The People's Perspective on Medicine

Did a Flu Shot Cause Severe Shoulder Pain?

Some people report severe shoulder pain that lasts for weeks or even months after getting their flu vaccination.
Woman getting flu shot

Before flu season starts, we are all urged to be vaccinated against influenza. The flu shot is not supposed to have serious side effects, and it is seen as the best public health measure for protecting people from this viral disease that can cause severe illness and even death. There are a number of reports, however, that the vaccination may lead to severe shoulder pain.

Flu Shot and Severe Shoulder Pain:

Q. I got my flu shot yesterday and woke up very early this morning with horrible pain in my left arm and shoulder. It’s my first flu shot in years. I got it because when I came down with the flu last year my boss gave me a really hard time about not having had a vaccination.

The pain starts in my shoulder and runs all the way to my wrist. I went to work today despite the pain, but I am in agony.

I take regular pain medications for a fractured vertebra, and they have no effect on the pain in my shoulder. My range of motion is limited, and moving my left arm at all is incredibly painful.

Unfortunately, I am left-handed. Unless this improves in the next few days I’ll need to see my doctor. Do you have any idea how long it might last?

How Long Will the Pain Last?

A. In the last few years we have heard from hundreds of people who have reported severe shoulder pain after a flu shot. Some of them complain that the disability lasts for weeks or even months.

The standard explanation is that the pain and weakness are due to improper administration of the vaccine. This can damage the bursa, tendons or ligaments in the shoulder. There is even a name for this condition: SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration).

Whether the flu shot itself is contributing to this problem is unknown. We have not seen a lot of concern about should pain and flu shots either the CDC or the FDA. Anything that might discourage people from getting a flu shot seems to be shunned. We would like to know if this is as serious as our visitors seem to suggest in their messages. Here is just a sampling from other people in pain:

Stories from Visitors:

Becky in Virginia shared this experience on January 14, 2016:

“I got my flu shot November 6, 2015 at my doctor’s office. It was given by his nurse. My upper arm was painful and red from the start but instead of getting better, it got worse. My upper arm was rock hard, red, hot and itchy for about a month.

“It seems like things stayed about the same for a couple of weeks and then the pain started getting worse and moving both up to my shoulder and down to my hand. Today, my fingertips actually feel numb after days of tingling. My forearm is excruciating. I get maybe 2 or 3 hours sleep because as soon as I move from lying flat on my back the pain wakes me up.

“I would have never thought something like this could happen. So I am now about 2 months out and wondering how much longer. My doctor doesn’t say one way or the other if the vaccine caused this but it sure seems like they don’t want to take any responsibility. Medicine doesn’t seem to help at all to ease my pain. I, like others, just wonder how long, if ever, it will take for these symptoms to go away.”

Heidi in North Dakota contacted us on October 18, 2016:

“I received a flu shot through employers flu blitz on October 5, 2016. That night I woke with my arm in severe pain and the next day was unable to move my arm at all. The next day I was able to move my arm again but movement was limited. And there was still shoulder pain – mostly in the joint.

“It’s now almost two weeks since the shot and I still have limited movement and pain. After visits to two different doctors, I feel like I’m getting the same story, ‘The flu shot didn’t do that.’ Really? Then why is it that it’s shoulder pain only in the shoulder I received the shot?

“I’ll give it another week, see what happens and if it doesn’t improve then I’ll be seeing a third doctor. A coworker had a similar situation and required surgery – so hope mine doesn’t go that far. But it would be nice to speak with someone who believes that somethings been screwed up due to the shot.”

R. in Arizona wrote to us in March of this year:

“I started a new job last year (October 2015) within a facility here in Arizona. The ADON [assistant director of nursing] stated that it was either the flu vaccine or no job….so I of course, got the vaccine. My ADON was the one who administered it.

“Almost immediately I had soreness in my deltoid area. The pain increased over the next few weeks, to a point that I was unable to move my arm without severe pain. The pain was in my left deltoid, left bicep, and tricep area, going down to my forearm. It is now March of 2016 and the pain has gotten so severe that I am unable to dress myself, work (I’m a nurse), and driving has become difficult. Shaving my underarm is the hardest thing for me to do, even putting deodorant on causes excruciating pain.

“I have been out of work for about two months and bills are piling up. The facility where I worked is now saying that I didn’t have the vaccine while there. I’ve been seeing a physician, actually a nurse practitioner and she has no idea and hasn’t really given me any clues to what it might be or what I can do for it.

