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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?

Add a Comment188 Comments

I had written previously, so this is an update.

I received the flu shot on Aug. 30, 2010. I developed the shoulder pain & inability to sleep on that side; it progressed to the point that I had finally went to the Dr. He assessed that I had "shoulder impingement syndrome" (aka. frozen shoulder) & offered a cortisone shot & recommended physical therapy. The cortisone shot did NOT work for my problem, but I've been in PT for the past 6 weeks.

I am finally getting range of motion back as well as a decrease in pain to the point that I can sleep through the night again! I did not require a MRI (only an Xray to rule out calcification/arthritis). My Physical Therapist said I had a pretty bad shoulder impingement (I could not raise my arm behind my back at all -- now I can hook my bra again!) when I arrived.

Physical Therapy was definitely the answer for me. (I had some massage work done previous to all this -- and that made my arm WORSE ... so, go with the professionals who really understand body dynamics & mechanics.)

He also said that he only met 1 other person who developed this problem via the flu shot. It's a very real condition. I hope you all find healing.

May 20, 2011 - 1:04pm
(reply to Ames)

Ames, I'm glad that you are healing and that PT worked for you. I need your therapist as my 6 weeks in therapy was a waste as I still can't put my arm behind my back. Are you going to get the flu shot again?

May 24, 2011 - 7:44am
EmpowHER Guest

I had the same injection problem in 2007 at Safeway pharmacy! I think the injection went into either the joint space or the bursa. In 2010 at a local clinic, the shot was too low on my arm and I have a painful bump there. I will never go to a "shot clinic" again, only the doctor. I have constant pain in my shoulder, and also have trouble sleeping. This really sucks!!

May 19, 2011 - 1:05am
EmpowHER Guest

I forgot to mention in my earlier post, that my customer who has not been able to sleep on his side for three years after the flu shot. Went through physical therapy, cortisone shots, and everything else that we all have been trying.

February 19, 2011 - 11:38am
EmpowHER Guest

Received my shot Dec. 8th. My arm still hurts most of the time, making my job as a bartender difficult to say the least. Had a customer tell me the other day that it happened to him three years ago and he still can not sleep on the side where he got the shot. Wasn't really what I wanted to hear. Sounds like Advil, therapy, nothing is really going to work except time and lots of it...bummer.

February 19, 2011 - 11:26am
EmpowHER Guest

I had a flu vaccine administered at a CVS-Minute Clinic - 8/31/2010.
The following is from a VAERS report I posted yesterday, 2/15/2011 :

I have pain in my left shoulder at the sight of the vaccine injection. It radiates down my arm - my ring finger and little finger on my left hand are somewhat numb. My left shoulder's range of motion is severely limited. A stabbing pain occurs when this limited range of motion is exceeded. It feels like the needle broke off the syringe and is in my arm... though I know this is not the case.

There has been no fever, redness or discoloration at the site of the injection.

Bathing, dressing and daily activity is very limited with my left arm. Sleeping with this injury is very difficult because my arm aches in almost any position when in bed. Heavy lifting and any other type of physical activity or exercise is greatly impaired.

The pain in the muscle at the site of the injection has increased over time.
I've been taking Advil on a daily basis but it does practically nothing for my discomfort.

To date, no sign of recuperation.


February 16, 2011 - 12:02pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi K,
I'm sorry you have experienced such pain following getting the shot. I'm guessing you haven't experienced this before. Did you post it on CVS's website too, or send a note to their customer service? May not be a bad idea. We hear about difficulty and pain following administration of shots frequently. Have you been to see any kind of a physical therapist, your personal doctor? Just curious.
Thank you for your comment and for finding EmpowHER.

February 16, 2011 - 12:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I received a flu shot at the doctors office a few months ago. I swore the nurse hit my bone. I have had trouble sleepiing on it, it feels like someone is taking my arm and twisiting it like a wash rag. I cannot lift it very high and it kills me trying to put my jacket on. I went to the orthopedic doctor thinking I had a torn rotator cuff. He did a MRI and said I have severe brusistus and gave me a cortizone shot in the back shoulder blade. I have to do therapy now. I am giving my doctor a call when I get a chance to let him know. I don't want her to get into trouble but she needs to know if she is doing something wrong. My doctor has been off for sick leave so he should be back by now. Thought I would let people know what the Orthopedic doctor said!

February 7, 2011 - 6:27pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I now have been in therapy for 6 weeks. There has been some improvement, especially in less pain when I sleep. But range of motion still has a long way to go. But don't get discouraged because my PT says it will get better but will just take time (probably 4 - 5 more months) with continued home exercises plus bi-weekly PT therapies at the rehab center. He also found a study about this happening predominantly in women but they don't know why.

February 8, 2011 - 5:53am
(reply to gettinghelp)

Hi gettinghelp,
Thanks for the update. Glad you are showing some progress in recovering from the pain. Next time you see your PT, would you ask for the name or resource for that study? I would love to check it out.
Thanks again~

February 8, 2011 - 9:07am
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