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  #1  
Old 05-07-2011, 02:24
butterfli butterfli is offline
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Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Swim has read quite a bit about hitting an artery or nerve but was wondering if SWIanyone knew the specific difference between the two.

Years ago, swim went to shoot heroin in what she thought was a vein she had never hit before. It was probably about 1/3 of the way down between the crook of her elbow and her wrist (closer to the elbow). She doesn't remember the color of the blood from the hit to be any lighter in color, although it was a a"strong hit," so, perhaps, the pressure could have been a bit stronger than usual.

Swim could barely even press the plunger down the tiniest amount when it felt as if scalding hot water was shooting down her arm. It was kinda an electric, nervey pain. There was also a sensation of liquid dripping down her arm. She thought she was gonna look down to see her arm covered in blood. But it wasn't. There were, however, raised blothes along her arm, almost as if something was "dripping" on the inside. Her hand and fingers immediately started swelling really bad. She iced it mainly, and, luckily, the swelling started to go down in a few hours. It probably took about 24 hours to get back to normal.

Swim's question is: what happened? And how can one tell if he/she hit an artery or a nerve? What is the difference in terms of symptoms, etc? Thanks for shedding light on this for swim!

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A very good question to ask, everyone who shoots heroin should know this.
  #2  
Old 05-07-2011, 03:56
m.swinehart81 m.swinehart81 is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

The difference between a vein and an artery is that a vein carries blood back to the heart and an artery caries blood from the heart to your extremities. In order for heroin to give you the rush your looking for it needs to get to the heart. Also arteries will have alot of pressure behind them, the blood will be pink and frothy as well. This blood is oxygenated which is the reason for this. The reason you had a hard time pushing the needle in is because of the pressure from the heart pumping out the blood rather than the blood just flowing where its supposed to.

As to why the swelling happens.... Arteries have pain receptors which makes it incredibly painful. Also arteries supply blood to your body so any particulate matter in the shot flows until it hits a vessel too small for it. This vessel gets clogged and the back-presure causes extreme swelling. The lack of blood to anything beyond the blockage can cause the tissue to die leading to gangrene

As for hitting a nerve. You hit a nerve and you will know it right away cuz its gonna hurt like a bitch! lol

Hope I was able to help a lil with your questions
  #3  
Old 05-07-2011, 12:17
Solinari Solinari is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

I think she is well aware what the difference between an artery and a vein is.

This sounds like an arterial hit. Even the slightest drop in to an artery and it is very painful and it will shoot right down the arm and swell that hand up just like a balloon, happens in the foot too if someone happens to hit the femoral which is extremely painful by all accounts (and leg losing material).

Those raised blotches along the arm are also a sign that an artery was hit, the blood is taken to the all the tissues throughout the arm (downstream mostly of the injection site) and it's basically an allergic reaction which causes hives to appear.

Hitting a nerve on the other hand as m.swinehart81 suggested, is going to be extremely painful. As soon as the needle touches it or even nicks it just the slightest amount and it will be very painful. There would be no blood return from a nerve and you can't really inject in to a nerve, it would take your arm off.
  #4  
Old 05-07-2011, 17:15
butterfli butterfli is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Thanks very much for the info. Does SWIanyone know the best way to avoid nerves? Or where exactly they are found most (location, how deep, etc.)?

Swim was wondering particularly with respect to skin popping in the upper arm/shoulder area. She has never had any problems (knock on wood), but it's a scary thought, nonetheless.

As always, thanks!
  #5  
Old 05-07-2011, 17:50
m.swinehart81 m.swinehart81 is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

You can find charts of the nerves in the body if you google it. I wouldnt worry too much if swiy is just skin popping. Swim would recommend Im'ing over skin popping though.... Just his opinion. Any reason swiy is skin popping rather than another ROA?
  #6  
Old 05-07-2011, 19:48
butterfli butterfli is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Hey, SWI'm.swinehart81. It's funny because, the more swim thinks about it, she's starting to wonder whether her ROA would be considered IM'ing or skin popping. She would inject into the same area that a doctor does when one gets a vaccination (upper arm/side of shoulder area). This area isn't really completely "fleshy," but, then again, it's not directly into the bicep or leg muscle or something like that, either. Would this technically be considered IM or skin popping?


