Category Chiropractic, News

Experiencing shoulder pain after vaccination is far more common than you might think. Although it is a condition that medical professionals widely recognise, it is somewhat under-reported. During the Covid-19 era, many people have taken several vaccinations, and shoulder pain is not an unusual symptom. Doctors often refer to this problem as “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration” (SIRVA). Sometimes this can also progress into what is known as a “frozen shoulder”. It is an adverse vaccine event, which is unrelated to the administered vaccine type.

frozen shoulder after vaccination

Vaccines such as the Covid-19 mRNA shot work when doctors inject them into the muscle tissue. People experience shoulder pain after vaccination when the vaccine is not properly injected into the muscle. It can occur when the needle is placed too deeply or too high. Also the needle can pierce the bursa, a small structure below the muscle and release the vaccine there. The result is a robust immune-mediated inflammatory reaction that causes pain and a limited range of motion. This pain can last for many weeks after receiving the vaccination. It is a more severe reaction than simple needle trauma.

Patients who have experienced shoulder pain after vaccination often wonder how to get treatment for the condition. The good news is that surgical intervention is usually not necessary. Doctors can treat SIRVA through a range of non-invasive treatments.

Who is at risk of developing SIRVA

Vaccine related injuries are rare, but they do sometimes occur. Vaccine administration techniques are usually the cause of SIRVA and anyone who receives a misdirected shot can experience it. Even so, some people are more at risk than others of having shoulder pain after vaccination. Those with a lower BMI have a higher risk of needle overpenetration, especially when needles are longer than usual.

Relieve pain in the shoulder after vaccination at Maple Healthcare

People who are in their 40s to 60s tend to have a higher risk of adverse effects in this situation. It is also more common in women than in men, with more than 80% of SIRVA cases affecting women. Children are far less likely than adults to suffer from this issue.

Beyond these groups, cases of SIRVA tend to be more prevalent among people with certain underlying health conditions. These conditions include diabetes and thyroid disorders. Among diabetics, those suffering from Type 1 diabetes or those who are insulin dependent are most at risk of SIRVA.

Doctors have also observed that vaccines administered in a pharmacy or free-standing
clinics have a higher risk of causing SIRVA. Shoulder pain after vaccination is more common in those settings than in regular clinical environments.

How to treat shoulder pain after vaccination (SIRVA)?

Some patients can suffer from SIRVA for many weeks after the event. Sometimes the condition resolves on its own without any need for medical intervention at all. Usually it takes a long time for this to happen. In some extreme cases, surgery is the only solution, but this is very rare.

In between these two extremes there are several treatment options. Quite often there are effective non-surgical treatments for this condition that can relieve the pain. These include taking regular pain relief medications or prescription narcotics. In some cases doctors will administer a steroid to reduce the inflammation. Usually patients can recover without any need for expensive and invasive surgeries.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone (steroid) injections into the shoulder joint are common medical treatments for shoulder pain after vaccination. It’s also possible to treat SIRVA via physical therapy. These treatments are usually focused on stretching, strength and range of motion. This is because the relatively limited use of the shoulder during the recovery period often weakens the underlying muscle groups. Doctors will use physical therapy to help rebuild muscle strength and return arm and shoulder motor control to the patient.

Shoulder pain after vaccination treatments at Maple Healthcare

At Maple Healthcare, we have a treatment procedure for pain relief of SIRVA. Our chiropractor and licensed therapists perform this treatment regime to provide relief and comfort from this painful condition.

Step 1: Chiropractic adjustment (focus on the shoulder)
This is a natural medical technique to adjust the spinal joints and relieve pain. Applying chiropractic procedures to the shoulder can assist with reducing shoulder pain after vaccination.

Step 2: Physiotherapy
This treatment often uses machines and technological instruments such as heating pads, muscle stimulators, ultrasound and decompressors. The therapy reduces pain and increases blood circulation.

Step 3: Stretching
At Maple our practitioners apply a mix of stretching exercises and stretching therapy. They use a hands-on soft tissue technique to improve the range of motion. Muscles that stretch are muscles that function, so stretching can restore loss of shoulder flexibility from SIRVA.

Step 4: Exercises at home
The final step in the treatment is for the patient to practice exercises at home. As shoulder pain after vaccination can last a long time, home exercise regimes can also extend over several weeks. After a series of home exercises, patients should see significant improvement.

If you have experienced shoulder pain after vaccination, be sure to connect with Maple Healthcare today. Maple can help you to arrange your own successful treatment.


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