Just wanted to chime in with my 2 cents worth - maybe it will help others. I'm 39 and I was diagnosed in Feb. 07. I've been on meds for 3 months now - Copaxone and Avonex in the CombiRX clinical trial. I take both medications at "regular" doses - once a day for Copaxone and once a week for Avonex. At first I had no problems with the Copaxone shots using the auto injector, but over time, the welts started to become more of a problem and were itchy and more red. I called Shared Solutions - they recommended heat before and heat afterward to help alleviate the symptoms and also keeping a log of my depth of injection with respect to body part to help determine optimal depth. I started out using 6 mm all over regardless of area, but now have switched it up a bit, particularly on those thighs (thought I had fat thighs, but I guess there is some muscle in there, eh? )
After 1.5 months of trial and error, I've determined for me that heat is worse than nothing - so I eliminated that. I also realized that deeper can actually be better - I use a 7 on my abs (yeah, I've got a little extra there), a 6 on my hips, and I rotate between those areas exclusively, since my thighs were not handling the shots well. I feel around the areas and make sure there's no lumpy spot from a prior injection closer than 2 inches from the site I'm going to inject at. That might seem obvious, but when the Shared Solutions nurse mentioned it, I took note and it sure makes sense.
I haven't tried icing the area before or after, mainly because I have the bee sting pain for about 5-10 minutes and then I forget about it. The welt stays warm to the touch for about 2-3 days, and may or may not get itchy, but not severely so.
So glad I found this forum - it seems like a great resource for me. Hope everyone is having a super Saturday night - I just took my Avonex shot about 2 hours ago with my Ibuprofen, and hoping for a calm aftermath. Between the two medications, Avonex is the one that kicked my butt. Pretty much what you've read from others - not as severe as some, certainly. I find that if I stick religiously to the every 7 day schedule (not 8 or 9 to accomodate a summer trip (bad idea)) then I really have very minimal symptoms that are easily handled with Ibuprofen. I'm going to post and see if others have the Avonex schedule issue as well (bad things when they deviate from the 7).