Friday, September 29, 2023

Why Do Your Arm Hurt After A Flu Shot

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Redness Or Swelling At The Injection Site

Why your arm hurts after getting COVID vaccine

Anytime you pierce the skin and put something into the body it can cause a topical reaction, says Dr. Adalja. This is just a sign that your immune system is activating.

But this redness and swelling where you get your shot is a common side effect that only typically lasts a few days. Itll go away on its own, but if its really bugging you, you can take ibuprofen or acetominophen .

A More Surprising Reaction

Soon after the Moderna vaccine was approved in December, allergist and researcher Kimberly Blumenthal began receiving photographs of arms from colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The photos showed large red splotches around patients injection sites. Some people had a second rash below the first. Some had red marks shaped like ringed targets. Some rashes appeared on elbows and hands.

After accumulating a dozen images, Blumenthal wrote a letter for the New England Journal of Medicine with the goal of alerting physiciansand reassuring themabout the potential for delayed reactions to the vaccine. Some doctors were prescribing antibiotics for suspected infections, but the pattern she saw suggested that antibiotics were not necessary.

Unlike the rare and dangerous anaphylactic reaction that can happen immediately after injection, delayed rashes dont usually require treatment, Blumenthal says. In a biopsy of one patient, she and colleagues found a variety of T cells, suggesting a type of hypersensitivity. Delayed rashes are known to show up occasionally after other vaccines too, she adds, and they can be a sign of hypersensitivity or a normal part of the immune response. Researchers don’t yet know which is happening with the Moderna vaccine. In this case, they may appear especially common because so many people are getting vaccinated at once.

How Much It Hurts May Depend On How The Shot Was Administered

Slow injections may cause more pain, according to research published in the journal Vaccine. Researchers compared pain measurements in slow versus fast injections among infants and found that a faster shot reduced injection-induced pain when it came to certain vaccines, including the flu shot. A slower injection time means more time for the needle to be in contact with the skin, which could lead to the needle moving around more or even potentially cause muscle tissue damage, both of which make you feel sorer.

While you cant exactly predict the style of the person giving you the shot, try stroking or applying gentle pressure to the skin near the injection site during the shot, said Michael Grosso, chief medical officer at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. Just give the nurse or pharmacist a heads up if you want to do this step before they get started. They may opt to do it for you so that you dont accidentally get pricked.

Read Also: Will Getting Two Flu Shots Hurt You

Preventing Arm Pain After Vaccines

There are a few other ways to try to prevent arm pain when youre about to get your shot:

  • Request the vaccine goes in your non-dominant arm. This may help as you wont use it as frequently as your dominant arm and may not notice the soreness as much.
  • Relax your arm before your shot. Injections into clenched muscles can cause more pain.
  • You may be able to request ice or a numbing spray before your vaccination.

Although getting a vaccination isnt usually comfortable, its important to know that arm soreness is normal and usually goes away within a few days. If you have any questions and concerns about vaccines and their side effects, talk with your healthcare provider to get the best medical advice for you.

Why Does Soreness Last For A Few Days

Why your arm hurts after getting a flu shot  and how to ...

Your body’s process of reacting to the vaccine can take several days. which is why you may end up having arm soreness for that time, Holmes says. The pain from the inflammation caused by the shot itself also takes time to go away.

Think of inflammation as the pain you get after you hurt your knee or ankle that kind of pain can take a few days to resolve, Valdez say. She also adds that the small injury to your muscle from the needle also takes time to heal. The site of injection is starting block of the immune response. A lot is going on in that one site.

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Youre Having An Immunologic Response

Thats Richard Zimmermans five-word answer. Hes a professor of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and director of PittVax, a CDC-funded program that evaluates the effectiveness of flu vaccines. He explains that its not the act of injecting the vaccine that makes you sore the next dayits how your body responds to that injection.

In fact, you should be glad that your arm hurts. That means the vaccine is working.

The flu vaccine works by presenting antigens to your immune system. Antigens are proteins that allow your white blood cells to recognize foreign objects inside your body, like viruses. You build up a natural immunity to viruses once infected, because your body learns to recognize them as dangerousso if they return with a vengence, your immune system is better prepared to fight back. Vaccines take advantage of this by providing very small amounts of antigens so that your white blood cells learn what the flu virus looks like.

This is why vaccination is much less effective if the annual vaccine recipe doesnt match well with the actual flu virus. Youve built up an immunity to the wrong strain.

That inflammation is what causes you pain. Zimmerman says that only about one in five people have this local reaction, though that number varies by vaccine. Its not that those other four dont become immunethey just dont experience inflammation to the point of pain.

