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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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ely4jacc responded:
Yes, my name is Christie, I live in Rome, Ga. I have always gotten the Flu vaccine every year also. I have never had any problems before, until last year & this year. Last year I just thought that I had muscular problems, was even diagnosised with Fibromyalgia, and then 2 days ago I got the flu shot and then started with all of the pain again yesterday, just like last year. It took almost 8-12 months for most of my problems to go away. Then when I got the flu shot 2 days ago and started hurting bad again today, I realized that it was the flu shot that caused all of my problems last year too.
My are is barely sore where I got the shot at. I have an achiness from the top of my head to the middle of my back and down both of my arms with weakness. Last year I ended up hurting all over my whole body before I ever started to feel better. I will never get the flu shot again.
Any suggestions of what to do now?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to ely4jacc's response:
If you and your doctor feel that the flu shot is the cause of your symptoms, then I guess the flu shot is not for you. Your reactions are not typical of flu vaccine, however. The vast majority of people have no adverse reactions.

Depending on your immune system, you will be vulnerable to influenze without the vaccine, so you will need to do what you can to protect yourself, especially in crowds. Some people wear surgical masks, and increase their personal handwashing. If you do get the flu, make sure to ask your doctor for Tamiflu, an antiviral medication that will shorten the course of the disease.
 
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SWML4 replied to ely4jacc's response:
I got a flu shot two weeks ago and am experiencing many of the same symptoms in my upper right arm where the injection was given. The shot was at a site higher than usual. My pain is worse during the night and morning. I can't move my arm across my body, too high, or behind my back. At times when the pain has been at the highest levels I have to use my other hand to help lift my right arm. This was not my first flu shot, however, it is the only one I've ever had this type of reaction. Until now I never heard of this happening but as I read the various posts on numerous websites it isn't so uncommon. (I had it done at Sam's club by a visiting clinic whereas before it was always done in my doctor's office...from now on I will stick with the doctor. (no pun intended)
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to SWML4's response:
When an injection is given incorrectly, it doesn't matter who did it...your doctor's office or Sam's. Bad is bad.

I am sorry that this happened to you. If you are not improving over time (in a few weeks), you will need to see your regular doctor for an examination.
 
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reimelle replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I got a flu shot 10/11/2011. The site of injection was mildly sore as per usual, but after some 6 hours, I began having terrible pain in the shoulder above the injection site. Two days later, the pain is slightly better but certainly not gone. I have gotten flu shots for at least 25 years and never had any type of reaction. I have to believe the nurse inserted the needle in some manner to have caused this. I am hoping the pain will subside soon. I have been using Tylenol and a heating pad.
 
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whatanightmare replied to reimelle's response:
I also just got a flu shot (10/6/2011). That was 7 days ago. The injection didn't hurt that much, but my arm started to get sore a few hours later. By the next day I could hardly work at my job (I'm a nurse & work in the O.R.) But I figured it might be sore for a day or two. Well, the pain got worse and has not gotten better after an entire week now. The pain radiates from my deltoid down into my arm and up into my shoulder blade and neck. I have had trouble sleeping (can't lay on that side) Cannot lift my arm without extreme pain. Difficult to get dressed, carry my purse, or even push off (bear weight) that arm to get out of bed. It cracks and crunches in the shoulder joint too. I get sharp pain if I move it laterally or even reach across my chest. I also googled "arm pain after flu shot" and this forum came up. Reading that there are others out there experiencing exactly what I am is comforting (so I'm NOT crazy!) BUT... I am so worried because NOBODY is posting that they are getting better! Even afters months and years!! I cannot imagine living with this pain for a long period of time! Please if there is anybody out there that IS feeling better--please post! I am a 50 year old female who is very healthy and very athletic. I am a cyclist and also LOVE to swim. I cannot raise my arm above my head--swimming is impossible right now and I'm so scared I will never swim again. I am very depressed but mostly very angry. I never wanted the flu shot and do not believe in injecting anything foreign into our bodies when we are healthy to begin with. This vaccination is mandatory at my job since I'm a nurse and believe me, I am making sure they pay for all of my medical expenses! I have not been able to work so I am getting disability for the next week, but worry about how I'll feel after that. My nurse supervisor gave me the shot and I trust her--she is a good nurse. But it IS possible she injected it too high in my deltoid. I talked to her yesterday and she was very upset. Nobody else has had a reaction where I work. I filled out an incident report and she sent me to employee health where an MD evaluated me. He looked at me like I was crazy! However he did diagnose me with bursitis and frozen shoulder. He prescribed a Medrol pack for a week and also PT. I have always taken Mobic once a day and I think if I didn't the pain would even be worse!! Reading about a few other people that have ended up with a rotator cuff tear really frightens me. I have done nothing prior to that flu shot that could've caused this. I didn't even swim the week before I got it. It IS definitely from the shot. I am going to work on contacting the CDC and filling out a VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) There is an Advisory Commission called SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration) for which the CDC and FDA are working on a reporting protocol and information bulletin. I feel strongly that those out there having this problem should be compensated by the CDC--at least to cover their medical expenses. I haven't done it yet, but apparently you can file a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the website www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.
 