“I am unable to sleep on my left side without pain going all the way down to my forearm. She ordered an MRI of my left shoulder which only covered the top of my shoulder, not my deltoid or arm. I don’t have insurance now because of no job, so I am paying with cash. Any suggestions?”

What Can People with Shoulder Pain Do?

The government offers a website to report such reactions: https://vaers.hhs.gov/index

People who have long-lasting injury due to vaccinations can apply for compensation. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has a phone number (800-338-2382) and a website.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I’m suffering the worst pain ever 😭 I had flu shot Thursday and can’t move my shoulder.

I am suffering from what I think are side effects from receiving the flu vaccine last week. I am 58 yrs old and have shooting pain that has traveled up my arm from injection site into my shoulder. I was experiencing some upper arm discomfort in both arms and tingling in my fingers from overwork renovating a house, but my chiropractor fixed some of it before my flu shot. Now I have pulsating, throbbing pain in my right shoulder (injected arm), weakness, and major discomfort. I am sleeping with it iced which does seem to help. I am thinking of seeing my doctor again, but I doubt he would believe me. I am feeling very frustated, sore and debilitated, something I really don’t need right now!
Thank you all for sharing. I was beginning to think the shot was making me lose my mind as well!

I had a flu shot administered at my Allergist two months ago. My wife noted that the bandaid that covered the shot was extremely high but I ignored it as trivial. That night the pain started like an engine on a racetrack. After a week of tolerating the pain I went back to my allergist who with great concern sent me to an orthopedist. A week of prednisone was the given prescription. It was no better than taking an aspirin. Went back for another visit, and an MRI was the next step after a shot of cortisone was injected. Within a day there was relief, and I could sleep again. In the ninth week the pain has returned once again. The next thing is physical therapy. I hope that works, as I went from a very active person to one who moves with unyielding shoulder pain and a docile life style. BTW I watched the pharmacist at a local CVS administering shots and noticed not one single shot was anywhere near where I got mine. After reading numerous posts I am concerned about how I was told it was “just how my body reacted to it!” Funny how weekly allergy shots for 15 years and yearly flu shots never reared its head, and all of a sudden I am told the above! I hope my next post will be light at the end of very small tunnel!

Why is this happening? Why have we continued to get this after the first year of complaints?
What is causing the reaction?

I had the enhanced flu shot early in the season of 2017, at a local Walgreens, several hours after the shot my entire body so intensely painful, I don’t know if I was also temporarily paralyzed or if the slightest movement increased the pain so exponentially that I dared not move, but it was an intense event that lasted approximately 10 hours with no lasting after effects.

I too had a flu jab back in November 2016. Two days later had terrible pain in my neck and shoulder. Went for a massage to see if it would help….. it made it worse… terrible pain, so next went back to the doctor, but at this point did not associate the problem with the jab.

Gave me a steroid injection which was a wonderful relief of pain and then went onto Prednisone. The problem persisted and had painful wrists, swollen fingers, joint pains both hands over the next year and on. So on and off Prednisone as needed. Still today not perfect but so much better. Went to a chiropractor because my shoulders were out of balance, my right being much lower than the left and he helped me with this.

Think it may have been due to some muscle wasting over a period. Left arm I could not lift for months not being able to put my arm around my wife whilst sitting. Over this period went for many visits to RA specialists which gave conflicting verdicts…… culminating at the end of last year 2017 in the specialist prescribing me CHEMO DRUGS!!!

I thought no way! They are still in the cupboard. I altered my diet to try and eat more healthily and it seems to have paid off……….occasionally get finger joint pains…. but not permanent. I am now 75 years and pretty fit…..

The photo for this article shows the WRONG way to administer the shot. 90 degree angle, not 30 degree angle as shown in the photo.

I received my mandatory flu shot in October 2017 in my left arm. I use ice to numb my shoulder so I wouldn’t feel the pain, and it worked. The following morning I was awakened by severe pain in my shoulder. My lymph nodes under my arm were swollen and painful. I had limited range of motion and couldn’t touch my right shoulder. Over the next couple of months the pain intensified. It traveled to my elbow down to my wrist. It now April 2018, and I’m still in pain. Some days are better than others. My range of motion has improve but the pain is constant. I will never get the flu shot again.

My mother got a flu shot, higher than usual in her upper arm. Her arm remained sore afterwards. Within a couple of weeks her upper arm was sore, and her movement in it limited. Then it spread to her other arm, and then to the back of her neck. The pain kept her up at night. She needed help dressing and could no longer do any housework. Her doctor sent her to a rheumatologist, who gave her a prescription for Prednisone. This took care of the inflamation. She also benefited from physical therapy. In all, she had this for a few months. I would say that it is a classic case of S.I.R.V.A.