How To Tell Between Normal Shoulder Pain After Vaccination And Sirva

As weve detailed previously, shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration are the most common injuries resulting from flu shots and other vaccines. SIRVA can happen when a vaccine is injected into the capsule of your shoulder joint instead of your deltoid muscle. It can also occur if the needle being used is not the correct gauge or length for you, or if its administered too high on your shoulder or too deeply into your muscle. Since it is normal to experience temporary shoulder pain after receiving a vaccination, it may be worth going over some important differences and distinctions between normal shoulder pain and what might be the symptoms of a more serious shoulder injury from a vaccination.

Localized shoulder pain at the site of yourvaccine injection may be normal as there can be pain caused by the needle beinginserted into the soft tissue or muscle of your arm. It can feel like a bruise,and you may experience a little bit of swelling as well. This type of normalpain will typically go away after 2-3 days and even though your arm can bequite sore, the important distinction here is that youll still have full rangeof motion and normal function of your arm. In other words, despite thesoreness, you can still move your arm freely up and down if you had to withoutrestriction.

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Why You May Feel Arm Pain After Receiving Any Vaccine

When you receive a vaccine, your body initially thinks its been injured, similar to when you get a cut or scrape. It sends immune system cells to your arm any time your skin is broken to investigate what happened. Once your immune cells realize theres an invader in this case, the vaccine in your arm, they signal your body to relax the blood vessels around the area and send more immune cells to help fight.

This process is called vaccine reactogenicity. It allows your immune system to create antibodies infection-fighting proteins that will help prevent you from getting sick if you ever come into contact with the real virus or bacteria. Part of this process includes producing inflammation. The more inflammation your body creates, the more sore and swollen your arm will be.

Why Does My Arm Still Hurt A Month After Flu Shot

Why does your arm hurt after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Improper vaccine administration either in the pharmacy or at a doctor’s office can cause adverse reactions such as shoulder injuries. Flu shots and other vaccines can cause shoulder tendonitis, a painful condition in the upper arm caused by inflammation of the tendons connecting the shoulder muscles to the bone.

In this manner, why does my arm still hurt weeks after a flu shot?

Roughly half the flu shots administered this year are quadrivalent, so perhaps that accounts for the sore arms. Shoulder pain and limited range of motion that come on suddenly after a vaccination is believed to be due to an injury to the tendons, ligaments or bursa of the shoulder from a badly aimed needle.

can a flu shot make your arm sore for months? With SIRVA, on the other hand, an individual will usually start feeling pain within 48 hours of the vaccination, and doesn’t improve. “In patients who experience SIRVA, months may pass by, and patients will still complain of increasing pain, weakness, and impaired mobility in the injected arm.

Hereof, how long should arm be sore after flu shot?

Soreness in your arm after getting a flu vaccine typically lasts no longer than one or two days. The pain and inflammation is your body’s natural response to a foreign invader.

Why is my arm still sore after a shot?

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Does This Happen With All Immunizations

It can. Not everyone gets a sore arm from every vaccine, but different factors like how the vaccine is injected matter. An intramuscular shot like the flu, COVID-19, or tetanus shot tends to cause more arm soreness than a subcutaneous vaccine, which just goes under you skin, like the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine , Dr. Schaffner says.

Your body’s individual response also comes into play, Aline Holmes, DNP, NP, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing, tells Health. “It’s really specific to your body,” she says. “A lot of people get shots and have absolutely no reaction to them Others do.”

RELATED: CDC Director Warns Flu Season Could Be ‘Severe’ This YearHere’s Why, and How to Protect Yourself

While You Cannot Contract The Flu From The Flu Shot Vaccines Like Any Medication Come With The Risk Of Side Effects

Common side effects include: Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given low grade fever muscle aches or toughness/itching at the injection site. These reactions typically present soon after the flu shot and last one to two days.

If you experience a life-threatening allergic reaction, such as breathing problems hoarseness or wheezing hives paleness weakness increased heart rate or dizziness, seek medical attention immediately.

In some cases, symptoms of reaction persist and can develop into long-term illnesses.

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Your Good Health: Shot For Pneumonia Leads To Pain In Arm

Dear Dr. Roach: I have a badly torn rotator cuff on my left shoulder, so that arm is basically a constant problem. In January 2017, my physician suggested that I would benefit from the pneumonia vaccine and that it would take two applications, one year apart, to complete. I agreed to have the vaccine, which was administered into my upper left arm. Ever since then, I have had pain in the muscle area and at times do not have use of that arm. I have talked with the nurse, the physician assistant and also with my orthopedic doctor about this problem. They all have given me blank looks and no answer to the situation. Do you have any suggestion or remedies for this? Should I have the second injection?


