay down and let myself get calm...then my wife would do the honors....then eventually I started doing it...but still it was 15 to 20 minute process with towels, ice packs and stress.   NOW.....I letthe stuff sit out, when the timer reminds me that time is up ... I usually walk into the kitchen, turn off the buzzer, roll up my shorts pant leg or pull down the tops if wearing long pants (rare here in Florida) rub with the alcohol wipe, pull the pen apart, lightly grab the skin, place the pen on the skin, pop the button and BINGO all done....other than letting the pen sit out...the whole process now takes less than a minute....just over a minute if you include proper disposal of the pen and wipe.
dx IBS 1999   UC 2000   CD 2001
Tested BIOGEN TYSABRI (gave me 2 years of remission)
tried Naltrexone Jan. 19, 2007 Stopped the Naltrexone July 28th...started Humira Aug 31st, 2007...current dose one shot every week. Also nightly dose of mesalamine.
Surgery Nov 4th, 2008 removed 30 inches of small bowel.
 Crohns is currently active and has been since April of 2005
52 yrs old

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 384
   Posted 12/31/2008 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I personally prefer the syringes over than the pens. I do let them sit out for 20 minutes and ice the spot first. However, I have found with picking a spot whether it is my stomach, belly, or back of my arms is hit and miss. Sometimes it goes pretty smoothly with little pain and other times it feels has if someone has thrown a hand granade in me. The good thing about the syringes is if my husbands injects into a difficult area he injects really, really slow which really helps ease the pain. Sometimes it takes a good 5 minutes or so.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 1/1/2009 4:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Guys...My nurse let me give them on the side of my stomach over my hip bone. It's what people refer to as the "muffin'. Its the fat on your side of hips that poofs out over jeans. lol It doesn't hurt at all there. It did in my thighs though! I have lots of scar tissue on my stomach from surgeries and you aren't suppose to give it near scar tissue.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 1/1/2009 5:57 PM (GMT -6)   
It's my understanding that the Pens, which I take should be taken below the belly button area where your fat is thickest. I talked to my doc about pain with these too. She suggest at a 45 degree angle. I ice and my husband doesn't push them in, just sets them on my skin and lets them inject. They are now less painful. Oh and he lets them sit out for about 15 minutes. That's how it works for me.
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