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Alison Beaver

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

By Free2Bme
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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

I'm an RN and I received my flu shot late in October 2013,I wanted to die that night. The pain was unbearable and 6 months later my arm still hurts! I wake up everyday with stiffness, numbness, tingling in the arm. NSAIDs help a little but nothing has really made a huge impact. I went to an orthopedic that sent me to have an MRI, only to tell me that theirs nothing wrong with me and that I am possibly in the early stages of a frozen shoulder. I have been seeing a chiropractic weekly and doing therapy, it helps for a couple of hours sometimes almost a full day. I am going to see my PCP and hopefully get a referral for a neurologist as I feel that I have suffered nerve damage. Reading these posts and doing more research I am glad to know that I am not alone with this and it does sound very probable to me that the damage is either from the needle or the actual vaccination.

April 16, 2014 - 3:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)


May 19, 2014 - 6:26pm
Victoria Winbery Loveday (reply to Anonymous)

It has been 4.5 years since my last and final flu shot. The nerve damage that the vaccine caused me has been permanent. I hope that you find some relief. It does improve with time, but nothing restores it..at least not that I have experienced. Lyrica helps with the pain..something to look in to. I am sure that every injury is different as every person is different. I urge you to follow the link as it is very old now and file a report with the NVICP. Good luck!

April 16, 2014 - 3:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had my (mandatory) flu shot at the hospital where I work the first week of October given by an RN. It is now the middle of February and my arm still aches. I, like several other poster cannot lift my arm up past shoulder level or it really hurts. Even reaching for something on the desk that is a little behind me also creates pain. Can't sleep on my left side. This is the first flu shot I've had since 2000 and I really didn't want to get it but had to in order to keep my job. The shot when it was given, hurt worse than any shot I think I've ever had. I have thin arms and I really think the needle hit the bone. I am hoping that it gets better before I have to get this year's shot. I'm afraid to get it my right arm.

February 21, 2014 - 2:09pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Sounds like you have a valid worker compensation claim.. they cannot retaliate against you for filing one.

May 28, 2014 - 6:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am so happy to find this site. I was thinking no one is going to believe me. I received my shot at my primary care physicians office in October 2013. And it hurt worse than any other flu shot I ever received at the time of injection . I think mine was given lower than should of been and possibly hit muscle or bone. My injection site is more like 4-5 fingers from my shoulder. I read it should be a 3 finger rule. Then after 2 weeks of receiving the shot and still hurting and wondering what was going on i started a little research online. Well here I am still hurting after 4 months and now it it getting worse. Like most everyone else it hurts more when laying down, hard to sleep and the pain is excruciating sometimes, and my pain threshold is high. Haven't been to doctor yet hoping it will get better with heat and my own home physical therapy along with a tens unit I have.

February 13, 2014 - 9:14pm
John900doe (reply to Anonymous)

I also am suffering injection area (right arm) pain >3 weeks after a flu shot. I only wished I'd read these post prior to getting the shot. I have a terminal illness whereby people dropped like flies in the 80's but the medications used today can make a terminal patient last 10 to 30 years longer. Anyway since our immune systems are compromised we best take flu shots. Had I known this pain would last so long or even if the odds were low I would have elected or requested that the nurse inject my left arm. Since the shot I wake up in incredible pain. I'm the type that crosses my fingers with both hands under my head when I fall asleep. I've had multiple spine surgeries and require late doses of opiates however I still feel pain from that shot. I get off track so easy. When I wake ( after taking several barbiturates, opiates, benzodazapines, neuropathy meds etc) I fall into a fairly deep sleep be it 5 or 6 hours best. UPON AWAKENING IT FEELS LIKE AN ELEPHANT HAS SAT ON THE UNDERSIDE OF MY RIGHT ARM WHILE MY HAND IS UNDER MY HEAD AND MY BODY IS FACEING UP. MY DESIRE IS TO MOVE MY ARMS AWAY FROM SUCH INTENSE PAINFUL FEELING BUT I CANT MOVE MY RIGHT ARM BUT 1 MILLIMETER EVERY 5-10 SECONDS. ITS SO STIFF AND PAINFUL ONLY PEOPLE THAT EXPERIANCE THIS KNOW TO WHAT DEGREE OF PAIN I DESCRIBE. IT TAKES ME AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES TO GET MY HAND FROM UNDER MY HEAD TO LSY IT ON MY RIGHT THIGH AREA. AFTER A HALF HOUR I CAN FINALLY MOVE IT. I FIGURED THIS WOULD GO AWAY AFTER A COUPLE OF DAY BUT SINCE NO AVAIL I FIND MYSELF ON THIS FORUM. THESE DAM NURSES NEED TO BE TRAINED TO ASK A PERSON WHICH HAND THEY WRITE WITH SND ALWAYS INJECT THE OPPOSITE SIDE. I already have neuropathy in hands and it beyond tollerable in my feet. I'm allergic to Lyrics (I go nuts/ suicidal ) but I keep a tank of helium on hand when I decide that I can no longer take it. This flu shot has caused my nuuropathy that is not all that bad to become a problem. As I write this my hand has become more numb and I will likely have trouble finishing this. I've herd people say things as it might have been their needle position and it might have hit a bone etc. I'm not a doctor but I do feel that we have some nerves that run nearer to the point where the needle does the injection but I don't think hitting bone in and of itself would make a difference. I would be more inclined to beleave that the chemical itself is an abrasive irritant to susceptible nearby nerves and some of us may be more unlucky in where and how the injection takes place. It shouldn't make any difference but I remember hearing- feeling a great amount of air bubbling at my injection point but I've herd similar sounds and type of injection that didn't bother me at all. I just feel this medication is an irritant and should it get trapped I.e. between a layer or layers of whatever path the injection may seek its possible and my example is shrude let's say the medication gets caught in some gristle like meat and possibly forms a ball of irritating liquid then maybe it could cause pain that way. Also maybe all of us do not absurd meds in the same fashion. All I know is my arm hurts throughout the day ( covered by pain killers for my back) then hits me like a ton of bricks after the pain meds have worn off and or I've stayed in a certain position several hours. Thanks for sharing your story. My girlfriend thinks this is in my head. I can't wait to show her this thread. Just because she is 60 she thinks she knows it all. Thanks so much for sharing. PS take time and register to tell us if u have a side effect. I think you might be able to post anonymously also.

September 19, 2014 - 11:11am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am very grateful to find this site also. I got my flu shot in early November, 2013 at the same place I always do every year and by the same person. However, here it is February and I am still having horrible shoulder and arm pain. It is getting worse and radiates into the back, neck and all the way down to my hand. I have fibromyalgia, so I always blame things on that, but this is just so different. Anti-inflammatories don't help and the main thing is, it wasn't like this before my flu shot! How long does this last? It sounds like I am not alone and I wish all those with the same pain a speedy recovery. My prayers are with you!

February 18, 2014 - 4:50pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I am so sorry you are in such pain. Four to five fingers down is far too low. I think the rule is two fingers down. Discuss it with the person who is administering the shot everytime you get one - discuss the placement first. 

I hope you feel better soon,


February 14, 2014 - 12:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

Sorry , I meant Nov. 24, 2013.
Jenee L.

January 28, 2014 - 5:50pm
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