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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...
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to artladywv's response:
Since your primary care doctor shined you off a bit, you best bet is to see a neurologist. Many times, it is nerve inflammation (neuralgia) that is the problem. This has been since October....you really need to get it check out at a higher level.

With hundreds of millions of flu shots given all over the world, by upteen thousands of different people, statistically we are bound to see some of these bad outcomes. I am sorry that I had to be you. Perhaps the person giving the shot needs a refresher course on intramuscular techinque, since other people in your school had similar experiences.
 
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pollypain replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I know for a fact my shot was given in wrong area, it was straight on the shoulder bone at the top.This was 7 months ago I have showed other medical professionals where the injection was given and they agreed that it was up way to high. I received the usual discomfort afterwards but it never went away and then the pain went down into arm lower in to biceps when I would move a certain way but then it goes away after a 20 seconds or so. Now, I am in pain 80% of the time and also my skin is pigmentation is lighten in the spot of injection in a oval shape. I use Ice paks and Bio-freeze and advil. I know your not a attorney but should I go back to the grocery store where this done and explain what has happened. I have had a frozen shoulder in other shoulder 4 years ago and cant help to wonder is flu shot could of caused that too. I don't remember connecting the two at all. I have been doing the exercises PT gave me for that though. It helps a little. I am in same boat don't have money to pay for the PT and all that.Do have ins but high co pays. signed Confused
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to pollypain's response:
You may need to see a neurologist or an orthopedist. A bad shot is a bad shot....there is really no excuse for it.

I don't see how the grocery store that administered the shot is going to be to receptive to your claim seven months ago; or that a flu vaccine caused your frozen shoulder. Besides, they can't fix you....

Insurance aside, if you are in this much pain, it would really be in your best interest to seek a high-level medical evaluation.
 
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pollypain replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks a lot. And I'll start with orthopedist I was a little confused on why you'd recommend a neurologist though is that maybe because of nerve damage?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to pollypain's response:
If the orthopedist feels that the improperly-given shot caused nerve damage, he may want you to have some nerve conduction studies.
 
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pollypain replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks so much.
 
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LaurenSinnott responded:
Hi,

I had a tetanus last Wednesday and have been in pain since then too, a lot of what you describe.I took some Voltaren on Thursday but it didn't help so didn't bother with other pain meds as Voltaren are strong and if they don't work then not much I can do! Have been told by nurse today to start on ibuprofen and paracetamol and the combination should help she said. Said it was normal to feel pain after a tetanus but not this length and since it hurts more lying down and when moving certain directions, she said it may be something torn. She said i need to go back to my GP but to be honest I don't think that will help! The odd thing, my flat mate has being having pains in back this week to point she off work and her pain description sounds like what I'm feeling so now have started to think a possible muscle infection that we picked up in our flat! Though most likely it is just a coincidence.These posts are all quite old so just wondering has anyone since discovered what this could be? It is very sore, worse lying down and also in the mornings. Sore to lean on but not an unbearable sore. Hard to move arm upwards mostly but also in other certain directions. Pain getting a bit more sharper as well which is starting to worry me. Would appreciate any responses with what could be done or what worked for some. I'm not a massive fan of taking meds but if steroids are the way to go then at least I can be pain free while it sorts itself out. Oh also should point out, it did not get sore until about 4 hours after my injection.
Thank you.
 
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LaurenSinnott replied to LaurenSinnott's response:
Sorry, didn't get to read all the other comments and did not see there are ones from 3 weeks ago! Will read through these and may not need a reply now. Also should point out am in England and got my injection from a doctor not a nurse. It was high up on my shoulder and on giving me injection made a note of telling me to be very still. I was but am now thinking that he asked me to be still (you don't normally get asked that as usually common sense) that the tetanus injection could be a tricky one to administer?
 
