Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Why Is My Arm Sore After The Vaccine Shot

Askst: Why Is My Arm Sore After Getting The Covid

Why your arm hurts after getting COVID vaccine

SINGAPORE – The most common side effect experienced among those who have received a Covid-19 vaccine has been soreness around the injection site.

This was also more frequent among younger vaccine recipients, with 83 per cent of those between 18 and 55 reporting sore arms after receiving the first jab, noted a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine clinical trial. This compared with 71 per cent of those aged above 55.

Similarly, 87 per cent of people under the age of 65 reported localised pain after the first shot of the Moderna vaccine during clinical trials, compared with 74 per cent of those over 65.

The Straits Times looks at why the side effects vary between different groups of people.

First Why Does The Flu Vaccine Cause A Sore Arm

There are actually a few different things that can lead to you having a little arm soreness after your flu shot, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Health. For starters, the flu shot is an intramuscular vaccine, which means that it’s injected directly into a muscle in your arm.

“You just had puncture in your skin and muscle,” Dr. Adalja says. “That’s going to hurt and there will be some inflammation that occurs post-trauma to that muscle and skin.”

At the same time, there’s a localized immune response happening in your arm where the vaccine was injected, William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Health. Meaning, your immune system jumps into action to react to the vaccine where it was injectedin your arm. “Your immune system is really starting to take advantage of that vaccine and working on it,” Dr. Schaffner says.

Add those two factors together and you can end up with a sore arm.

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Are Side Effects Worse After The Second Covid Vaccine

For many recipients, side effects are worse after the second dose, says Anderson. Local inflammation from the bodys inflammatory response leads to redness, warmth, swelling, and pain at the injection site.

When enough of these substances are released, muscle aches can occur and you begin to feel tired, Anderson explains, With the second dose, your immune system is really fired up and ready to immediately and forcefully respond to the vaccine components. However, he adds, this is a good sign your body is mounting a strong immune response. And if you dont have any side effects from the vaccine, it doesnt mean the vaccine didnt work or that you have a weak immune system. The protective immunity afforded by the vaccines takes longer to develop and isnt associated with these side effects, Anderson says.

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Why Is The Covid

The deltoid muscle has an excellent blood supply that helps spread the vaccine in the body.

The COVID-19 Vaccine is an Intermuscular Injection or IM. The means that it is injected into muscle tissue. The shoulder has a large group of muscles called the deltoid. Unlike other areas of the body, The deltoid muscle has an excellent blood supply that helps spread the vaccine in the body. Muscle cells such as the deltoid also contain immune cells that basically capture the vaccine. These COVID -19 cells then flow to the lymph system, which is like a large gathering place for the immune system.

Possible Side Effects After Getting A Covid

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

CDC has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines with a preference for people to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine . Read CDCs media statement.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect people from getting COVID-19. Adults and children may have some side effects from the vaccine, which are normal signs that their body is building protection. These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects, and allergic reactions are rare.

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration collected data on each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines for a minimum of two months after the final dose. CDC is continuing to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines even now that the vaccines are in use.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Rare cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported more often after getting the second dose than after the first dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Get a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 years and older as soon as you can.

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Helpful Tips To Relieve Side Effects

Talk to a doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin , or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort experienced after getting vaccinated.

People can take these medications to relieve side effects after vaccination if they have no other medical reasons that prevent them from taking these medications normally. Ask your childs healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home to comfort your child after vaccination.

It is not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects.

What Exercise Can I Do To Relieve My Arm Soreness After Receiving The Covid

Simple stretching and active arm movements are key to alleviating your arm soreness, such as:

Table slides

Place your hand on a table and gently slide it forward until your arm is extended. Repeat 10-20 times

Table slide starting position

Table slide ending position

Posterior capsule stretch

Grab your elbow and pull your arm across the front of your body. Hold 20 seconds 3 times.

Posterior capsule stretch


Lean forward and let the arm hang, gently rock your body side and back to front. Repeat 20 times.

Wall slides

Place your hand on the wall slide your arm up the wall as high as you can. Repeat 10 times.

Wall slide starting position

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/6what Causes Pain At The Injection Site

Side-effects with a vaccine can show up in a number of ways- mostly in the form of systematic and inflammatory reactions. With most people who do get vaccinated, pain in the arm where you get jabbed, or experiencing soreness, stiffness, difficulty in moving the arm around could be common reactions.

