G4 sensor insertion pain?

One quick question first:

Does anyone else have to press the middle Select button on your G4 a couple times before it will respond?
Sometimes it'll turn on with one press, but most of the time I have to press it twice.
No big deal, but I always wanted to ask if that was normal as I never felt like wanted to replace my receiver since my G4 is working so well!

Main question:

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to minimize the pain when inserting your G4 sensor?

The first time I inserted it at the doctor's office I was very nervous, but it didn't hurt at all.
Second time I did it at home, no problem.
Third time I did it at home in front of my wife and it felt like I got stabbed in the stomach (by the sensor, not my wife!). It hurt for a couple days and then was fine (and lasted 2 weeks no problem).
Fourth time was painless again.
But a couple days ago I did it again in front of my wife and dad who was in town and it hurt like crazy, just bending over to tie my shoes for the next couple days was horrible!

I always insert them around my belly button, as I'm a pretty skinny guy and my gut is the only area I have for my insulin injections.

My dad suggested that I try inserting them lying down next time, and that I was just too tense so my muscles were tight... does anyone here have special tricks when the insert? I figure I should just stop inserting in front of my family members!


Hi there,

is it possible that you hit a muscle while inserting the sensor? Have you tried your upper arm?
If I were you, I would insert the sensor in private, so you are less tensed.. Good luck!

I never have to press the select button more than once. I think you should call Dexcom and get a replacement, because something isn't working right.

As far as pain, you're probably hitting either a blood vessel, or muscle. Why don't you try pinching up when you insert the needle, and keeping it pinched until you withdraw the needle. That way, you know it isn't muscle you're hitting. There is still the possibility of hitting a blood vessel, and there's nothing you can do about that, so far as I know, because you can't see the blood vessels when you tape down the inserter. So I think that's just one of the risks you take.

Also, the fact that it hurt when you bent over to tie your shoes sounds like muscle instead of blood vessel to me, because blood vessel pain goes away quickly.

Keep on truckin' dude! :-)

Hi Bort,

Nope, we are all sh** out of luck on the start up delay with the home button. One of my favorite bloggers writes about it toward the end of this page (Friday, November 02 entry):


As far as the pain, avoid anywhere on your belly directly vertcle of the belly button (above or below)… I rotate 3-6 inches from the belly button top/left, bottom/right, top/right, bottom left. Some people pinch, but at the end of the day, I would say 1 out of 5 of mine hit a nerve more than others and hurt a bit more.

Good luck! I know a lot of other members have a bunch of other. I just usually have a couple of whiskeys on the rocks for mine :wink:

Thank you for the advice, everyone!

I will stop inserting for an audience (without having a 'donations hat' in front of me ;-) to try to relax any potential muscle I might hit!

TrueTheory, thanks for the link... I'll try to wait 3 seconds next time I press it (to see if it's just the delay for the color screen as the blogpost explains), and I'll see how whiskey affects my blood sugars for my next insertion ;-)

I almost never have pain with the G4, the system 7 however, was another story. I used to have lots of pain with it.

I am fortunate (?) enough to have plenty of padding in the abdomen, so there is almost no chance of my hitting muscle! I insert more to the side, about 6" from the belly button. The only problem I have wearing the sensor and transmitter is if I put them too high and they rub the bottom edge of my ribs - then I get some discomfort.

I seem to remember some power up delay mentioned in some materials. If i double click, it often ends up in the menu vs the graph, so it seems to be registering the extra pressing. Patience is a virtue.

As for the pain. I go from intense to not feeling it. I had some extended pains which I have attributed to glancing the muscle (which also made for a few interesting readings while exercising). I talked to a rep and they said to always pinch up, but more interestingly, consider leaning the inserter back slightly to insert at a shallower angle.

Also I found a bit of fat on my back (around where your thumbs are when your hands are on your hips). Its out of the way and seems to work good enough for me if you are looking to mix things up.

For what it is worth.

In terms of my center button, it turns out it was faulty so Dexcom sent me out a new receiver, and the button even fell off over the weekend:

But I got the new receiver today and the button seems very responsive (of course with some patience at startup :-)

Thanks again to everyone for the advice, one quick question about pinching up:

My Dexcom rep also suggestion leaning the inserter back so that the needle wouldn't dive in so deep, but didn't mention anything about pinching up (or how to do that).

Just before inserting the needle do you simply pinch above and below the sensor?

I'm pretty rusty on pitching since I started using Nano needles for my insulin pens after my first couple weeks of painful injections (there is no pinching with Nanos).

HI! I numb it up with ice each time. It seems to help....I've had a couple of painful insertions and this has helped alot...Just make sure the skin is dry before inserting so the tape will stick.

The pain issue is very simple in my experience. There are pain sensors in the skin which seem to be randomly distributed. Basically the painful vs. pain-free experience depends entirely on your luck - do you hit one of those areas or not with the needle. For me there is no way to figure this out in advance. The exact same phenomenon happens when injecting insulin - some places hurt like hell while others are totally pain free. Since the insulin needle is much skinnier, the pain is usually less compared to Dexcom introducer which is much thicker.
Also with an insulin injection if i feel that the site is painful after the first 1-2 mm, I remove the needle before entering full depth and try injecting in another site. This is not possible with the Dexcom sensor which is already fully glued to the skin by the time the needle penetrates the skin.

Pain has nothing to do with muscles in my experience. The pain usually starts right away within the first few millimeters after the needle enters the skin, way before there is any chance of it hitting a muscle. In my experience blood vessels seem to also contain pain sensors but there is no way to tell beforehand whether you'll hit one of those small vessels while inserting the needle for insulin or introducer for dexcom.