Add me to the list of people this has happened to, after getting a flu shot. The diagnosis (with an MRI) was that the shot went into the subacromial bursa, so, I have “SIRVA”, shoulder injury related to vaccine administration. Because I want to know how best to heal my shoulder, I am trying to collect peoples’ experiences to learn what worked for people who have had it already! I made a survey about your injury experience and started a website, sirvasurvey.org. Please consider taking the survey here, it takes a few minutes but I promise I will write some posts that give a full picture of what people have found helpful in there recovery and how long it takes:

http://sirvasurvey.org/survey/

I received a flu shot at my local big-name pharmacy in 2017. Everything was fine until two weeks later when suddenly my arm became extremely painful. I was unable to lift it, and it felt like something was twisting inside. When this happened I received a severe jolt that really hurt. I tried acupuncture, masssage, and a chiropractor, all to no avail. I was unable to use my arm to drive and also could not lie on that side. It even hurt when I wasn’t lying on that side but at least it was bearable. I would not get another flu shot for any reason whatsoever. I’m slowly getting better but doubt if I’ll ever be back to normal.

I have had the exact same thing happen to me!! I cant drive, I cant even lift my comforter or blankets over on me when I get into bed at night! My doctor sends me to a specialist who said nothing and has passed me on to PT. I am scared to go to a PT because they are treating this as if it is tendonitis. Has anyone ever got their arm or shoulder to stop hurting yet? I had my flu shot back in august 2017 and its Jan 2018 now!!

I had the flu shot Oct 25 of 2016. I have had MRI, 6 cortisone injections,12 weeks PT, two shoulder manipulations while put to sleep.
Still have bad ranch of motion,pain,has limited everything I do, because it’s my right arm and I am right hands.

My doctor is great but stumped as well. I can’t see the light at the end of this tunnel. Still hoping. But I will never get another flu shot it my shoulder or any where else.

I had a flu shot on October 31st and started getting terrible pain the next day. I’ve been taking Advil for 1 month and it’s not getting any better. I’m limited to using my right arm for alot of movements. I noticed that the person that gave me the shot put it in higher then where I normally got it. This has been terrible. I saw an orthopedic doctor and he told me to take the max Advil and follow up in 3 weeks which is coming up in a few days. I’ve also started physical therapy. To be cautious I reported this to my insurance company. They had me file a claim and said they would get back with me.

Can anyone recommend what has worked for them to relieve the pain and recover from this injury? What did your Ultrasounds/xrays indicate?

It has been 3-1/2 weeks since I got a Flu shot from my neighbourhood Pharmacist. When she did the shot I started to pull my sleeve up starting from my wrist, but she said, “oh no, its easier to just pull your collar down……so I did. She placed the needle very high up on my shoulder! The pain has been getting worse since it happened so I will be starting to go to a Sports Clinic to relieve the pain. My Dr. gave me an Ultrasound which displayed the inflammation. Wow, this really hurts, whenever I move. My gosh, have I learned my lesson and that is: let my Doctor do it next time. I felt that the Pharmacist was in a rush and was a little grumpy. She complained that she wasn’t getting more money for giving shots and that she had to fit it into her busy schedule. This should have been my first clue to Run out of there! I tried to play tennis today, but it was horrible, the pain was so bad. Now I have to cancel all my games in the next month. I can’t use my left arm to steer, lift, get dressed and sleeping is difficult, uggh this is so frustrating! Can anyone recommend a treatment that works for this particular injury?

I received a flu shot in October of 2016. I got the shot at my local grocery store of all places, where they had a young lady sitting at a desk in front of the store administering the shot. I got the shot in my left arm and I noticed that she made the shot higher up than I’d had in the past – almost shoulder level. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time as I’d never had any issue with any type of shot before. I started experiencing a soreness about a day later and figured it was a normal pain associated with being stuck with a needle. Long story short – the pain has been growing in intensity over the past year. I have not gone to the doctor about it yet, kept hoping that it would get better on its on. I have not gotten a flu shot yet for 2017 because of this issue. The pain is really bad when I’m trying to sleep – it’s like a toothache and radiates down my arm now. I guess I’ll have to go to the doctor about it soon.

I had a flu shot about 1 month ago..at first it was just a little sore at the injection site and that I consider normal as I have been getting flu shots probably the last 15 years…several days later while showering I washed my left shoulder and felt a golf ball size lump…put some ice on for a while and in the next few days I was in agony with a toothache like pain from my shoulder down my forearm to my wrist…I started using a heating pad constantly.

