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frozen shoulder
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frozen shoulder

Hello...my girl had gotten her annual flu shot about a week ago in her shoulder...she 42 fairly active, no medical issues or past, well, about a week after the shot she had incredible pain...and went to see a doctor, and they informed her she had frozen shoulder...I have had dozens of flu shots in the past...can a person get frozen shoulder from a flu shot?? or in your professional opinion could this have been caused by an inexperienced nurse?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Your daughter's experience with the influenza vaccination is an unfortunate and extremely rare occurrence. However, it is possible that your daughter's symptoms are related to the influenza vaccine.

Where exactly in her arm did your daughter receive the injection? In the shoulder muscle (deltoid)? Above the deltoid? Below the deltoid?

There are case reports in the medical literature that describe persistent shoulder and upper arm symptoms after vaccinations. If the injection was given too high in the shoulder region, it is possible that the subdeltoid bursa can become injured and inflamed. Typical symptoms of subdeltoid bursitis include discomfort that would be worse with arm activities over your daughter's head and with raising her arm from her side (above 90 degrees)

An improper injection into the subdeltoid bursa can result in an inflammatory response (inflammation of the subdeltoid bursa = bursitis).

I encourage your daughter to remain as active as she can and to use her shoulder and arm as much as she can tolerate. Aggressive physical therapy is the evidence-based recommended treatment for frozen shoulder (medical name: adhesive capsilitis).

Her symptoms should become less and less over time. However, a complete recovery may take weeks to months.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer that for me...to my understanding it was the upper part of the shoulder, and yes, the doctor said she had bursitis...but called the common name of frozen shoulder...and now she has to do physical therapy!! we always get the flu shot, but this is the one time that now she cannot move her arm above her head, its as if the nerve is completely damaged...after getting shots for yrs, how in the world does one get bursitis, and it not be the "mis-step" of the the nurse/doctor who administered the shot??
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Using proper technique with regard to vaccination administration prevents the occurrence of bursitis because the injection is given into the deltoid or muscle of the shoulder versus the bursa and other vulnerable structures.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School
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