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Is it normal for my arm muscle in my shoulder to hurt 2 weeks after flu shot?

By Free2Bme December 7, 2008 - 7:32am
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I was happy to receive the flu shot this year, as I feel like it's "doing my part" to stop the spread of the influenza virus. Plus, any inoculation that can either prevent, or lessen the symptoms, of flu is motivation to me!

I've received the flu shot annually, for the past 10 years. I have the typical soreness at site, possibly a little tired that evening. But that's it.

This year...my shoulder muscle (at the site of the injection) is still painful, so much that I can't move my arm forward at shoulder-level, or lift my arm up over my head, without a sharp pain in that one muscle. If my arm is still, it does not hurt. It is affecting my sleep, as I am confined to sleeping on only my right side (it is my left arm that hurts).

Are there any other reports of this flu shot symptom? Did I just not move my arm enough after the shot (kind of "favored it"), or is there something else wrong??

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EmpowHER Guest

To everyone who is having severe (much more than usual) pain in their arm that started within +/-24 hours after their shot for a vaccine and who continue to have pain weeks later, please see a physician. If with MRI or other imaging study, you have bone edema and/or a partial tear in the rotator cuff, it is possible that the provider administering the shot placed it too high and missed the deltoid muscle. You are not a hypochondriac. This condition has a name --- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) and has been recognized by the Institutes of Medicine. Please see the following journal article by Atanasoff et al:
"Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA)," Vaccine, Volume 28, Issue 51, Pages 8049-8052, S. Atanasoff, T. Ryan, R. Lightfoot, R. Johann-Liang
If your condition continues longer than 6 months, you may be able to receive compensation for your actual and anticipated future medical care costs, any lost wages due to the injury, and payment for pain and suffering from the US Federal Court of Claims (the Federal Vaccine Court). Please speak with a vaccine attorney approved by the court. Check out the following link to the court: http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/vaccine-programoffice-special-masters
At that court's website, there is info about filing a claim and a list of approved attorneys. I hired Maglio, Christopher and Toale and was extremely pleased with the professional manner in which they handled my claim to the court.
Good luck to all......do not let your physicians tell you you are imagining that the injury is due to the shot. They just don't see this often enough to know about the research and the courts recognition of this terrible injury.

March 21, 2016 - 9:18am
EmpowHER Guest

Received the flu shot second week in January 2016, Left arm was sore than after that still have tingling and pain in the arm. Do not want to get it anymore

March 20, 2016 - 3:47pm
EmpowHER Guest

Yes, me too It's been exactly 4 weeks and 5 days since my flu shot in my upper arm and I am aware of soreness still especially at night and when I arise out of bed. My Mom said it was because of the preservative that is mixed with the vaccination. It is the same preservative used for tetanus shots and my Dad had a horrible reaction with both shots. A few years ago he was partially paralyzed and required a cortisone shot to counteract effects. While I am glad not to get the flu this Christmas, I wonder if this annoying discomfort is worth it and when will it go away?

December 27, 2015 - 6:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Update, my arm does not hurt any longer. The pain went away after 2.5 months. Recently, my entire workplace became ill with the flu virus while I arrived to work each day, unscathed. Now I am weighing the pros & cons for next flu season!

March 21, 2016 - 10:21am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello, wanted to update everyone on what has been going one with my arm. It has been 13 months since my flu shot and I am now 11 post op for shoulder decompression and acromioplasty. I was told that the flu shot caused bursitis and for whatever reason nothing helped to get the inflammation go away. I tried physical therapy and numerous medicines and treatments but nothing would work. I was able to get a second opinion from an orthopedist who told me my only other option was to do surgery to see if it would help and I reluctantly agreed. I felt reassured when going into surgery when one of the girls in anesthesia said she had been suffering from the same pain for a year and had been told that surgery was her only option at this point as well. I am not going to lie, for several days after surgery I regretted that I went through with it and was worried that I had made a mistake but Sunday I woke up and the pain was almost non-existent. I know I still have a long way to go to get back to where I was a year ago, but at this point I feel like at least I am back on track!

October 20, 2015 - 5:36pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am having all of the same symptoms that everyone else is! I was trying to decide if I needed to get into my doctor because I started to wonder if I had a blood clot in my upper arm. It seemed unlikely that it would be from the flu shot, since it's been 11 days since the shot now and I'm still hurting. Luckily I started to research it online, in the form of flu shot complications, instead of possible blood clot symptoms--and I came across this forum, which at least helps me to feel like I'm not crazy or a hypochondriac. What a pain to deal with though! It is effecting my sleep every night, and bothersome pretty much all day long too.

October 20, 2015 - 8:07am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I also had pain at the time of injection. It went in very slowly, compared to the normal, very quick poke of the needle. My kids had theirs a few days later, and it was a half of a second to inject theirs and it confirmed to me that my injection was not normal. I told the nurse it hurt, and she said she administered it very slow because the serum was cold. Now I'm wondering if she injected it too high up in my arm (almost to my shoulder), and it that caused whatever I am experiencing now.

October 20, 2015 - 8:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I just had the shot today it is normal for the nurses to put closer to the shoulder or even in the shoulder. It shouldn't have taken as long as it did. It could also be from not moving as much as you should have after the shot.

January 6, 2016 - 11:00pm
EmpowHER Guest

Last October a nursing student gave me a flu shot too high up on my shoulder. I had intense shoulder pain, so I saw my primary care physician in November. He told me to see an orthopedist to get it checked out. When I saw the orthopedist in December, he said I had bursitis (inflammation) that could take 6 months to 1 year to fully go away. He said that Advil and "taking it easy" was all I could do. However, this past June, I decided to get another opinion because I still had pain. I saw a sports medicine doctor who fortunately ultrasounded my shoulder and found a large partial rotator cuff tear in my infraspinatus muscle. The doctor was shocked, as was I. I received an MRI, that confirmed the rotator cuff tear diagnosis. Apparently, because the flu vaccine was likely injected into my "acromioclavicular joint" instead of my deltoid muscle, my body experienced an immune-mediated reaction to the components of the vaccine. Research studies have shown that this is a possible side effect of the flu vaccine. As a result, I now have to live with this rotator cuff tear for the rest of my life. I deal with pain on a daily basis. Once my "partial tear" turns into a "full-thickness tear", I will have to have rotator cuff repair arthroscopic surgery. The surgery involves placing screwing screws into my bone in order to re-attach the infraspinatus tendon (a serious surgery with a 6-month recovery process). Apparently, rotator cuff tears of this nature are rare in my age group (I'm only 21 years old). So my situation is clearly the worst case scenario. If I only would have known about this potential consequence from receiving a flu shot too high in my shoulder, I would have never let a nursing student give me the shot.

October 12, 2015 - 6:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

I also used to get my flu shot every year (for at least 10 years in a row) with no issues or even soreness until Oct 2014 when I got my last flu shot. After the shot was administered in my arm; note the shot seemed to be given higher then the usual place, I also I couldn't move my arm at all for weeks. I could barely get dressed or sleep on that side. It took 5-6 months for this pain to go away completely and it went away very slowly & I still dont know what exactly caused the pain. Was it the flu vaccine itself or the way it was administered? I did report this on the CDC website and I encourage everyone to do the same if you feel you have been injured. I am not sure what is going on with all these injuries from the flu vaccine but I will never get another flu shot again!! I did go to my Primary Doctor and a Neurologist and there was nothing they could do other than tell me to wait a few months for the pain to go away, luckily for me it did. Good luck to you all that are experiencing this.

October 12, 2015 - 9:24am
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