1465913 tn?1318971452

Shoulder & Arm Pain long after Flu Shot / Vaccine

got the flu shot this year as I do every year. That was over 3 weeks ago and my arm/shoulder still hurts. It was so bad that last week I went to the doc after reading threads online. He said we could spend a lot of money on tests (which may come back inconclusive) and physical therapy (which may not really speed up the healing process) but in the end it is probably just a matter of time. He DID give me a steriod pack which I finished yesterday morning...the last pill. The steriods helped immediately, however yesterday when I woke up the stiffness is back in the shoulder and has gotten worse. Today I could barely get dressed.

At its worst, the pain was so bad that when I tried to remove my gown over my head I doubled over...unable to the complete the task. I had tingling and numbness in my arm and fingers, and down into my shoulder blade. At times the pain travels down into my pec muscles and into my arm pit. I have never had anything like this from past flu shots other than a little arm soreness that lasted a couple of days. This is different. We believe (at my office) that the shot was a little high and also a bit further towards the back of the shoulder than in past years.

Right now I can apply pressure to the spot where the shot was given and feel a dull pain all the way down into my shoulder muscle and arm. Cannot sleep on my left side and simple things like carrying a purse or pulling the covers up cause intense, shooting pain. Had to get groceries last nite and was able to do it (even though it REALLY hurt) so there doesn't appear to be a lot of weakness right now. The pain seems to be worse while in bed trying to sleep and in the morning. Esp in the morning...

Because of a lowered kidney function my doc has told me to limit NSAID intake. This is bad news since that is the only thing that actually helped the pain. Since I can't afford expensive tests or PT right now (and from reading the blogs they don't really seem to help much in the diagnosis or recovery) I'm gonna give it a little time...unless it gets worse and becomes unbearable again. I plan to keep checking back here and reporting the progress. I DID feel better after reading the posts because I realized this was apparently not just some funky anomaly that only I was experiencing.

I am probably going back in to see my doc to let him know about the result of the steroids (immediate relief) as well as the sudden return of the pain as bad as (or worse) than before when the steriods were stopped. This is very depressing...I try to do what I can to be healthy and I actually wind up causing a problem. I have read that it could be needle placement (i.e. nerve, punctured bursa, muscle hematoma) or a reaction to the vaccine itself (preservatives, etc.). I am a 51 yr old female always received a flu shot never more than soreness for a couple of days. Guess I'm hoping for a miracle...everyone else reporting these symptoms indicates that recovery is VERY slow and takes many months up to a year. However, I have yet to see where someone pinpointed EXACTLY what the problem was...
81 Responses
1465913 tn?1318971452
Wow just wonder which comments you believe are the crap SuilChait?  I began posting in September 2010 on this site, the WebMD site as well as one called Empowher. Additionally I discovered one called vactruth.com and post to that one as well.  

All the information and links I found myself and shared on all four sites.  As time has gone on there is more information online and the medical community has now "officially" published a report on SIRVA. If you want to spend $36 you can download it...it is not free.  I have provided my regular doctor and my shoulder doctor with all of this information.  Many have found this information on their own and some have shared what I had previously posted.  

Yes some "crap" can be found on all of these sites.  Some use the platform to try and sell miracle cures, some are just simply hypochondriacs and some are just looking for someone to sue.  None of what I posted, however, was inaccurate or intentionally misleading and I attempted to qualify anything that was simply my opinion as such.

First these injuries need to be reported through VAERS.  All that does is put the info in a database BUT that is what started the discussion at the 2010 conference on vaccine injuries and perhaps began the discussion in the medical community.  

Second there is a federal vaccine injury program that may reimburse you for some of the related costs IF they determine the vaccine caused the condition.  You can check here:  http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html  to see if you might qualify.

Hope this additional information helps any visiting this site trying to find answers to what has been a vexing medical issue...

2133104 tn?1335739310
I have EXACTLY the same symptoms from flu shot in Oct. 2011. Have had all the tests, MRI, Nerve conduction, EMG twice by 2 neuroligists. It showed significant nerve damage throughout entire arm. On 800mg gabapentin 3x a day, Tramadol 3x a day. They both make me extremely loopy and tired, so if I need to go to therapy I must go early in morning, because unable to drive when meds kick in. Been off work since Feb. Started physical therapy its making arm stronger but the pain worse. See Dr. on May 4th.ot  I work at a hospital, so the shot was mandatory, I also work in surgery, so I am unable to work while on these meds, unable to move without them. This is getting frustrating, my supervisor is insisting I come back to work on May 7th. Guess we;ll see.
Avatar universal
2133104 tn?1335739310
Sorry to hear of your problems. My dr. has diagnosed me with RSD. I go back to nuerologist fri.june 8th. I have been off work since Feb. Been on neurotin, done steroids pack, done the physical therapy. Please if you need to talk feel free to email me. ***@****. I don't believe you have arthritis.
Avatar universal
I had a flu jab 3 weeks ago and my shoulder is killing me! Can't do basic tasks of dressing my self, lifting items with that arm, sleeping on that side and any thing involving lifting my right arm. Went to a&e after my doc said it would go away in time. At the hospital they gave me a course of a form of pennisilin because I'm pregnant and can't take any thing else. These tablets did not help and still in severe pain some body please help me
Avatar universal
So sorry you're in pain. I type this with one hand having a similar flu vaccine reaction in the given shoulder (my right). It's been two weeks and often the pain is so excruciating that it feels as if my shoulder is separating. I suffer from RA but this is not RA pain. It's a lot sharper and not exclusively in the joint. Also my RA pain is always symetrical and this is just my right shoulder (why oh why did I let that pharmacist stick me in my dominant arm!). I've found naproxen and a heating pad provide the most relief for me. I have to stay on top of the naproxen and take the max dose else it's intolerable. One thing I will say is the pharmacist that administered to me wasn't very hygienic (he initially tried to inject me without wearing gloves), in hindsight my daughter pointed out he clearly had a runny nose and went in at an odd angle with the needle. I'm pretty sure my flu shots have always been needle straight into the muscle and of course its sore for a couple days but he went in at an angle a lot like what aTB test is, just under the surface of the skin high on my shoulder. Next year I think I will opt for the flu mist, even if I have to pay out of pocket. It's nearly impossible to drive like this and very painful to do any of my daily chores or be productive at work. Hoping everyone finds relief soon.
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