If you’ve read No Pain No Gain? or The 0-10 Tweakments Pain Scale, here’s another thought: the unexpected things that make tweaks hurt. I know from experience as well as from scholarly articles online that pain is subjective and that what feels like nothing at one appointment can hurt like anything at another time, and knowing these factors can help prepare for less discomfort.
Being aware of how we’re feeling mentally and physically and setting up a relaxed environment can make a big difference in how much something may hurt. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about the things that can make treatments more uncomfortable.
If you’re short on good-quality sleep, your pain threshold falls, and fatigue may even intensify the pain that you do feel. Pack in the zz’s for a more comfortable experience
If you are stressed
You might think that logically, if you’re stressed and your body is in fight-or-flight mode and you’re flooded with cortisol and adrenaline, you wouldn’t notice pain. But, stress affects the body’s ability to modulate pain and it can absolutely go the other way, making you feel pain more acutely.
It’s absolutely normal to feel anxiety before a procedure, especially if its something you haven’t tried before. Even after all these years I still wonder, ‘Is this the one that will leave me wearing a paper bag on my head for the rest of my days?’ Every time. So it’s normal but it’s unfortunate because that anxiety can make you feel discomfort more acutely.
Having had a drink or three the night before
From a medical point of view, alcohol dilates the blood vessels so you’re more likely to bruise if you’re having injections. If you’re having PRP, you will find your practitioner won’t treat you if you’ve had a drink the night before. That’s because your blood won’t be tip-top quality, so you won’t get the regenerative effect from your plasma that you’re looking for. I know we all think of alcohol as having an anaesthetising effect, but the morning after, if you’re feeling a bit scratchy and tetchy, I can tell you any tweakment will be more uncomfortable, too.
The week before your period starts
You know how every aspect of your whole self feels more sensitive at that time of month? Do yourself a favour and check your cycle before booking in for treatment.
When it’s the first time
That includes the first time having a tweakment, any tweakment; and the first time seeing a new practitioner… it all adds to your anxiety levels (see above). And yes, I still get this, even when I know what I’m about to have done and why, and trust the practitioner.
When they start on the left side
You wouldn’t think it made a difference, but it’s a well-known fact in tweakment circles that the left side hurts more than the right. As a result, 90% of practitioners will start on the right. The other 10%? They may be under the misapprehension that it’s better to get the worst bit over first. Or they have a sadistic streak.
Not understanding what’s going on
If you haven’t had the procedure and all its steps explained properly, you might be taken aback when your practitioner produces a massively long needle (a cannula), or you can see and smell plumes of burning-keratin-smoke rising from your face as your skin is lasered to bits. See anxiety, above.
Scary or aloof practitioner
If a practitioner doesn’t put you at ease beforehand or goes silent as they start the treatment… it can’t just be me who finds that disconcerting. I find my anxiety levels start rising, wondering what’s coming and when, and what it’s going to feel like and whether they actually know the steps of this procedure as well as they claim. I far prefer to be talked through the procedure, at least at the start. It’s far nicer to hear: ‘Take a deep breath, small sharp scratch coming up, exhale, well done…’ and so on, rather than suddenly find there’s a needle in your face.
They tell you it’s going to hurt
One exception to the above is when your practitioner themselves takes a deep breath and says, ‘Ok this bit is going to be rough and ready…’ Even when I’m well dosed-up on numbing cream, that is not something I welcome hearing, because then I tense up in anticipation of something truly dreadful.
And the way round all this: my article, Pain-free tweaks: here’s how
As you can tell, your anxiety levels can really affect how painful your tweakment experience is. To find a recommended practitioner near you, who can help put you at ease, search our practitioner guide.
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