Chauncey, I’ll disagree with others who say it’s “only a one or two”. I’ll call it a “three”, which is noticeably more than my fingerpokes (which I’ll call “2”). I’ll also call Minimed a “seven or eight”, meaning MORE THAN TWICE as bad.
But I have an important hint for you: My fingerpokes are probably much, much less painful than yours. And that’s what the rest of this GIGANTIC post is all about: Less pain on finger-stick tests.
Nearly all of the the lancets which claim to be “thin”, or “soft”, are actually like driving railroad spikes into yourself! (I’m talking about the long screw-like nails used to hold the rail to the wooden ties, and yes, they’re more than an inch wide. That’s why moves about the “old west” always show big, strong “railroad workers” using gigantic sledge hammers to drive them in. In a long ago summer job, I made the things, and also counted them into packing boxes.)
The One-Touch “Ultra-Soft”, for example, are 28 gauge. That’s huge, you want a higher number than that. (Higher gauge == less diameter.) Buy and use only #33. The other ones are killers!. A box costs about $10, so just pay cash. (Don’t fight with insurance about pennies and nickels, fight 'em on the big stuff.) Here’s a some lancet sizes, for reference.
BD Micro-fine+ lancets are available as 30G and 33G. Buy BD Micro-fine 33 gauge only.
Microlet: both the grey/white and colored are 25G
Softclix is 28G
FinePoint is 25G
Abbott Thin 28G
Accu-chek fastclix 30G
Reli-On “Thin” 26G
Reli-On “Ultra Thin” 30G
AFAIK, no one else makes a lancet at 33G, except for WaveSense; and the WaveSense lancets come in an 8-sided shape, rather than a cylinder – so they don’t fit other brands of “Shooters”. TSome Internet reviews complain that the Wave-Sense lancet “Shooter” gives unreliable results (in depth of the lancet), so it’s porbably a bad choice. I use my 33G BD “Ultrafine” lancets with the smallest of the Abbott “Freestyle” Shooters, it makes for a really tiny combination. My meter is One-Touch Ultra “mini”. (In metallic blue; very small and fashionable :)) The Abbott Shooter is nice, even though their lancets hurt too much.
Sides of the fingers (never the pads); well away from nails “on top”, but not so far down as to get into sensitive “pad” tissue. About halfway between Knuckle line and end of the finger (there’s a quarter inch of target area on either side of this halfway point.) I never “Shoot” an index finger, only the other three, so I’ve got 6 areas to use. The got over-used and sore when I was doing 15-20x per day; but now that I’m nearly always doing just 3-6 pokes, they’re always feeling pretty good.
Get off those “arm sites”, the numbers aren’t accurate. And anyway: After you’ve tried a better lancet on the “side-of-finger” sites, you’ll probably find the need to “squash” the Shooter into your arm (for quite a long time, too) to be a lot WORSE than the finger-pokes! (I did.)
Are you using the wrong parts of your fingers, or using a “railroad spike” lancet, or both? (Please do reply.) But anyway, when you switch from those “28G” lancets to B-D’s “33G” lancets, you won’t believe the difference. And Dexcom isn’t too bad either, after you’ve had enough “practice” to handle them smoothly.
For Dexcom, I think that smoothness beats speed. (Although I’m also quite fast at doing the both the “Push” and the “Pull”.)The most important thing is that the cylinder of the Dexcom shooter, and and the the permanent base platform for holding the Transmitter, , remain totally motionless in relation to your skin while you push the ring down and pull it back up. (AND when you squeeze the clips to remove the whole shooter assembly right afterward.) You’ll need to hold it firmly with your other hind, to keep it stable.