Physiotherapy Advice

Shoulder Pain After Vaccine Administration: Physiotherapy Helps!

It is that time of year again… Flu Season. Healthcare professionals agree that getting the flu shot is your best defence against the flu. The Government of Canada recommends that all residents of New Brunswick receive their vaccine. This is important to protect one’s own health as well as the health of our more vulnerable community members. Despite this recommendation, there are a number of reasons that people are hesitant to get their vaccine. One of these is the possibility of shoulder injury. While many people feel a slight discomfort at the site of injection for a couple of days following vaccine
administration, there are stories of people who experience persistent shoulder pain and lost of movement. It is important to know that the risk of this is very low, approximately 1 in 1 million, a much smaller risk than that of getting the flu.

Post-injection persistent shoulder pain is an uncommon, but emerging phenomenon called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA. It occurs secondary to improper landmarking and injecting technique, where the practitioner injects the vaccine into the shoulder capsule, bursa, or tendons, rather than the deltoid muscle itself. This causes an autoimmune response, which results in inflammation of the affected tissue. Patients present with shoulder inflammation, pain, and decreased mobility unrelated to a previous injury. These symptoms do not resolve with time. Depending on the tissue injected, the presenting condition may be adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), bursitis, or tendonitis. It is crucial to understand that SIRVA is not caused by the vaccine ingredients. It is a preventable condition. Extensive education efforts have been made, and vaccine providers make every effort to ensure this does not occur.

In the unfortunate event that SIRVA does occur, however, Physiotherapy and intraarticular corticosteroid injections are the recommended tools for rehabilitation. Initial Physiotherapy treatment focuses on decreasing your pain with pain relieving modalities, gentle exercises, and manual therapy. As pain decreases, your physiotherapist develops a program specific to the affected tissue in your shoulder, be it the capsule, bursa, or tendon. Treatments typically include stretching, strengthening, and functional exercise.

If you experience persistent shoulder pain following a vaccination, the highly trained therapists at Keystone Physiotherapy provide effective relief and speed your return to function. Call us today, to get the treatment you deserve.

Hours of Operation:

Mon - Thurs: 8:00am - 8:30pm
Fri: 8:00am - 3:30pm
Sat - Sun: Closed

327 St George St, Suite 100
Moncton, NB E1C 1W8

Phone: (506) 858-8644