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whatanightmare replied to whatanightmare's response:
Just realized that "Myarmhurtstoo" posted some great links in one of her previous posts. I am going to this website to fill out the VAERS online: http://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index. Thanks to "Myarmhurtstoo" for posting all the valuable links. By the way, its been a long time since she posted--I wonder if she is better now???
 
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Myarmhurtstoo replied to whatanightmare's response:
Hi Whatanightmare it's me...Myarmhurtstoo!

My story continues but for the most part my LEFT shoulder (the flu shot one) is much better. You mentioned Medrol and that immediately relieved my pain, which returned when I finished the pack. We got the shots at my work and the wives of both my boss and my co-worker had the same problem. One is my age around 50, the other mid 30's. That's 3 of the 5 females vaccinated here. The younger one recovered after a few months. Mine didn't get noticably better until around four months (January 2011) and has slowly improved since then. If I really overdo it even now I can tell a difference from "pre-shot" but it does not really hurt. My bosses wife is still having problems. She went through intensive physical therapy that I didn't. I have a theory (just my opinion) that while it is important to keep it moving to prevent frozen shoulder, I feel (based on other's experiences) that TOO aggresive physical therapy is not the best approach. It seems to aggrevate the inflamation.

My new issue is my right shoulder. After all those months of sleeping on only my right side I started noticing soreness. Then I got really sick around the holidays and spent about a week in bed...on my right shoulder. Turns out I have a bit of arthritis in my AC joint where the collar bone joins the top of the shoulder blade. So it flared up and was very painful for about six months. That, thankfully, is now easing but neither shoulder is getting a flu shot this year. Even if given properly I'm afraid the proximity to either shoulder just might cause a flare up. I may ask about getting it in the Glute or Thigh muscle at my local clinic. I was always pro flu vaccine but the level and duration of the pain I went through has made me rethink.

If you read all my previous posts you will have access to a lot of the resources I did. They have been aware of this "anomoly" since around 2007 when it was 1st noticed and published. Summer of 2010 at a convention of VICAP's Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines it even warranted a few pages of their Power Point presentation. Some of the figures? Of those with shoulder issues, 82% were female with a mean age of 52. Pain onset less than 24 hrs later (mine was about 6 hrs) in 91% with 64% recalling immediate pain. Diagnoses: bursitis, rotator cuff injury, adhesive capsulitis. Sound familiar?

My bosses wife was diagnosed with bursitis, her doc thinks the vaccine was injected directly into the bursa. I'm thinking mine may have been around the bicep tendon because of the symptoms I was having, but that is just a guess. I never had an MRI ($$$) or PT ($$$) because based on what I read online from other victims neither seemed to be a sure fire cure. I just didn't have the money to spend on something that prob wouldn't work or a test that was "inconclusive." The only thing that seemed to help was time and possibly lots of it.

I believe (and again, just my opinion I am not a doctor) based on all the info I have gathered that these symptoms are the result of a faulty injection...most likely too high on the shoulder. Since the problem affects middle aged females in higher percentages, I'm thinking maybe a combination of lower muscle mass plus that group's higher suseptability to frozen shoulder. If you look at the Deltoid muscle, the upper third has significantly less mass than the lower 2/3. So, older women with generally less muscle mass more prone to inflammation given the shot high in the upper third thinner part of the delt equals problems. The needle seems to pass through the muscle entirely placing the vaccine where it doesn't need to be. And it is prob not the dead flu bug causing the uproar...more likely the preservatives, mercury, etc. all the other nasty stuff in the cocktail.

So I DO think you will get well over time. Depending on your specifics prob a matter of months. BUT it does get better! Good luck and keep us posted!!!
 