I can’t do anything and I can’t lift my arm…sleeping with the heating pad wrapped around my arm and taking my pain meds prescribed for arthritis to take the edge off but it’s not really working…even put Biofreeze which helped for about 30 minutes but the throbbing came back which I expected….I had a doctor appointment and told her about it, she suggested that I continue with the heat..I think she actually doubted the pain was that severe…there are times when I feel a pain like something is inside the muscle digging into the nerve…I know this sounds odd..sometimes it feels like inside the muscle is burning.

This has been seriously the worse 3 weeks …I am at my wits end…I will be going back for my regular doctor visit in 2 weeks and I hope she will pay attention to my situation..Will certainly think twice about getting another flu shot …ever..The punchline here is..Publix pharmacy is where I got the shot..they were giving a $10 gift card if you got the shot there……what a mistake that was…I am going there tomorrow to tell them about this..but I think I know what the reaction will be…one thing on my side is that you can still see the bruise …it’s fading but it’s still there…I am also not a ”tenderfoot”.

I’m 68 yrs old and have experienced a few painful moments in my life but this is way out of line…and mostly I want them to know this is for real… I am not crazy…this is awful!!!!! Sorry for others going thru this issue as well but at least I’m not the only one suffering… Thanks for listening and letting us share…

Got a flu shot the Dr office back in Nov 2017. I expected the usual soreness. but this has become unbearable
I am in Pain. that is getting worse .800 mg Advil doesn’t touch it.
I don’t need to be throwing pills at the pain. just want it to go away!
cant sleep, or preform normal every day functions without major Pain,
really not sure what to do next.

I work for a hospital and am required to have the flu shot. I’m a little nervous this year because last year, only days after receiving the shot in my left shoulder, my deltoid muscle would occasionally twinge, and unless I immediately stretched my arm out to the side I would pull my muscle. On one of these pulls I hurt my shoulder so badly that I had to keep my arm in a sling and hold my elbow tightly against my side to relieve the throbbing shoulder pain. I was in a sling for almost a week. The spasm attacks lasted for about 6 months. It’s been a year since my last flu shot, and happily, I can say I do not have any current problems with my shoulder.

Reading all your comments have made me feel a little better but I thought I was gong crazy had my doctor gave me the flu jab whereas I normally have the nurse in our surgery that was in November 2018 I have never felt pain like it right down my arm but also in my neck found it hard to do the normal day to day things but getting dressed was difficult. I am definitely letting the doctor know about this.

I’ve entered my comments on this topic a few times already, but it pays to repost. In October 2010, yes, 7 years ago, I had a flu shot at a grocery store pharmacy. That night I expected and had a little discomfort, as usual. It disappeared after a few days, but returned a few weeks later and has become a part of my life. Now, 7 years later, I still have limited range as well as weakness, pain, and occasional tingling in my arm from shoulder to elbow to wrist and fingers, not always simultaneously, and at times worse than at others. By the time I became aware of other people beginning to post similar experiences, I had already discarded any information pertinent to my vaccination so I couldn’t supply much information on the online registration for “vaccine-related shoulder pain”. I have had one subsequent flu shot, from my doctor, because I feel that the offending vaccine was likely administered incorrectly and thus damaged nerves or tendons.
I empathize with all suffering from SIRVA, many much more than I, though very few for as long as I. The pain is real.

Kathy, I am trying to collect information about what people have tried and how long their recovery has taken. Since your shot was so long ago, would you be willing to fill out a survey and list what you have tried and what you felt helped (if anything)? I’m only 3 months in but I want to understand as much as I can about other peoples’ recovery. I wrote the survey and put it on a website here: http://sirvasurvey.org/survey/

I turned 60 nine years ago. My doctor insisted I get a shingles vaccination at age 60. After the vaccination in my right upper arm, I suffered for 9 months with arm pain. I had to prop my arm up at night to lessen the pain. I lived on Aleve for pain. the neuropathy I experienced was horrible. My primary care doctor reported this to the CDC. Then, I saw naturopathic doctor who treated me with a special oil that I rubbed into the site 3 times a day for a week. The pain was gone. I have no idea what oil(s) she used. It was special ordered. I was pain free except or the area around the actual site. I used a tens vibration unit on the area for a few weeks last year and the site improved significantly. I want to get the flu shot, but it is scary to think I would suffer again from a vaccination.

