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Arm/Shoulder Still EXTREMELY Painful after Flu Shot Over 3 Weeks Ago..
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Myarmhurtstoo posted:
I 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...
Reply
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Paul04301972's response:
Nurses or medical assistants -- those that are administering shots -- need to take the job seriously and PAY ATTENTION to what they are doing. Periodically, I take the time to watch my medical assistants to make sure that haven't developed any bad habits or improper techniques.
 
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ddc45 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I was an active exerciser also and I've become quite depressed about not being able to do my daily exercise.

I have email consulted with a neurologist and she thinks I have brachial plexus neuropathy. Hopefully it will go away on it's own, but it sounds like it will take quite some time. She also recommended that I not get another flu shot.
 
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scj1001 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
So interesting to see these comments. I too have had an issue at the injection site of my flu shot radiating neck to had and numbing in the wrist, hand and fingers. The pain calmed down a week after the shot but did not entirely go away and has now come back with a vengeance. I have recently discovered i have an allergy to the thimerosal in my contact solution. It makes my eyes irritated so I pondered the idea if it might be the cause of the reaction in my arm. Crazy thing is last year I had the flu shot and had these symptoms but mildly so that I thought I strained my arm. This year getting the shot and having the same issue has concerned me because the same reaction is happening but it hurts much worse.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to scj1001's response:
Flu vaccines do have a trace of thimerosol - preservative, but I have never encountered a person with a thimerosol proven reaction. I guess it could happen, but my money would still be on the direct trauma of the shot itself, not what the shot contained. In your case, with a proven allergy to thimerosal, I am not so sure.
 
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Paul04301972 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Dr. Moser,

Yes, the pain is still there. Am beginning to think this is not just going to go away. If this is nerve damage, could it take many months like this to heal? I can still put my finger right on the direct spot in which the shot was given and it is still sore. I contacted my HR Department and they gave me the phone number to the clinic that came to give the shots. They told me that the shot could not have done this and to see my family physician. I have not done this and am overly frustrated. The last thing I need or want is a ton of medical bills. Suggestions as to if this may heal? How would a Doctor determine if their is damage or not? MRI? Am curious as to what I may be in for.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Paul04301972's response:
To see if you, indeed, sustained nerve damage as a result of this injection, you may need to see a neurologist.
 
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Myarmhurtstoo replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
UPDATE: Ten weeks since the flu shot now. Pain seems somewhat better but last weekend I pulled back on the daily Neurontin (for any related nerve pain) and Mobic. Well, it is still there and was pretty bad Sunday until the meds kicked back in. The other two ladies from my workplace are also still having problems although I think the younger one is doing much better than us two middle aged ones.

Below is my post to another site I have been reading. It contains info and links to some good information concerning this reaction to the flu shot. Bottom line it appears they have been aware of this since 2006, but no big change in admin instructions or guidance appears to have resulted from the recommendation. Just found it interesting & thought y'all might too.

Link to actual post:
http://www.empowher.com/community/ask/why-my-shoulder-still-hurts-after-2010-flu-shot?page=4

MY POST November 16, 2010
Wow most of these comments have been since I have been googling and posting and are new to me. My detailed experience is chronicled on the following thread:

http://www.empowher.com/community/ask/it-normal-my-arm-muscle-my-shoulde...

My symptoms mirror most everyone else's"0261) shot high up so much so that we talked about it for days after the shot 2) mine started hurting that evening, shot given around 3:30 pm 3) pharmacy came to our workplace and administered shot 4) pain doing all the things everyone mentioned with the MOST pain when trying to pull off a tight fitting garment over my head"026just can't do it even now (shot given nine weeks ago) 5) cannot sleep on left side (except when I took the steroids, have taken two medrol paks and one 10 day course"026doc said I can't have any more) 6) had initial numbness in my index & middle finger and some in my thumb, now just sorta comes and goes but not so much and 7) my doc was not aware of this being a problem and initially attributed it to other things, however, after hearing my explanations, what I found in my research, and the fact that he's known me for many years and believes I'm not crazy has asked me to gather the info I have found for him"026much to my relief and amazement.

In my hours of research I have found some information that was helpful. For one the VAERS site to report adverse events listed earlier in this post.

http://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index

I also was able to download adverse event data for the last two years"026a ton of info and after applying some filters found tons of reports of this type of reaction. So it is not new.

Also found this thread on another site with info that was reported in 2007 and even gave the condition a name: Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA. Yes there is even an acronym for this condition:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Occupational-Health--Safety/Improper-Flu-Sh...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20955829

As well as this HHS Power Point presentation from last summer where the last two pages discuss the above published info as well as thoughts on cause, treatment, etc.:

http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/RJL-UptoMay-2010VICP2.ppt

And last this article that discusses the findings and recommendations in detail. Not from any gov't related site but after finding all the other info, I thought the article appeared credible:

http://vactruth.com/2010/09/06/shoulder-injury-related-to-vaccine-admini...

