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Pain in arm after flu shot

By September 16, 2009 - 8:00pm
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I had a flu shot Sept. 2008 and remember it hurt when given. Since then I have pain in my upper arm and shoulder (it's now been a year). I believe it is nerve damage from the needle going to deep. I have had an MRI. meds and now going to Chiro with no relief. I cant't put my arm behind my back or lift it over my head and forget about putting weight on it. Does anyone know of relief for this condition?


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EmpowHER Guest

Just popping in to say how relieved I was to find this thread... Have had flu shots for years with no problems. This year I had one in early November and am still feeling pain in my right arm, mostly in the forearm/elbow, but can also be in my bicep and shoulder area too. Goes from being tolerable to awful. Have tried massage therapy and basic meds but am considering going to the doctor. As an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, it is making my job increasingly difficult to do and I worry that it's getting worse instead of better.

Haven't read the whole thread yet, but a lot of it. Will continue reading tomorrow and keep you posted if I find any new info or something that helps my pain.


December 22, 2010 - 8:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I received the flu shot on August 30, 2010 by someone at the Dr.'s office who I suspect is not really skilled at administering this shot. It is now December 15th and I'm still dealing with residual pain. This website is very validating -- knowing I'm not alone in this experience. I had received my 1st flu shot last year (not at Dr.'s office - received it at a Flu Shot Clinic), which affected my arm/neck for a couple of days before dissipating altogether. This year's vaccine has wreaked havoc on my arm -- the pain is slowly, slowly diminishing -- but here I am almost 4 months later still unable to sleep on that side. I have alternated using ice, heat, self-massage & stretching. I still have achiness stretching my arm diagonally up behind me (it's difficult to get my winter coat on).
I am considering going to a massage therapist who specializes in Traeger work, but am afraid of exacerbating the problem. I am also fearful of going back to my Dr. as she tends to treat me like a hyperchondriac (doesn't take me seriously) and I cannot afford a MRI or PT, even if she does take my concern seriously. I consulted with a friend who is a neuroscientist (and used to be a PT), who suggested the icing -- which does work temporarily. She said that there's a lot of "junk" in these vaccines and a lot of people are being affected by it. If I EVER do this again, I will demand a NASAL spray vaccine. But I am thinking I'd rather have the flu for a week and build my immunity up naturally.

December 15, 2010 - 2:17pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anonymous Dec 15,
The most positive comment about relief from flu shot pain I've read so far has been the person who received an ART (Active Release Therapy) treatment from a chiropractor trained in that system. You may wish to explore that option and read her comment above or ask her how she's doing now?
That approach seemed effective when directed toward correcting needle stick damage and rsulting scar tissue vs. a vacine toxin issue.
Best to you in your quest.

December 18, 2010 - 4:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Greg)

I am the gal who is receiving ART treatments. I am doing monumentally better! A little over a month ago, I thought I might die from the pain. Now, I just have a very mild and occasional discomfort, which I probably wouldn't normally notice. It's just that now I am acutely aware of the slightest thing in that arm since I have experienced such trauma with it.

December 20, 2010 - 10:35am
(reply to Anonymous)

Dear ART lady,
Thanks for writing back with your good news! There are several educational clips about ART (Active Release Therapy) on You Tube that many of you might find beneficial to watch. Watch the one clip that focuses on the upper arm and descide for yourself, how it may help. Look for a Chiropractor in your area who is trained in ART.
Best to all,

December 21, 2010 - 1:41am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Greg)

Thank you so much for this helpful advice, Greg!

December 19, 2010 - 12:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had a flu shot 2 months ago and my arm started to bother me days later and just kept getting worse. I have a lump, which they thought was a lipoma, after the ultrasound they told me it was residual swelling from the flu shot. This pain in my arm has really affected my everyday life. I have excruciating pain at times, can't sleep, open or shut car door with that arm, put on seat belt, get dressed etc, without pain. The first doctor I went to did put me on Keflex. Today I started physical therapy and they did ultrasound on my arm. They told me I did have an infection and the Keflex had cleared it up, but it left the muscle injured with scar tissue. Hope that was how they worded it. So now I am praying this will take the pain away. It has been so frustrating because the pain was draining me and I just couldn't get any answers. I called the health unit where I got the shot, and they told me they had never heard of residual swelling from the flu shot. It is probably a good idea to let them know if you are having pain so they can help others going through this. If the ultrasound works, I will be calling them so they can help others sooner.

December 10, 2010 - 9:23am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - We can't determine what happened in your specific case, but if you review the comments from others on this thread, and the others on our site, you will learn more from others who had similar experiences and have tried different treatments. Some have found relief in a short time, while others have been in pain for more than a year. It really is an individual situation for each person. Good luck to you. Pat

December 6, 2010 - 5:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I fell for anyone having this experience, but it's comforting to know I'm not the only one. I got my flu shot about 5 weeks ago and am still having pain from my shoulder to my elbow when I move my arm certain ways (especially lifting the arm to my side). It almost feels like the pain is down to the bone. I sleep on my left side (which is difficult if not impossible right now), and the mornings can be really bad.

When I got the shot, the pharmacist had to force the plunger, even after trying a new needle. Neither of us had had this experience before. Does anyone know why this might have happened and if it will go away? I've been reading that perhaps the shot was giving too high on the arm.

December 4, 2010 - 12:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am the anon from 2 posts up. I just wanted to update that I am feeling even BETTER the day after my ART treatment! Seriously, I feel just about normal again!!! ART is the way to go if your muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia or nerves have been damaged. These injuries are usually caused by overuse, but we all now know that a needle can injure, too. This was my first ever ART treatment. I am now a believer in it's usefulness for healing!

November 18, 2010 - 7:59pm
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