Even so, the numbness and the pain caused vis-a-vis injections could be temporary, the side-effects could throw people off their normal routines and be disturbing, it can be intriguing to wonder what causes it in the first place.

Pain and tenderness at the site of injection are actually one of the first side-effects that kick in when you get the vaccine jab. It also is part of the localized response when you get vaccinated, i.e. the effects which kick in at the exact spot where the jab is given.

The reaction that causes arm soreness is an example of how the body first perceives the vaccine to be. When you do get the shot, the body considers it to be an injury, much like a bleed or a cut and sends immune cells to the arm and relaxes the blood vessels. As a part of the process, the immune cells also cause inflammation, which later helps you protect against the same pathogen if you ever encounter it again. This is what experts call a ‘reactogenicity’ of the vaccine. Some of the arm irritation also comes from the muscle reacting to the small amount of vaccine liquid that was injected into the arm.

What Kind Of Arm Exercises Should You Do After Youve Been Vaccinated

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

You dont need to go overboard here and do any vigorous exercises like lifting weights , Alan says.

Normal everyday use of ones arm will help, Dr. Sulapas says. If you want to go the extra mile, though, he suggests doing arm circles both small and big sporadically after youve gotten the shot. You can also do gentle shoulder stretches to promote blood flow to the area.

The CDC also offers up another remedy for dealing with a sore arm post-vaccination: Apply a cool, clean, wet washcloth to the area to help soothe it.

Its really important to listen to your entire body, though. If you experience a fever, chills, or a general feeling of being unwell, keep the arm exercises gentle and give your body some time to rest as it responds to the vaccine.

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/6why Do You Experience Soreness Post Vaccination

There are many COVID-19 vaccine side-effects that are mild and reactogenic in nature. Most of these tend to resolve on their own, but seldom could be troublesome, based on their intensity. Pain in the arm, and soreness is one such side-effect.

Post-vaccination, the site of injection- where the vaccine is administered can turn sore, pain or sometimes even swell up due to inflammation. It is also one of the most common vaccine side-effects reports across the world and takes the longest to resolve. The inflammatory side-effect can be so extreme for some, it has been actually referred to as ‘COVID arm’.

Exercises To Relieve Arm Soreness After The Covid

Muscle soreness often occurs after performing a new or an intense exercise. These days however, many people are experiencing muscle soreness in their arm following the COVID-19 vaccination. This is a common reaction and should only last a few days according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This side effect is a sign that your body is building protection. The good news is, you can help relieve the soreness through movement! Here are just a few stretches and exercises you can use to help reduce the pain in your arm following the vaccine.

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Will Pain And Other Symptoms Be Worse After Receiving A Second Shot

It may be. While everyones immune system is unique, it is not unusual for injection site reactions pain, swelling, or redness or other side effects to be worse with booster shots. While this is most often seen with routine childhood immunizations that require multiple injections, it can happen with adult immunizations as well, including the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine and the two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

How Does It Happen

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SIRVA can happen if a medical worker gives you a vaccine shot too high up on your upper arm. That could accidentally damage tissues or structures in the shoulder.

The right place to give this type of shot is in the middle, thickest part of the deltoid, a large triangular muscle that goes from your upper arm bone to your collarbone.

To prevent SIRVA and give these shots properly, many medical workers are trained to look or feel for specific physical âlandmarksâ on the arm that guide them to the deltoid muscle.

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When Should I Be Concerned About Post

While some levels of stiffness and pain are to be expected after you get vaccinated, Dr. Jain says that it shouldn’t last for more than 24 to 48 hours. The symptoms might be more intense after the second COVID vaccine injection, he explains, but soreness in and of itself isn’t a red flag. It’s not specific to COVID vaccinations, either â Dr. Jain tells Bustle that your arm is likely to get sore after most vaccine shots.

But again, it’s nothing to worry about if it remains a matter of soreness. Some other post-vaccine symptoms are more worrisome. “If you experience any signs of anaphylaxis, facial swelling, numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes, or intractable nausea and vomiting, you should immediately seek medical help, as these are signs of a serious adverse event,” Dr. Jain advises.

Who Feels The Pain

Among the people I know who have been vaccinated so far, some have felt little to no soreness. Others couldnt sleep for days because of the pain. One friend who got the Pfizer shot said it felt like he had been punched by a professional boxer.

For symptoms like arm pain, individual variation is the norm, and studies suggest multiple explanations. Age can diminish immune reactions, for example. So can higher BMIs, found a recent preprint study.