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LaurenSinnott replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
just nowLaurenSinnott responded:Hi,

I had a tetanus last Wednesday and have been in pain since then too, a lot of what you describe.I took some Voltaren on Thursday but it didn't help so didn't bother with other pain meds as Voltaren are strong and if they don't work then not much I can do! Have been told by nurse today to start on ibuprofen and paracetamol and the combination should help she said. Said it was normal to feel pain after a tetanus but not this length and since it hurts more lying down and when moving certain directions, she said it may be something torn. She said i need to go back to my GP but to be honest I don't think that will help! The odd thing, my flat mate has being having pains in back this week to point she off work and her pain description sounds like what I'm feeling so now have started to think a possible muscle infection that we picked up in our flat! Though most likely it is just a coincidence. Just wondering has anyone since discovered what this could be exactly or are we putting it down to injections? It is very sore, worse lying down and also in the mornings. Sore to lean on but not an unbearable sore. Hard to move arm upwards mostly but also in other certain directions. Pain getting a bit more sharper as well which is starting to worry me. Would appreciate any responses with what could be done or what worked for some. I'm not a massive fan of taking meds but if steroids are the way to go then at least I can be pain free while it sorts itself out. Oh also should point out, it did not get sore until about 4 hours after my injection, I am in UK and injection was done by a doctor who was paying attention and seemed to be taking care when he injected me, told me to remain very still as well. And I did. I really hope since last posts someone has figured this out as I really don't want to go through months of this hope someone can advise) Also to all those needing PT, PT is mostly exercises you can do yourself or get a friend to do, i used to work at PT clinic. You could go for one session, they give you all the exercises needed and then you would only have to back in a few months to check progress. Our PT's here try and reduce your visits and get you more pro active at doing your exercises at home. You would not need to go often if they are just going through exercises with you.
Thank you.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to LaurenSinnott's response:
It is not likely that you have a muscle infection, my friend. If your flat-mate has back pain, it is not likely to be related to your post-injection arm pain.

It could be the tetanus vaccine (or did you have a combination vaccine with diphtheria and pertussis?) itself, or the needle hitting a sensory nerve branch.

I would vote that you get your arm checked by the physician that admininistered your injection.
 
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Pugzly007 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Seems to be a running theme here. Mine is a bit different. I had a bad kidney infection, and because the hospital ER staff was so too busy to start an IV right away, I first received an injection in my upper left arm of Dilaudid and Zofran. Immediately with the Dilaudid I felt intense pain that was clearly not normal. The RN then injected in the same place with the Zofran and I literally fell off the bed from the pain. Since then, my upper arm has been extremely painful, part of the area has surface numbness, and I get burning and tingling down my arm into my fingers. I am experiencing weakness as well. I can not lay on my arm, and the pain gets so intense that I can't even have my shirt sleeve resting on it. There is NO WAY that this is normal. The injections were given 5 weeks ago.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Pugzly007's response:
You may need to see a neurologist for this one. Some IM injections are very painful, but you should not be experiencing symptoms this long after any injection.
 
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Pugzly007 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I am scheduled for a Nerve conduction this week. The pain has been getting progressively worst, and there is numbness in my upper arm, anterior bicep area, and the tingling, pain, and progressive loss of function and feeling are traveling down my arm, into my fingers.
After much research, and being a paramedic myself, I have seen and heard a lot of people complain about this problem, to mention there is a lot of documented cases that medications and flu shots injected in the wrong site, hitting a nerve, can cause damage and even necrosis of the nerve or nerve bundle it hits. Severe cases need surgery with a 50% chance at success. Pretty scary stuff. There was a lady at the hospital yesterday with long scars, one down her upper arm from shoulder, to almost elbow, and another from just below the elbow, through the forearm, to the wrist. This was caused by an Anesthesiologist attempting to do a nerve block, and missed his target, causing the medication to go outside the intended area and causing severe nerve damage. She does not have full use or feeling of her left arm.
The quick progression of my symptoms are alarming, and my IM MD suggested I get a nerve conduction study, then get a neurologist and if there is damage, sue the hospital. Quite frankly I have worked with and around doctors all of my life, and have NEVER heard them tell a patient to sue, and certainly not a hospital they have privileges at. Clearly he knows something is quite wrong, and that it was done to me by negligence.
While getting my injections, I told the RN that even before he started administering the medication that it hurt too much and was he in the right place. Instead of listening, he scoffed and injected the medication, this literally sent me off the bed in pain. He then injected me a second time withing millimeters of the first injection, despite the obvious discomfort the first injection caused, and then had the audacity to tell me to stop being a baby.
I have dislocated my knee before, broke my wrist, several fingers (on the right hand), and had my appendix burst and never once cried or even asked for narcotic pain medication. And only after the 5th kidney infection in less than a year have I asked for some relief, quite frankly, I don't think that I am a baby by any means. So if I say the injection HURT LIKE HELL, then it hurt like hell.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Pugzly007's response:
These are, indeed, the next steps. I certainly hope that things work out for you.


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