I received the flu shot recommended for seniors in 2015 from Kroger’s pharmacy. The next day the injection site was red, itchy and feverish. As the days went on, my arm swelled from my shoulder to my elbow with fever, intense itching and redness and pain! I called my doctor several times, only to be told by a nurses that if it continues to get worse to come in- but there wasn’t anything to be done about it. I asked about steroids or antihistamines. She said to just take Benadryl. Which did no good. After searching on line I did find similar reaction from one woman who traced her reaction to a preservative in shot called Thermarasal as possible cause. My reaction stayed with me for a full 3 weeks before finally getting relief. Will never take another flu shot, no matter what anyone says! I believe flu shots or as dangerous as the flu itself!

I went to CVS for a flu shot, I noticed immediately the shot was administered too high on my shoulder. The pain was immediate, but continued to get worse. Had to see a specialist and ended up having surgery. The doctor agreed with me and felt that the shot was, what set this off. I’m going through physical therapy, but my progress isn’t moving as fast as I’d like it too. I did reach out to a law firm who specializes in these types of injuries, Shoulder Injury Related Vaccine Administration (SIRVA).

I received a flu shot in November of 2016. As I am writing this letter to you right now,(March 2017), it feels like someone is sticking me with a knife. I feel this everyday since I received it. In the past, I went to my family doctor to get the flu shot, and had no problems . This time, I received it at the high school where I teach. I was thinking, maybe the head of the needle was thicker, or the fluid was more potent. Who knows? I guess it is something I have to live with.

I really hate needles. My Dr put a needle in my left arm,and it’s been 3 days that I can’t sleep; I can’t move it; I can’t even hold anything. I didn’t get a flu shot. It was a shot for hives and very painful. I have tried to put an ice pack on it, and it works, but not for long. Have also tried a heat bag, but am still in pain. I really don’t know what to do. I am so angry with my doctor. He should have given me pills for hives, not a needle. Please, can anyone help me???

Just because it wasn’t a flu shot doesn’t mean that you had a bad reaction to the vaccine. Look up Sirva, and chat with attorney who specialize in vaccine administration. They may be able to assist you. Good luck!

Work in a hospital and as a clinician we are mandated to get annual flu shots which I have done for 2o years with No problems. Had vaccine this year in Oct 2016 with RN giving it very high in my left shoulder, the pain started that night and by morning i could not raise my arm above my head and had to take pain meds to sleep. It is now Feb 2017 and it still is sore thankfully not as severe. I do not think I will ever consent to another of these vaccines!

I received a flu shot in my left arm by an older nurse at a Safeway pharmacy in Denver, Co. in 2008. I immediately had pain & discomfort. Within a few hours, my arm was so painful I was barely able to dress myself. I was working & doing homecare as a Pediatric R.N. at that time.Luckily I am right handed & this was my left arm that was injured, since I was caring for an infant I was able to continue working while dealing with the left arm weakness & pain.

I immediately talked to the pharmacist & explained my situation. I reported back every week as suggested, but when the injury didn’t seem to be improving much, the pharmacist was no longer interested in hearing from me.

I had in the past dealt with a neuritis in my right shoulder & arm from carrying a heavy brief case that had healed after several months of rest & I was hoping this would be the same case. Unfortunately 8 years later, I continue to suffer with sharp & intense pain from my left shoulder down to my hand. It never goes away. It is aggravated & hurts more if I move my left arm in a certain way or use it much.

I know of another nurse & coworker who had similar problems after getting her mandatory flu shot. I am sure these incidences are under reported because they want everyone getting vaccinated regardless of need & consequences.
PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELVES PEOPLE.

I had a flu shot in Oct 2016. Since then, due to incredible pain and weakness, that was not there before injection, I’ve had PT, cortisone injections and now surgery. I’m in PT again and hoping for a complete recovery. The shot tore my bicep and caused bursitis and maybe more. Prior to shot I had no symptoms and immediately after i couldnt sleep or push a door open. Look up SIRVA.

I had the shot given to me in October 2016 by a young nurse not my usual older nurse. As in previous years, I immediately took ibuprofen to prevent expected soreness. Two hours later I was in a training class and experiencing extreme arm and shoulder pain. No relief. Four hours later I took another dose but with no relief. It is now January 2017 and I am now in physical therapy but pain is only aggrevated.

I am 80 years old and in good health, or was until I got the flu shot at Walmart by a pharmacist. I have had extreme pain in the arm where she injected me, extending all the way up to my shoulder. It was done high up by the shoulder, even though I questioned why.. tThe pharmacist, and my doctor said they never heard of this happening. It’s been 5 weeks now, and the pain keeps me awake at night, and every movement in the left arm is painful. It’s not getting any better, and is affecting my quality of life,( to say the least).