Also, how would you compare IM versus skin popping in terms of effects, etc?


Swim basically started skin popping after a bad IV experience which she can now identify as hitting an artery, most likely. At the time, she wasn't sure what happened, and it scared her to death! Also, she was at the point where she realized it was only a matter of time before she simply wasn't going to be able to hit a vein, anymore. As it was, it was getting harder and harder, so, after hitting her artery, she tried skin popping and continued using this way for 6 1/2 years (compared to 2 1/2 years IV). Swim didn't miss the IV rush all that much because, by that time, her tolerance was quite high, so she wasn't getting that rush much with IV, anyway...


Swim didn't really care for snorting, as she tended to need larger amounts at one time (say, 5-7 bags). So snorting didn't really work for her. Also, she always hated the taste/feeling of the "drain" where it's dripping down swiy's throat. Swim was using H4 dope, so smoking wasn't really an option, either. Swim has read a good amount on the forum about "plugging" (anal administration) but never actually knew anyone who has taken heroin this way. It never really occurred to her to do it that way. Does swiy have any experience with plugging?
  #7  
Old 05-07-2011, 20:45
m.swinehart81 m.swinehart81 is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Skin popping is when you inject a substance (usually heroin obviously) under the skin. There will be a small bubble that will pop up and the drugs will seep into muscle and tissue over time. You dont get a rush but the effects last a lot longer.
IM'ing is similar in feeling but you do get a little more of a "rush" when you do it and it lasts longer than IV as well. In order to IM you just need to insert the needle all the way in. Swim usually goes in his butt. If you were to cut your butt into four pieces you would want to choose the outer top section of which ever side is easiest for you. Feel for the muscle, push the needle all the way in, and inject slowly. A lot of people say this hurts but in my opinion it hurts a hell of a lot less than skin popping, and if done correctly I dont think it really hurts at all....
The thigh is the next place swim would say is the best. He has never even tried his bicep because they are exposed too much and it does leave lumps and noticeable marks.
Both of the ROA's can cause infection and abscess but swim has be IM'ing for probably 7 years off and on due to destroying his veins early in his heroin career and has never experienced anything other than spots he hits often turning hard. Those will eventually go away though.
He will find a vein every now and then and hit it and he is happy with that little treat that happens once in a blue moon. lol

If you happen to have any more questions you are always welcome to send me a message on here as well. I will shoot you a friend request.
  #8  
Old 06-07-2011, 11:09
Solinari Solinari is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

What you describe as a doctor giving a vaccination in to the upper arm would be intramuscular, at least i would expect it is IM rather than SC since SC is just a millimetre or two below the skin and the needle isn't supposed to be inserted perpendicular to the skin.

Both are a bad idea anyway when it comes to illicit drugs. Anything other than a sterile pharmaceutical made for injection preparation carries a high risk of infection when injected below the skin or in to a muscle. It allows any bacteria or potentially dangerous pathogens (but usually bacteria) to take hold where as an intravenous injection is distributed throughout directly in the blood stream where any pathogens can be neutralised much more quickly.

If someone is playing with needles and taking the risk associated with needles then they may as well get the full benefit. Otherwise i suggest looking in to "plugging" which would probably be safer than SC/IM but also more powerful. That being said i really do not know about the risks associated with plugging an illicit preparation, i suspect however that it wouldn't be as dangerous as putting it in to the soft tissues.

If the IM/SC injections continue the question will not be if, but when a serious infection will occur, it is inevitable.

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Good harm reduction post, it isn't a good idea to inject anything that is less than pure into your body.
  #9  
Old 06-07-2011, 13:49
m.swinehart81 m.swinehart81 is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

I do agree with the plugging. Swim has never done this but hears good things about it. He just has a phobia of putting something up his ass! haha