Hope some of this helps. Based on what I've gone through I truly believe it is important for everyone to file a VAERS report of adverse event and talk about this so that more is done in evaluating the cause(s) and prevention of this issue. I look forward to reading your updates. And PLEASE update even if the pain goes away"026it is helpful to us still hurting to read about those that have recovered"026gives us hope!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Myarmhurtstoo's response:
Thank you so much for all of your research and work in this area. It will be beneficial to many, many people.....
 
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Paul04301972 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Myarmhurtstoo,

Thank you for this information. At this point all of this information seems great but, I can not find anything that tells me how to fix this. To be honest, it obviously "is what it is" but I can not have my shoulder/arm hurting like this. I went to my physician and she has told me I need physical therapy. This is the last thing I feel like I need. I can not imagine doing anything that will help this pain from a Physical Therapy perspective. I do not know what to do about this. Any ideas?
 
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Chillenout replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Hello. I found this web page after looking up side-effects of the flu shots. I got my yearly flu shot Monday 11/30.

At 1:30 Tue morning the pain in my arm was so bad it woke me up. It felt like a vice was tightening on my bare bone. The pain didn't stop there. It went into my shoulder blades/joints, neck, legs. My whole body was hurting. Then my cheekbones to my jawbone started tingling. The same thing happened from my elbows to my hands. I then started feeling weak and seeing white spots. I went to my dr and he said I was just having a mild reaction to the vaccination and told me to take Claritin & Tylenol. I'm better now except for where I got the vaccine. My arm still hurts. There's large hard lump & it's hot to the touch. It hurts if anything touches it, when I drive a car, lift it up, or try to carry anything.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Chillenout's response:
Your doctor has to consider an abscess, or even a sterile hematoma (an accumulation of blood at the injection site) as a possible cause of this painful lump. You need to consult your doctor to let him/her know of your current situation.
 
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Myarmhurtstoo replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I don't remember if I posted this info on webmd or not, so I apologize if it is a duplicate post...

My detailed experience is chronicle on the following thread:

http://www.empowher.com/community/ask/why-my-shoulder-still-hurts-after-2010-flu-shot?page=4

My symptoms mirror most everyone else's"0261) shot high up so much so that we talked about it for days after the shot 2) mine started hurting that evening, shot given around 3:30 pm 3) pharmacy came to our workplace and administered shot 4) pain doing all the things everyone mentioned with the MOST painful when trying to pull off a tight fitting garment over my head"026just can't do it even now (shot given nine weeks ago) 5) cannot sleep on left side (except when I took the steroids, have taken two medrol paks and one 10 day course"026doc said I can't have any more) 6) had initial numbness in my index & middle finger and some in my thumb, now just sorta comes and goes but not so much and 7) my doc was not aware of this being a problem and initially attributed it to other things, however, after hearing my explanations, what I found in my research, and the fact that he's known me for many years and believes I'm not crazy has asked me to gather the info I have found for him"026much to my relief and amazement.
In my hours of research I have found some information that was helpful. For one the VAERS site to report adverse events listed earlier in this post. I also was able to download adverse event data for the last two years"026a ton of info applying some filters found tons of reports of this type of reaction. So it is not new.
Also found this thread on another site with info that was reported in 2007 and even gave the condition a name: Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA. Yes there is even an acronym for this condition:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Occupational-Health--Safety/Improper-Flu-Shot-Causes-Injury/show/1310784

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20955829

As well as this HHS Power Point presentation from last summer where the last two pages discuss the above published info as well as thoughts on cause, treatment, etc.:

http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/RJL-UptoMay-2010VICP2.ppt

And last this article that discusses the findings and recommendations in detail. Not from any gov't related side but after finding all the other info, I thought the article appeared credible:

http://vactruth.com/2010/09/06/shoulder-injury-related-to-vaccine-administration/comment-page-1/#comment-2868

Hope some of this helps. Based on what I've gone through I truly believe it is important for everyone to file a VAERS report of adverse event and talk about this so that more is done in evaluating the cause(s) and prevention of this issue. I look forward to reading your updates. And PLEASE update even if the pain goes away"026it is helpful to us still hurting to read about those that have recovered"026gives us hope!
 
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jennw72 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I am not a doctor but would say to raise BOTH eyebrows! I too have not been able to lift/use/push/pull/raise my right arm since October...the day I received my flu shot. My arm is, confirmed by my doctor, to still be warm at the site of injection and very painful. I now seem to have mid-to-lower back pain near the site where I had my epidural blood patch four years ago. I cannot arch my back or stretch it out without pain and discomfort. I talked to the company who administered the flu shot, and they actually called me back and said they were getting hundreds of similar complaints about arm pain. I am a mother of three young girls and take vitamins and exercise daily, and now have a full blown sinus infection for over two weeks and feel like I am 80 years old. I will NEVER get another flu shot or epidural again!
 
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fitandsore replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Just got a flu shot 11/2 weeks ago. I'm 40- fit and never had a flu reaction. I'm experiencing a VERY sore shoulder (getting more uncomfortable) and had no other reason for shoulder discomfort. The discomfort began the morning after the injection. I have no history of shoulder pain or nerve issues. This is VERY uncomfortable!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to fitandsore's response:
You will need to see your medical provider so you can have that shoulder properly examined.


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