Husband had flu shot last year, followed by the pain and immobity described. In the end, he was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder that required intervention. Doc said it was one of the hardest ones to unfreeze that he had done, and he had to forcibly move it. Hubby said the shot was done higher up in the arm that time and was told that’s how it’s recommended they do them now. Doesn’t make sense in light of all the complaints. Am also wondering if the needles now have nickel or some other alloy in that some people are allergic to.

I am 67, had flu shot in Dec 2015,- now been 1 year! – Worst year of my life. Sirva for sure! – Also symptoms of Neuritis, GBS-guilliane-barre, polyneuropathies, on-and-on. Too many symptoms to list here. Started numb, pain, tingling, weakness- in hand, arm, shoulder, back, lungs, bladder, etc, etc. – 3 specialists later- NO Diagnosis. And told probably not from Flu shot. Are they crazy?! – 1 year of crap pain, and No help or answer from so-called Doctors!! – What is this that keeps me up at night, month after month?! Much more to my story if interested–

I entered my story earlier but when I read your story I needed to reply. Not only did I experience severe pain in my shoulder I developed Bell’s Palsy a week later. Numbness and tingling in my arms and legs. Muscle weakness and spasms. Extreme fatigue. I knew all this came on after I received my flu shot. It has been six months and I’m on steroid meds and still having pain in my shoulder from flu shot. Do your research on the Flu Shot med that was injected into your body. There’s a section listed under the med side effects titled ‘extreme adverse side effects’. You’ll see you symptoms listed there.

This is a great site. In November last year I also had a mandatory flu vaccine for my job. I received the vaccine at work. That night I experienced soreness, but during the course of the week I also had a bronchial infection. I was feeling horrible! I suffered through the week and within the next week I went to the doctor. I needed antibiotics for the upper respiratory infection and mentioned my arm was hurting really bad. Going into the third week I could not lift my left arm that I received the vaccine in and it would itch really bad at the injection site. IMy arm was very weak and painful which limited or made impossible caring for myself. I needed help with daily activities and began feeling depress since doctors I saw seems to look everywhere and at everything but the flu vaccine. After months of prednisone pills, cortisone shots, physical therapy visits, xrays, and a regular MRI, I finally months later was scheduled for a MRI with contrast.
All I can say is that you feel hopeless, no medical professional takes you serious. The MR I with contrast even about 6 months later revealed much needed information.
It is December 2 and my pain ,and weakness is still present. I get temporary relief from a cortisone injection on the outer part of my shoulder and a ultrasound guided injection on the inner side of my arm. I am due this now cause the pain is increasing again. I gives me about 3-4months of relief.
The CDC tries to say that you need to seek help immediately. I had never heard of SIRVA. I just kept hoping my arm would stop hurting and I could lay on it or sleep with it above my head on my pillow. It might not ever happen.
If I knew something then what I know now, had I researched it earlier, maybe a year later I would be feeling better.

I am interested. I had a flu vaccine Nov 2015. I have had severe arm pain every since. I have been to orthos, physical therapy, neurologist and pain management. No diagnosis . Is there any one who has a doctor say yes this is from the flu vaccine and knows how to treat it. I cannot believe my life over the last 15 months. Thanks Lucy

I got a flu shot and was told my arm would be sore and to move it around. It’s been almost two months and I still have a pain in my upper arm. I can lift my arm so far before the pain begins. I do think I have muscle damage from the shot.

I fully agree. I am also a retired RN, with plenty experience giving shots. Even MD’s have often not much experience, giving shots. He/she, will leave it up to the “nurse”, who is often a MA= medical assistant with some experience.

I am very fortune, to go be able to a place, were there is a clinic, with a lab/ injection room. These nurses have plenty of experience, giving shots!

Always remember the rules : 3 fingers, the angle and when you are very thin, to grab some fat.
If possible,” throw” the needle, like a dart through the skin.
I always tell the nurse, that I have not much fat and to be very careful, when the needle is too long for skinny people.

What a wonderful site, we all are able to go to and
so many lives have been saved or made more comfortable, through, this worldwide way of communicating!!

I had the flu shot October 24 2016. I have been to 2 Dr had a mri 4 cortisone no relief. I can’t lift anything with my right arm,shut car door, raise my right arm at all hurts all the time. I was fine until I had the flu shot. At my local pharmacy. It’s been a 5 month nightmare.
I go back to my orthopedic doctor in 2 weeks I think he will be sending b
Me some where else???? He’s done all he can. I would rather have broke it I would be all healed and at least a true explanation to this. No one wants to admit or say anything.

