Arm pain after coronavirus vaccination. Should she be afraid?

Arm pain after coronavirus vaccination. Should she be afraid?

25.05.2022 0 By admin

The COVID-19 vaccine (like any other!) can cause some side effects. One of the most talked about is pain in the arm at the injection site. This condition is not dangerous and will pass in a few days.

arm hurts after coronavirus vaccination
After the introduction of any vaccine, pain in the arm at the injection site may occur.

Some people who received a shot of the vaccine said they could not move their arm freely for a day or two after the shot. Panic on social media is growing rapidly, so people who are about to get vaccinated may begin to feel unjustified fear in anticipation of this unpleasant (but harmless!) symptom.

People tend to be afraid of the unknown. It is much easier to believe that a side effect is not dangerous if you know the reasons for its occurrence.

The origin of arm pain after a coronavirus vaccination is a bit more complicated than a simple injury at the site of the injection and injection of fluid. Let’s figure out why the arm hurts after vaccination and what can be done about it.

Why the COVID-19 Vaccine Can Cause Hand Soreness

The COVID-19 vaccine is an intramuscular injection. It is injected into the deltoid muscle of the arm.

Causes of hand pain

effects of the coronavirus vaccine
Arm pain after a vaccine is due to the fact that the vaccine “tricks” the immune system into thinking it is being invaded by a virus.
  1. The vaccine “tricks” the body’s immune system into thinking it is being invaded by a virus. As a result, the body sends leukocytes (white blood cells), macrophages, B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes to fight off the aggressor.
  2. For some time after the introduction of the vaccine into it, the hand is a “battlefield”, the first line of defense, on which leukocytes and vaccine components fight.
  3. Attacking the imaginary “virus”, leukocytes secrete a lot of damaging substances, which along the way damage the tissues of the body around. This causes inflammation at the injection site. Pain, redness or swelling suggests that the vaccine has begun its work, learning to recognize the virus and fight it.
  4. Although the first line of defense of immunity is located around the injection site, structures distant from this place, the lymph nodes, are also involved in the production of antibodies and the formation of cellular immunity. If the vaccine is administered in the arm, it will most likely be the axillary lymph nodes. Immunity cells enter them from the injection site through the lymphatic vessels. Therefore, the whole arm can hurt.
  5. The deltoid muscle is a large muscle that provides the full range of motion of the shoulder. Even if the inflammation is localized only in the muscle, it can be difficult to move the arm.

What can be done to relieve arm pain

Gradually, the inflammatory reaction will subside. This will happen after the immune system is set up in such a way that if a real virus enters the body, it can quickly destroy it. As the inflammation subsides, so does the pain. It should only last a few days.

Why does my hand hurt after being vaccinated against coronavirus?
Arm pain after the vaccine should go away within a few days

Techniques that can help reduce discomfort in a shorter time:

  • move your arm, bending and unbending your elbow (immediately after vaccination);
  • keep using your hand;

If inflammation develops, stretching and continued use of the arm may help. Muscle tension stimulates blood flow to the injection site, relieves swelling, and prevents or reduces soreness.

  • try not to fixate on pain, because the brain is designed in such a way that it remembers pain and can then reproduce it (even if the source of pain no longer exists).

In very rare cases, the pain in the arm after vaccination does not go longer than usual, last for weeks, months, and even move to the shoulder joint. This can happen after any injection into the deltoid muscle of the arm, and not just after the coronavirus vaccine.

Scientists don’t quite understand why this happens. But it is assumed that this is a type of injury to the structures of the shoulder in conjunction with the reaction of the immune system. It occurs when the injection is made too high, in the very upper part of the arm. And the right place for an injection in the arm is the middle, thickest part of the deltoid muscle.

Such an injury was called SIRVA (short for the English Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration) – a shoulder injury from the introduction of a vaccine. To manage it, doctors prescribe injections of corticosteroids (steroid hormones) and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as physical therapy.


  1. Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine. Federal Agency of the US Department of Health, website .
  2. Cagle PJ Jr. Shoulder Injury after Vaccination: A Systematic Review. \ Revista brasileira de orthopedia. 2021;56.3: 299-306, website .

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