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Myarmhurtstoo replied to whatanightmare's response:
Wow, just found this now. I don't believe it was available last year when I did all my research. I hope the link posts correctly but it seems that the issue discussed in the summer of 2010 (the Power Point presentation I mentioned just touched on SIRVA) was summed up and published in a comprehensive PDF document. About 20 pages are devoted entirely to this issue...basically what we have already kinda/sorta figured out ourselves but here they go into detail. Good stuff! Still no suggestions of what to do ONCE YOU ARE INJURED to get better, mostly on prevention and better training of those administering the vaccines...good reading.

http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/accvtranscript9310.pdf
 
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whatanightmare replied to Myarmhurtstoo's response:
Hi "Myarmhurtstoo"!! THANK YOU for responding to my post!
(Its me "whatanightmare")

Wow, I read some of that presentation (starts at about page 15) VERY interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing that--I'm printing out the pages that cover the SIRVA info. Today is the 9th day after my injection and the 4th day on the Medrol Pak. Yesterday was probably the worse day, but this morning I have to say the pain is slightly better, although I am much stiffer. I definitely have a frozen shoulder and I have been icing it (I was putting the heating pad on it, but read that I should be icing it). Trying to do a little Range of Motion with it too. It started "clicking" when I move it too! Neither of my shoulders have EVER done that! In fact I have never had a problem with my shoulders. I am very muscular since I swim and work out. I just can't believe this is happening to me--the pain is awful. Hard to imagine what it would feel like without the steroids or Mobic that I take once a day. I've had to take Vicodan to help me sleep at night too.

I got a phone call from the administrator at my job yesterday--apparently they are NOT going to cover me and have denied me workers comp! Well, of course this is workers comp--it happened at my work AND they required it. I have to use my PTO (sick time) for days off and I don't have many hours. Thank heavens I DO have insurance, so I have made an appt. to see my ortho doctor on monday. I think its important that I start PT as soon as possible. But I am still going to try and file a work comp claim. I also found out that the CDC does have a compensation program for those injured. But you have to wait at least 6 months before filing a claim. Have you looked into that? BTW, I did file a report to VAERS. I wish I could find more recent information on all of this. Like you, I also believe that it has more to do with the actual site of the injection and also the proper needle. My opinion is that the dead virus is the safest part of the vaccine--but we can never discount the possibility of a reaction from the adjuvant (the "other nasty stuff in the cocktail").

I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with your right shoulder now, but so relieved to hear that the left shoulder is finally better. I guess I just have to be patient and accept that this is going to take time. I suppose I can deal with a few months (just hope its not going to take years!) What choice do I have? lol. Trying to stay positive. Thanks again for sharing your posts and for the encouragement as well!
 
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ncisfans responded:
stumbled on this blog and would like to say that since my shot 2wks ago, my shoulder feels like the needle is still stuck inside.... it's not as painful as it was the 1st few days, but the muscle feels torn, or ..... something.... very weird... after reading previous posts, was wondering if that might be in relation to the nerve ending issue that was mentioned. i too, am active and exercise daily, but i know i was tensed up when i received this shot... dang thing still hurts
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to ncisfans's response:
Yes...join the crowd. I suspect that you are another victim of an improperly given injection. If you do not completely recover, you will need to see your medical provider. Next year, see if you can get a FluMist instead (sprays in your nose -- NO needle).
 
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debkinerk responded:
I had that experience maybe eight years ago and skipped the flu shot for years. Last year I tried to give it a try and it was normal--just a couple of days with mild pain. This year I got a flus shot again and DAMN. I have the same reaction I did years ago. It took SO long to recover from. I'm bummed. I've gone through breast cancer--surgery, chemo,raiation--this year, and I just want to be well. When I went to the doctor the first time ith appened, he said he had no clue why I was suffering the pain, but now that I've read about your steroid treatment, I might go see my doc (a different one form the first). I'm NEVER getting a flus shot again.
I agree. No one has ever pinpointed the problem. I'm think that, since I got it, then didn't, then did, that it must be either the placement of the shot or an ingredient that was included in the two painful shots and wasn't in others. But I'd like to KNOW.
 
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NervousWrecked replied to debkinerk's response:
I too have had relentless pain and tingling, numbness and double vision since a series of vaccines in 2007/2008. It's also in the shoulder - I had shoulder surgery last month due to inpingement. Unfortunately, it's not gotten better with meds or PT, despite having numerous tests and seeing many specialists.
I am now in the midst of a vaccine injury claim with the Vaccine court. I would urge everyone to report any adverse events with VAERS, AND to look into filing a claim with the Vaccine Court (though it's not for the faint of heart.) The pharma companies and the Department of Heatlh and Human Services need to be held accountable for these injuries.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to NervousWrecked's response:
I would be very interested in the outcome of your claim, whether this is vaccine-related or injection related. What was your "series of vaccines"?

Has anyone given you an explanation as to the reason for your double vision? Personally, I have never heard this as a side-effect.


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