Last year there were real problems with the flu shot, with regards to pain. It was even on the evening network news. The Doctors and nurses are all in denial!

By the way, be sure to have all immunizations recorded in your own personal shot record available from the local public health service, or even local doctor’s offices. Then they can’t deny that you had it!

In 2014 for the first time, I received the xtra dose flu shot suggested for people over 65. I had received flu shots, including the H1N1, for many years without any problem or soreness beyond a couple days. But after the xtra dose flu shot, my arm was extremely sore for about 6 weeks. I had read somewhere–maybe on this site– that the xtra dose shot is much more likely cause this problem. In 2015 and now 2016, I opted for the regular non-extra dose shot and escaped without any problem.

When I was working, I was always urged to lock up my purse vs. leaving it sitting on the floor. But I did always leave it on the floor — how else could I accurately assess how honest my coworkers were, and how dangerous it actually would be to leave the purse out? (My purse was never messed with in all those years.) Also, I always drink the water out of every stream and creek when hiking… would I or would I not get sick? (I never do!). I do a lot of “living on the edge.” Of course I never get a flu shot; same reasoning. And I’ve never gotten the flu! Now, after reading this article, I’m really glad I don’t do the shots.

In 2009 I got two shots one in each arm. One was a flu shot and one was a tetanus shot. I’m not sure which arm got what. But my right arm was so sore I could hardly lift it. Now its 2016 and it is still sore when I raise it up and move it back down it hurts the soreness has never went away. I have not mentioned it to my Doctor because I just figured my Doctor would brush it off. It is in the front part of my arm down from my shoulder to my elbow. I have just figured it was something I would have to live with.

I think we need to think about building the immune system, which gets weaker as we age.

The last vaccine almost killed me. I got influenza. Why? I was stressed to the max remodeling a condo that I had purchased at age 67, in December, with early snows etc. I was intubated in ICU for 4 days, family alerted that I might not make it.

I now work with an ND and nurse practitioners. I am not on any meds at age 81. The CDC doesn’t care. The vaccine schedule is from birth to age 75. Get online to read all about the consequences of all vaccines. You might live longer

I got my flu shot on Wed sept 21 and on Thurs sept 22 2016 I developed diarrhea and have had it since then within doses of Imodium. I have talked to my primary care dr, the ER dr’s and others. No one believes it or me. What next???

I’m a recently retired nurse and worked for 20 years in a public, teaching hospital. We also had all to get the flu vaccination every year. The vaccinations were administered by nurses who were very experienced and not hurried. I never heard of anyone having the kind of pain described here! And I would agree with the opinion that the injections were improperly administered. I suspect the mentioned nurse administrator had not been giving a lot of injections, if any, for some time.

An IM injection should go into the belly of the deltoid muscle. Lift your arm out to your side, and you can easily see that muscle. When you relax your arm, it will not be as easy to see unless you are well muscled. But when you squeeze that part of your arm with your other hand, you can still feel the muscle, about three fingers down from the shoulder bone, and can feel where it is the fattest. That’s the belly of the muscle and where the injection should go. If you’re thin, the needle should not go all the way in, as far as possible.

Pain that lasts a long time after an injection into that area means the person who gave the injection hit something he/she should not have with the needle. A good nurse will squeeze up the muscle injection site and put the needle in rapidly while the muscle is squeezed up. Too high, the injection could go into the tendon instead of the belly of the muscle.

I would definitely see an MD and get the kind of pain this nurse is describing thoroughly investigated and documented. Infection has to be ruled out. If it’s inflammation which has become chronic, the joint and tendons are being damaged, possibly permanently. A steroid injection into the area may be needed and physical therapy (for sure) is called for. A nurse practitioner, as you know, is not an MD. See an MD.
I would also see a lawyer. With lost wages and medical bills, it’s worth a consultation to see if a lawyer will take your case. The facility where you were working insisted you get vaccinated, which was a usual call and policy, but they MUST have documentation of your vaccination if you went on working. Don’t accept what they “say,” a lawyer can subpoena their records. The ADON can tell the truth now (and surely must have recorded the injection!) or prepare to make a statement in court.
I would also apply for disability — either your state’s disability insurance (which you would have paid into while you were working and are entitled to collect now) or workers’ comp.

I think it has to do with where the nurse inserts the needle. It should be in the muscle, not the top, bony part. That muscle runs a long way down your arm and the needle does not need to be given near the very top end. This year, you could ask to be injected on the lower end.

The exact thing happened to me. I had a terrible pain that would shoot down my when I raised if the slightest bit and I had no strength in it.I also could not bend my arm back when I held it at my side at a 90° angle. I went to my doctor and they sent me for an X-ray.

