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Is it normal for my arm muscle in my shoulder to hurt 2 weeks after flu shot?

By December 7, 2008 - 7:32am
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Pain from flu shot

I was happy to receive the flu shot this year, as I feel like it's "doing my part" to stop the spread of the influenza virus. Plus, any inoculation that can either prevent, or lessen the symptoms, of flu is motivation to me!

I've received the flu shot annually, for the past 10 years. I have the typical soreness at site, possibly a little tired that evening. But that's it.

This year...my shoulder muscle (at the site of the injection) is still painful, so much that I can't move my arm forward at shoulder-level, or lift my arm up over my head, without a sharp pain in that one muscle. If my arm is still, it does not hurt. It is affecting my sleep, as I am confined to sleeping on only my right side (it is my left arm that hurts).

Are there any other reports of this flu shot symptom? Did I just not move my arm enough after the shot (kind of "favored it"), or is there something else wrong??

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EmpowHER Guest

A few years ago I received the flu shot. Within a few days I was in severe pain and could not lift my arm. To make a long story short, after an MRI, It showed a tendon was almost completely torn in my shoulder from the injection. It was not the flu shot but an error in the way it was administered. I’ve had to have 2 cortisone shots in my shoulder which really helped, but the orthopedic said it really needs surgery. Get an MRI as X-rays and ultra sounds probably won’t show the damage. It took 2 months to finally get a diagnosis.

October 12, 2019 - 2:00am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for sharing your story. Anon. The general consensus seems to be that it's the placement of these shots that is causing the issue, not the shot itself (the ingredients).

I'm curious who administered the shot? A nurse? Did you get the shot at a drugstore/pharmacy?


October 14, 2019 - 1:35pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to SusanC)

In the past, I had always gotten my shots at the CVS Minute Clinic by a nurse, with no problems. The shot that created the problem two years ago (too low in my arm) was administered by the pharmacist because the Minute Clinic nurse had a long backlog that day. Yes, it's not the ingredients that cause the problems, it's when placement of the shot site is wrong. Wish I had known then what I know now.

October 17, 2019 - 2:56pm
EmpowHER Guest

Having same problem although there were circumstances behind mine I believe. I am at the drs for another reason and the nurse stated the flu vaccines were in I said yes as always. She asked me if I had a problem with her giving me the shot I stated that would be fine. She poked me with the shot and then she said out loud * oh this is supposed to be in the muscle and she adjusted the needle without removing it in the direction of my muscle. Now it has been 6 weeks since this happened and I am having difficulty with motion & extreme pain in my arm. Went back to my primary to find out about why i am in pain and she gave me a ultrasound and an x-ray which showed nothing. She set me up with an orthopedic dr appointment is today. I am just trying to figure out why all this when I know when & who the injury happened. I tried to tell my primary & she stated for me to stop saying that my pain is from the shot and until we figure it out I should not mention it again. I am beginning to think I may need to go out of network to get a different dr opinion. What I want to know is how to fix what had happened. How long before I have full motion of my arm again, will it go away on its own? It seems the dr since she was not there didn't want to throw her nurse under the bus. sorta speak. But I was there I know what she said about the needle needing to be in the muscle and the adjustment the nurse made. But I guess that does not matter to my dr. smdh I will recap when I get back from the ortho dr on his diagnosis.

October 11, 2019 - 6:16am
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello, Anon,

It does seem as though how the shot was given might be the cause, especially if this has not happened with other flu shots you have had. Your doctor is trying to keep you silent rather than admit that the way the shot was administered might be to blame. A second opinion is reasonable.

Please keep us updated.


October 11, 2019 - 2:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

In September 2017 I received a flu shot for the 25th year in a row, no issues and no flu in 25 years. In the past several years I have goten my flu shot at a local CVS Minute Clinic. Last year the Clinic was busy so the pharmacist gave me the shot instead. After several months, when the pain did not go away, I went to my doctor and was informed that I have something the CDC calls SIRVA (shoulder injury related to vaccine administration). He said it's NOT about the flu shot per se, but it caused by ANY vaccine being administered too HIGH or too LOW, somehow affecting the deltoid muscle in the arm. Thinking back, it felt like the pharmacist was injecting me pretty low but I did not question it at the time. I have had (off and on) pain in my arm, back, shoulder and neck. I'd love to know how I can get rid of this pain without drugs or shots, which all have long-term effects. Sometimes I even have to ice my back while at work or the pain awakens me at night. I'm about to get another flu shot and my doctor said to get it in my other arm.

October 28, 2018 - 8:50am
EmpowHER Guest

I work at a hospital clinic... they came around and gave shots... I have had pain in my right arm ever since. The second day there was a 3 inch know in my right arm. Now it wakes me up if I turn and lay on that arm. It is painful just working. I have never had anything like this since getting flu shots... it is a continuous dull aching pain.

October 25, 2018 - 9:15am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm having the same symptoms right now. MRI shows I have some tears.. have been getting the flu shot for 10 years without a problem. I dont know if flu shot caused a tear or just sparked the pain. If I had any tear in my arm before the flu shot I had no symptoms and no idea I had any tears at all. I just started physical therapy.

October 19, 2018 - 4:41am

The thing that helped me the most was a cortisone shot in my shoulder for the Frozen Shoulder I had developed. There are some shoulder exercises you can do also. Some use a large stretching band.

October 11, 2018 - 3:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

Had the same experience this year (Sept 2018). Went to Target CVS clinic for flu shot and two weeks later I cannot lift my arm up in front of my face or straight up without severe difficulty and pain. I know I was relaxed when she gave me the shot, and I've had one every year for many, many years. This time I felt it immediately and she even knew she hit something that I was definitely "going to feel". I'm hope this isn't long-term!

October 11, 2018 - 11:20am
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