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
Avatar universal
I recieved the flu shot 4 weeks ago.  I have had terrible pain in my arm since that day.  I can only wear clothes that are easy to get on and off.  Hurts to pick up anything, can't reach above my head........when I got the shot I was concerned that she gave it in the back of my shoulder?? I have never had trouble with the flu shot or any other shot before.  My doctor says it is just a coincidence.
4331082 tn?1352913189
I know how you feel.  I got the flu shot in late August 2012 and my arm has gotten considerably worse.  At first it hurt just in my bicep area of my left arm but now the pain radiates down to my elbow and up into my shoulder and neck.  My shoulder is starting to crack and pop and when I lift my arm up to put a shirt on I am in excrutiating pain!  I can't sleep at night because I sleep on my left side and I am trying to avoid sleeping on my arm.  When I first wake up I can barely lift my arm.  Heat helps ie:  heating pad, hot baths, etc.  as well as advil.  I am going to start taking Aleve 3x a day since someone else posted that it really helped them.  I told my doctor about it and she mentioned that sometimes you can get scar tissue in your muscle at the injection site and that it takes time to heal.  I have been getting a flu shout for years and this never has happened!  I feel for you and thank you for posting, I'll let you know if anything works for me.  thanks
4455555 tn?1354837689
You have said it best. There is nothing that can ease what you explained. I have also been in touch with Mollen who gave the shot and CDC. Seems no one has complained according to Mollen or the CDC as much as I have. Its been 4 month's and it's  worse. My glands under my arms are sore ,my chest,my back shoulder,elbow,and today my wrist is  hurting. I noticed that I could not fill a gallon of water in a jug that my arm would shake and give out on me.  My Doctor says he has not heard of this . I have read a lot of comments ,and you would think that a Doctor would look up the reasons. I have had flu shots for years,and as a medical worker this was one I can never forget,and very worried as to what will come of this condition that the flu shot has put on me. I was told there was a different vaccine added this year'' by a nurse at mollen'' for 2012. What ever they  added did affect me greatly. Good thing I'm not a golf pro, my career would be shot !!!!
Avatar universal
I got the flu shot 5 days ago and noticed my right arm really aching  tonight. It is a very deep aching from my shoulder down to my elbow. The nurse gave me my shot very high up at the top of my arm..which I thought was strange. I got this shot in my right arm as I still have a red itchy spot on my left arm from last yrs flu shot..the nurse practitioner said not to worry about the red spot but to get my flu shot in my r. arm to make sure that I wouldn't have a problem...well, I have a problem...my arm if killing me..wish I did't even get the shot...I have taken Naproxin but will take something stronger is this keeps aching this bad.  Why aren't people telling us about this possibility?
Avatar universal
I got a flu shot 3 weeks ago and my shoulder is still tender, my range of motion is limited, and the pain has been interfering with my sleep. After reading the comments here, I'm just glad that the pain isn't worse. I don't think I will get another shot, and just pray that eventually my shoulder returns to normal....
Avatar universal
Same reaction here. Can I suggest printing the entire forum and showing it to who ever rejects the fact that the flu vaccination can cause severe and permanent side effects? I have been suffering for 2 months now. Shoulder, neck and arm pain. Tingling in my fingertips. So much pain that i was unable to even sleep at night and would have to jump out of the bed to try to undo severe cramps in my back in the middle of the night. My neck locked up and i am still working on loosening it. I hope and I pray that this is not a permanent issue. I can't imagine having to live with this for the rest of my life.
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