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Flu Guide

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
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
EmpowHER Guest

I posted on this site Nov. 24, 2014 having the same problems. I finally couldn't take it anymore and got an MRI. They have found a torn tendon and bursitis. I have to have Physical therapy and then go back to Orthapedic. If it doesn't improve, I will need surgery. The shot was given too high and in my tendon. They have also found a frayed rotator cuff and spurs. Not sure if those are related to the injection, but the torn tendon and bursitis definable are from it. If you are having this, get an MRI!
Jenee L.

January 28, 2014 - 5:48pm
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