Like solinari said, both SC and IM are dangerous due to infection. Swim has been IM'ing heroin for a very long time with no issues. Not trying to downplay the seriousness of the issue in any way but I really think that if your works are clean and you swab off the area with alcohol your chances of infection are much lower. Swim has never had an infection or abscess except once and that was from an IV shot in his upper forearm.
If you are comfortable with plugging though I would definitely give it a try. Sorry I forgot to touch on that subject in my last post...
  #10  
Old 06-07-2011, 23:44
butterfli butterfli is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Swim doesn't know much about plugging, but can it be done regularly (say, 2 times a day)? There isn't a high risk of infection due to the fact that the anus/rectum area has lot of bacteria in it? Swim would be a little nervous putting a less than sterile solution into a bacteria ridden area. But, as mentioned, there are risks involved with all ROAs...
  #11  
Old 07-07-2011, 12:10
Solinari Solinari is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

I suspect there isn't a high risk of "plugging" a less than sterile solution because it is, as you already said, a bacteria ridden area. I think that's the very reason why it would be safer than sticking it in to soft tissues where there should be very little bacteria, at least bad bacteria.

I would expect, but i don't know, that many of the bacteria would have a hard time crossing the lining to the blood stream where the drug is rapidly absorbed so would remain in the colon but i have no idea if this is the case it's just a pure guess and even if it isn't, it's in the blood stream where it would be rapidly distributed so it isn't sitting in one place for long enough for any infection to take hold. It's not a nice thing to think or talk about, it's a rather taboo subject even among IV drug users, especially other IV users that we know in real life, they would look at you as if you were a weirdo (or gay if you're a dude). But it is a very efficient method of administrating a drug, in fact the speed of onset is so rapid that it is given to people who suffer from seizures, rectal diazepam one of the brand name is Stesolid.

I seriously hope we are dealing with white H4 here and not black tar because if it's black tar PLEASE do not SC or IM that shit, it's nasty stuff to put in a vein let alone in the soft tissue. If it's somehow brown H3 that requires an acid (which i doubt cause it would burn like a mother fucker) then i'd dilute it as much as possible when "plugging" but i doubt that's going to be the case.

Personally, if i were in your place (not that i have EVER used illicit drugs of course) i would simply stick it in a vein since we are already playing with needles. Just do what ever can be done to become proficient at injecting in to a vein. My fiend is a long term IV drug user, (7 or 8 years on and off, 2 or 3 heavy use) and his veins are in remarkably good condition (not that he is proud of it but secretly is) and he has to use brown heroin 3 which requires an acid. Almost every single long term IV user my fiend knows has great difficulty finding a vein and that is mainly due to using FAR too much acid but also bad technique.

I would suggest going to somewhere that you can discuss there things openly, not your doctor unless they already know because they will put that in your medical notes but somewhere like a harm reduction service or something like that. Even a needle exchange out side a pharmacy.

Good technique, good vein care and rotation of sites should allow you to keep the veins in good condition.

Last edited by Solinari; 07-07-2011 at 12:15.
  #12  
Old 09-07-2011, 03:36
butterfli butterfli is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

Thanks for the info, SWI'Solinari. That makes sense about plugging as far as it possibly being safer because it is a bacteria ridden area. Yes, plugging does seem to be a very taboo subject. Swim has never known anyone to do it, but it definitely does seem to have its advantages. But one wouldn't have to use the bathroom afterward and risk losing the solution-- almost in the same way as an enema works? Perhaps, not, since it is not a lot of liquid?

Swim did initially use IV, but it's that point when swiy simply can't find a vein, anymore, that alternate ROA's became an issue for her. She would be too scared to IV in high risk places.. Also, swim can now see that her veins could have been preserved much longer had she used better technique early on and maintained a more sterile environment. As a new user, unfortunately, swiy isnt always aware of these things.

P.S. Yes, swim was referring to H4.
  #13  
Old 09-07-2011, 23:49
Naked Lunch Naked Lunch is offline
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Re: Difference Between Hitting an Artery and a Nerve

If you do plug it just don't stand up immediately or some can leak out (not with a few units of smack - but if you have like 5-10mls of pills its a different story)....not common but why risk it with such precious stuff!?!?!?! You are best to lay on your belly and do it. It don't hurt, it's just like a thermometer really. And as far as I know it is a safe form of administration that wastes basically nothing. The ass readily absorbs watery substances introduced to it.

Best thing about it, it doesn't leave track marks. Swims done it a few times and it is not dis-pleasurable in the least.

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difference between injecting into an artery or a nerve, drugs forum, heroin, how to iv heroin, intravenous injection, skin popping, swelling at injection site

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