Genetics likely plays a role in varied and complex ways, experts say. And gender matters, too. In addition to a vast literature on sex differences and immunity, women appear to experience more side effects then men in response to a COVID-19 vaccine, according to emerging evidence, even though men seem to suffer a larger impact from the virus itself.

Pain perception is another X-factor. Everyone processes pain signals differently. And fear and anxiety can exacerbate the feelings of pain, says Anna Taddio, a pharmacy professor who studies pain related to medical procedures in children at the University of Toronto.

Studies show that fear of needles is an important barrier to vaccination for a significant number of people. A quarter of adults reported being afraid of needles in a 2012 study by Taddio and colleagues. According to one new analysis of 119 published studies, 16 percent of adults and 27 percent of hospital employees avoided flu shots because of needle fears.

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Swollen Lymph Nodes Causing A Sore Armpit After An Mrna Covid

If you or someone you know is suffering from armpit pain after receiving a covid-19 vaccine or booster shot heres what you need to know.

Armpit pain is a recognised side effect of the Moderna and Pfizer -BioNTech covid vaccines – the ones that use mRNA technology. While it can be painful it is usually entirely normal and generally does not require medical intervention.

This reaction was seen during the trials of both Moderna and Pfizer -BioNTech vaccines and is a normal reaction of the immune system. Because of this doctors are keen to allay fears about armpit pain reactions and avoid unnecessary testing or treatment for something that will resolve by itself in a short period of time.

According to the New York Times, 11.6% of patients in the Moderna study had such a reaction after the first dose and 16% after the second, while with the Pfizer-BioNTech there was a lower reported rate, at only 0.3% of participants.

Is Arm Pain Normal After A Covid Vaccine

Health check: Here’s why you experience arm pain after the COVID-19 vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , arm soreness is an expected side effect of COVID-19 vaccines. In Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine clinical trials, most participants experienced some injection site pain in their arm, which is on par with Moderna and Pfizer’s research, which indicates that over 83% and 84% of folks experience arm soreness after getting their vaccine.

Arm pain post-shot isn’t unique to the COVID vaccine â if you’re gotten your flu shot in the last few years, you know that the arm soreness is often par for the course. Typically, you’ll only be sore for a day or two. The pain might last a bit longer if you’re bruised as well, Dr. Jain says. Sometimes the injection disrupts a blood vessel, hence a bruise and a bit more soreness. “Bruising is not a concern in itself, and if the soreness is due to a visible bruise, this soreness may last up to two weeks,” Dr. Jain tells Bustle.

Arm pain is normal, but a severe reaction is not. If you’re vomiting, your face is swelling, or you’ve got numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes, then Dr. Jain says it’s time to check in with your doctor. Run-of-the-mill soreness, however, is common and should dissipate on its own.

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How To Treat A Sore Arm After Your Shot

As stated before, if you have a sore arm after your COVID-19 vaccine, it should only last for a few days. But If youre uncomfortable, there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Move your arm after your shot. Using your arm and making a point to move it often after youve been vaccinated stimulates blood flow to the area. It can also help reduce soreness, according to Richard Watkins, MD. Dr. Watkins is an infectious disease specialist and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
  • Try a cool compress. Applying a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area may help reduce soreness, Valdez says. This may bring down the inflammation, much like when you ice your knees after exercise or injury, she says.
  • Continue using your arm. It can be tough if youre uncomfortable, but stretching and continuing to use your arm can help minimize or reduce soreness, Watkins says.

The CDC recommends talking to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicines, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for arm soreness and other post-vaccination pain. Do not take these medications if you have any condition that would normally prevent you from taking them.

How Do I Treat Post

It’s not too difficult to alleviate post-vaccine soreness at your injection site. “Icing the injection site for 20 minutes several times a day can help to reduce discomfort,” Dr. Jain says. If you’ve experienced bruising from the needle disrupting any blood vessels, that should fade on its own within a couple of weeks.

When icing doesn’t feel like it’s enough to ease your discomfort, Dr. Jain tells Bustle that it’s generally alright to take an OTC pain reliever like Tylenol. “Ideally, you want to let the immune system do its job and to not interfere with the inflammatory response,” he explains. “However, if you are experiencing extreme discomfort due to the symptoms caused by this inflammatory response, you can take Tylenol. The relief provided by Tylenol should not affect the efficacy of the vaccine.” That’s good news for both your arm and your immune system.


Dr. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., doctor double-board certified in immunology and internal medicine, Columbia Asthma and Allergy Clinic

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