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why my shoulder STILL hurts after 2010 flu shot

By September 26, 2010 - 5:48am
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I started this new share because I got the new flu shot 3 weeks ago- the one that contains the reg. flu and the H1N1 combined. I got it done at Walgreens. When the Dr (pharmacist, actually) put it in, it did not hurt. Even though it felt like it was in the bone and very high up. The actuall dispensing of the vaccine felt like it took longer than usual. Since then, my shoulder still hurts and I complain about it several times a day. I cannot sleep on it at night and everytime I roll over in bed, it wakes me (all night long). I have rec'd the flu shot for years and I never got this pain. For this reason, I will NOT be forcing my 10 yr old to get it because she could not tollerate this pain and would have missed many days of school thus far. Comments?

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(reply to Anonymous)

I have the same symptoms.. how are u now?

January 6, 2011 - 10:28am
EmpowHER Guest

Just got the 2010 flu shot at my doctor's office a couple hours ago, along with my three kids. It seems we all received our shots higher up on the arm than in years' past. My shot was nearly on top of my shoulder bone. It actually felt like it hit the bone. It stung like a mo-fo -- way more than years' past. It bled like CRAZY afterward and hurts right now. Why are the shots given so high this time? It seems they were at least three inches further down in the past. If I get the pain as others have mentioned above, I'm going to be very unhappy!

October 19, 2010 - 7:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a doctor at a Children's Hospital and received the flu shot this evening. I believe the nurse put it in the joint space as the injection site is far too high on my arm. She also took a long time pushing it in. My arm is swollen and hurts in the entire joint! The good news is some studies have shown that intra-articular immunizations yield higher immune responses giving you an even less likely chance of getting the flu. I am praying this pain doesn't last for more than a day or so... Good luck, ladies!

October 16, 2010 - 3:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for adding to the post-- got an email saying their was another response. YES, I said at the time, "wow, u r injecting this a LONG time it seems." It really did not feel painful at the insertion, but I also remarked, "it feels like u put it in my bone...?" To this day -10/16/10 , long past a month and more..., I was up all night with the pain in this shoulder. I can only raise it so far; I cannot put a jacket or bra or sweater on w/o saying "OW!" and slowing it down. I called Walgreens and they said that it's a problem for my Dr and has nothing to do w/ the flu shot (B.S.). I haven't gone to the Dr... what's he going to do/say? As I type, my pain still is in constant, severe pain. Good luck w/ it and let us know what u may find out.

October 16, 2010 - 5:38am

Alison and Shim, great responses. I am one of those that avoid the DR's at all cost (thus, the no waiting at Walgreens...), so I have not consulted anyone. I can still see the injection hole, but it's not inflamed or anything. Alison, If they have the mist this year I will def. allow my kid to get that one--- I wish I had! Shim, I would love u to post on what u find out w/ Walgreens-- I pray this only last six months--- cuz I am supposing if it was no-big-deal it would have never lasted more than a few days. Stinks. Took a sleeping pill lastnight and the arm still had me up every 40 min. I put on my bathrobe this morning and OUCH!!!!!! I suppose it's better than the flu, but it seems unnecessary and unfair.

September 28, 2010 - 5:57am
EmpowHER Guest

I am having a similar experience.

Two weeks ago I was in Walgreens and, hey, there was no one waiting. I figured why not. The pharamcist put his
middle fingers on my shoulder bone and then touched the area where he was to put the injection ( as if he were measuring). After a thorough cleaning, the pre-filled syringe appeared and WHAM! Right into the muscle.

I expected it to ache for a few days, but it has gotten progressively worse. In fact now, the pain appears to be in the joint space. Of course it could be a sympathetic pain, I'm not sure. I cannot raise
my arm above my navel without pain. Sleeping is crazy.

Guess it's time to go to the Ortho and find out if Walgreens is instructing their folks to inject inthe wrong site! Will post back what doc says.

September 28, 2010 - 2:50am

My comment is: this has been a common complaint on this site!

I had a similar experience, and it took my arm/shoulder 6 months to feel back to normal. I started wondering if I had some permanent nerve damage, but was hesitant to talk to the nurse or doctor for fear of sounding like a hypochondriac. I did end up talking to a different nurse, showed her where the injection site was, and she agreed that this was given too high up in the arm, and was causing long-term pain (I wasn't able to sleep on my arm, or during a time when my arm moved or was elevated above my head...the sudden and sharp pain would wake me up).

Can you talk with your regular doctor or nurse about your symptoms?

Some of the comments from people experiencing this pain after flu shot did end up having a medical condition, and it was either coincidence or they were blaming the shot (when, in fact, the medical condition was exacerbating their symptoms).

My arm/shoulder did finally heal, and I thought it was so important to have another flu shot (I have an infant at home) that I received another flu shot from a trusted nurse, talked with her before the shot about my previous experience, and she actually showed me on my arm where the injection would go in (it was significantly further down from the original site, but still very high up on the arm). I had NO pain or lasting symptoms from the shot (beyond the expected few days of soreness at the site). I was ecstatic that I could get a shot and not have this pain.

Regarding your 10 year old not getting the flu shot. You may want to talk to her pediatrician about this, as she may be eligible for the flu mist instead? Just another option!

Best of luck for a quick recovery, and please let us know if you decide to talk with a nurse/doctor about your symptoms. You can read about others' experiences below:
- Pain in Arm After Flu Shot
- Received Flu Shot in December and Two Months Later Still Experiencing Pain at Site of Injection
- No Pain in Arm or Shoulder After Flu Shot This Year

September 26, 2010 - 6:09am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

I got a flu shot last november and have had the same arm/shoulder pain mentioned by others. It's been several months now and I can't sleep on that side/arm and it hurts to try and lift it above my head. I couldn't figure out what i did to my arm untl i remembered about the flu shot. i hope the pain eventually goes away. I may say something to my dr. next time i visit him. questioning on whether to get another flu shot after this fiasco.

February 24, 2011 - 2:20pm
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