"Does It Hurt?": Pain Management and Why You're Going To Be Totally Fine
"Does it hurt?"
You want the truth? Short answer: Yes, of course getting a piercing hurts. Sitting for a piercing will rarely be comfortable. Then again, a paper-cut is bearable isn’t it? When was the last time you screamed in pain after bumping into a thorny bush?
Pain is a signal, a warning sent from your nerves to your brain to let you know that something is wrong. Your body is drawing attention to a wound with pain, so that us humans can be cautious of the area, so we know that we need to take care of it to prevent infection and unnecessary scarring. The same goes for getting a piercing. As far as instincts go, us humans respond to pain with not only discomfort, but fear. Think back on whenever you’ve gotten a cut, a nick, or a burn. Our first thoughts are always “Dang. Now I gotta clean that and find a bandage.”
The difference between an accidental abrasion on the skin and a piercing is that a piercing is controlled. A safe piercing will be done in clean environment with sterilized tools, and your piercer will be wearing gloves, hopefully sterile gloves! Infection is already heavily decreased by these conditions, and proper aftercare will continue to prevent infection during the healing process.
Another thing to remember about getting a piercing is that single-use hollow needles are sharp. I know this sounds scary but the sharper the needle, the less it’s going to hurt. The sharpness causes far less trauma to the tissue, which means your body will not register that pinch you feel during a piercing as a serious threat. Regardless, if you’re like me, and don’t have the best pain tolerance but love being adorned with piercings, here’s some tips to make yourself as comfortable as possible and hopefully provide some piercing pain relief:
Your piercer will help instruct you with this, but I find that focusing on my breath when getting a piercing is a great way to provide some piercing pain relief. If you’ve been pierced before, you’ve heard the little speech: “I’m going to line everything up, then I’m going to have you take a deep breath, and I’ll pierce you on the exhale.” For me, it usually goes like this: breathe in, hold for just about a half of a second, breathe out, and relax. I find if I’m slightly more nervous for a piercing than normal, my breath is my greatest source of piercing pain relief. Deep breaths slow everything down. So take that deep breath and let it go, and with it any pain you feel from the piercing will be lessened.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE GOING TO BE FINE
Understand that your body is subconsciously keeping you safe and trying to protect you. That’s pretty awesome. Once you’ve noted this to yourself, it becomes far easier to manage the pain. Sure, getting a piercing hurts, but are you in danger? The answer is no, you’re not, you’re safe and your piercer cares for your well-being, they aren’t trying to hurt you.
YOUR PIERCER DOESN’T WANT YOU TO BE IN PAIN EITHER
I have never met a piercer whose main concern wasn’t keeping their client as comfortable as possible.
A happy client means a happy piercer. In fact, they are typically taking measures to diminish the pain for you as much as they can and keep you as comfortable as possible. A client who is squirming around from pain and fear is going to make a piercers life incredibly difficult.
SOME OTHER TIPS AND TRICKS
• I’ve found that for most people, looking at the needle is going to scare you a lot more than the idea of getting pierced with it. Most people see a sharp needle and think “Oh, man… that’s gonna hurt going in.” If you’re one of these people, just don’t look. Close your eyes, keep still, listen to your piercer closely so you can do as they tell you, and keep your mind on relaxing your body and breathing deeply.
• Remind yourself: “My body is trying to tell me that I’m in danger, but I’m not in danger. So there’s nothing to worry about.”
• Make sure that you’ve eaten and had some water before your piercing appointment. This will help to keep any light-headedness from occurring.
• Afterwards, congratulate yourself. You just got a piercing. That’s hardcore. You’re awesome.