I think the problem is the torn rotator cuff, and that it was exacerbated by your reaction to the vaccine.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that keep the arm in place in the shoulder during movement of the arm. If the rotator cuff is damaged, either by inflammation or from a mechanical tear, the arm will not move normally. Complications, including a frozen shoulder, are common.

I suspect that the temporary sore arm from a vaccine immobilized your arm long enough that you developed further inflammation in the shoulder.

Dear Dr. Roach: I wanted to know about the risk of cervical cancer with a partner who has HPV or herpes. Also, is there a correlation between either of these infections and cancer of the uterus?


Why A Little Bit Of Arm Pain Is Necessary Each Year

Why does my arm hurt the day after I get my flu shot?

Even if you received a flu shot in a previous year, you should still protect yourself with a new vaccination this year. This is because the vaccine is developed based on the specific flu strains scientists expect to be the most dangerous this year. Doctors recommend getting vaccinated in fall, but it is never too late to get the flu shot. Getting it late is better than not at all.

Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Flu Shot While Sick

How Effective Are They

This weeks expansion of the booster jab comes after Boris Johnson was shown data last Friday suggesting that two doses of a Covid vaccine provide little protection against Omicron.

The UK Health Security Agency said that early estimates indicated that Omicron significantly reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic infection, when compared with the previously dominant Delta infection.

However, boosters are thought to provide around 70 to 75 per cent protection against the new variant.

It is still unclear whether Omicron will affect the ability of vaccines to protect against hospital admissions and deaths, but the UKHSA said that on the basis of past experience protection from a booster dose is likely to be substantially higher than the estimates against symptomatic disease.

What Exactly Is Sirva

Ken Donohue, MD, a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, explains to Health that SIRVA is an extremely rare condition in which pain and loss of function in the shoulder occurs following a vaccinationusually within 48 hours of administration of an injection in people who had no shoulder issues prior to injection. It can result in shoulder pain, weakness, stiffness or nerve inflammation . In very rare cases, it can result in nerve injury.

Just how uncommon is it? I have seen very few cases of this in my patients as an orthopedic shoulder specialist, Dr. Donohue maintains. And because it is so rare, there is little information available about it.

According to a 2012 case report published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, the concept that adverse reactions, specifically those involving the shoulder, are very rare. At the time of the report, researchers noted that only a single article on the concept existed. Seven years later, research is still incredibly limited.

While any sort of vaccination can lead to SIRVA, researchers found the majority were the result of the influenza vaccine. According to the report, nearly all who have reported such an injury, developed it within 24 hours.

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No Pain In Arm Or Shoulder After Flu Shot This Year

I posted the original question, regarding my awful experience last year with the flu shot I received, and this question/ASK received many responses! Is it normal for my arm muscle in my shoulder to hurt 2 weeks after the flu shot?.

Actually…it ended up hurting for 3-5 months, and was painful enough to disrupt my sleep, prohibit some movement when trying to pick up my 1 year old son, and caused me to wonder if something was damaged in my arm. I did not want to seem like a whiny patient, or to exaggerate my symptoms or anything .

Can You Prevent Arm Pain Before Your Flu Vaccine

Why Do Some Shots Make Your Arm Hurt So Much?

There aren’t really any good hacks to lower your risk of arm pain ahead of time, Jamie Alan, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology at Michigan State University, tells Health. “You can pre-medicate with something like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but there is some evidence that taking these medications may make vaccinations less effective,” she says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backs this up: In listing out considerations to take before getting your COVID-19 vaccine specifically, the CDC says it’s “not recommended” to take over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen before you get the vaccine to prevent side effects. That’s because “it is not known how these medications might affect how well the vaccine works,” the CDC says.

Basically, without a ton of conclusive evidence on how, if, or why pain relievers may impact vaccine effectiveness, you’ll probably want to err on the side of caution and skip them before your shot .

Another tip: Alan says it’s a good idea to relax your arm “as much as possible” before your shot to keep your muscles from tensing and prevent the needle from having to work a little harder to get in there.

And, while this won’t necessarily change whether you’re sore or not after, it’s generally a good idea to get your vaccine in your non-dominant arm, Dr. Schaffner says. “If you do get a sore arm, it will interfere less with your function,” he says. “You can write more easily and do the usual things.”

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