Of course, nothing showed in it. They then sent me to an orthopedic doctor who gave me a cortisone shot. I was scheduled another appointment where I received another cortisone shot and was scheduled for an MRI.At this point I had been in pain for 4-5 months. He did find a small tear and some small bone spurs. Surgery helped but, 6 months later, I still cannot bend my arm back.

I was told later by a nurse at a different doctors office that whenever you receive an injection, it does create a small hole that could aggravate a pre existing condition. I do know my arm never bothered me until I had that flu shot.

I think you should contact some of these people who emailed you and see if their condition EVER DID improve ……. like one year later. As it stands now, the answer seems to be NO.

I had a flu shot on my shoulder at the top in the back on Oct 24 2016.
Within hours, I was in severe pain. My arm would not move. I went to my family Dr he gave me a cortisone shot. Didn’t help then went and had a mri and went to my orthopedic Dr.

I have had a total of 4 cortisone shots motrin 800 vico dinner nebutone. Nothing helps I’ve been sleeping in a chair upright since that day. It’s been almost 5 months of pain and unable to use this arm beca9i am right handed. What’s next?????

That’s really scary about the flu shot and arm pain. Is there any connection with the high-dose flu shot? The first time my husband had the high-dose flu shot he also suffered arm pain which he never had before. He was one of the lucky ones and eventually the pain went away. This year he had a better experience with it.

Hold on here. Flu shots save thousands of lives. All vaccines have some risk but the disease risk is worse. I object to the way these case studies identify “nurses” as the ones who gave the shots resulting in disability.

Often, these people are not “nurses” but rather medical assistants with minimal training. Watch the use of the word “nurse”—registered nurse (RN) is a trademarked title just like physician, physical therapist, etc. Please show some respect here.

I completely disagree! Give me the flu!! I dont care if I am sick for 3 weeks and can just be over it! this agonizing pain in my arm to the point where I cant dress myself without severe pain is NOT WORTH IT.

I, too, have experienced continuing pain in my left shoulder ever since I received my shot. It never goes away & aches in that area with no movement at all, & pain continues all around the site of injection in the muscle, tendons, etc with any movement or pressure. This is the first time it has ever occurred from any shot. I received the flu shot over a month ago from a pharmacist at Rite Aid. The injection was painful to begin with and that doesn’t usually happen. Now what?

Surprise! CDC and FDA enabling and covering for Big Pharma. Imagine federal government entities treating citizens like liars whenever they report adverse events from Big Pharma creations.
Unacceptable and indefensible.

Addendum to my previous post: I think it is really important not to confuse problems with how the vaccine is administered with problems with the vaccine itself. In my case (with the pneumonia shot) I believe the problem was with how the shot was given, not with what was in the shot.

Within hours of receiving a pneumonia shot (a few years ago) I was in severe pain and unable to lift my arm more than a few inches. I had noticed when I received the vaccine that the nurse administered it very high in my arm, at an angle, and in a hurry. I called my doctor’s office and was told “no one else has complained” and advised to take Tylenol.

The severe pain continued — and it was 3 months before I regained full motion and was pain free. I found an article about vaccine induced shoulder injury which described what I experienced. My doctor and her staff seemed surprised when I told them what happened and simply responded again “no one else has complained”.

It was very frustrating. It was also very clear that if I made a bigger deal of this I would have been labeled a “problem patient” and there are a limited number of medical providers in the area where I live. I have had a subsequent pneumonia shot and annual flu shots (from other nurses) with no problems — but each time I inform the administering nurse of my previous experience and ask them to be extremely careful in administering the vaccine. So far so good.

I had the same effects as what everyone else says, but it occurred after a routine Blood Draw. I am 60 years old with never an issue after a blood draw, but this last time led to terrible pain lasting 5 months at the draw site. I am thinking maybe it was from a bad batch of needles? I have heard they coat the needles sometimes to make insertion easier? Whatever the cause, it was terrible and I hoped was not permanent. It was scary.

This happened to me a few years ago. The pain lasted for 1.5 years, at a decreasing rate until it was finally gone. I believe the shot was given too high up on my arm. It was very painful at the time of the shot too–I felt a pain deep within the arm (not just the “burning” sensation that also occurred at the outset). I have been nervous ever since to get a flu shot, but have had a few now without this problem.

I have taken the flu shot vaccination for as many years as it has been available. 25? 40 ?
Regardless, the shots have never caused me any significant discomfort beyond the needle stick and often I don’t feel that.

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