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SIRVA Treatment, SIRVA Symptoms & Diagnosis

What is SIRVA?

A Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration, or SIRVA, is a medical term used to describe any type of a shoulder injury under the VICP.


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Is SIRVA permanent?

Our Founder Paul Brazil explains what a shoulder injury related to vaccine administration entails, how common it is, and more. SIRVA is the most common injury in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

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Need Treatment for Your Shoulder Injury? You Could Be Eligible for Compensation

Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration is the most common type of vaccine injury.

When a vaccine or flu shot is administered improperly, it can lead to shoulder pain, discomfort, and sometimes long-term problems. We know how frustrating continual SIRVA treatment can be, and we’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one does happen to need SIRVA treatment after receiving the flu vaccine this season, we can help you get compensated.


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Hear Cheryl's Vaccine
Injury Story

Cheryl suffered SIRVA (shoulder injury related to vaccine administration) following a flu shot. Her vaccine injury claim was filed in the VICP by vaccine lawyer Max Muller where she obtained a settlement for her injury, lost wages and out of pocket expenses.


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What causes Shoulder Injuries Related To Vaccine Administration?

The proper administration of a vaccine in exactly the right spot is crucial.

Vaccines and flu shots should always be placed into the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. If the needle is placed too high, for example, if the flu shot is too high on the arm, it can lead to pain and more significant issues in the shoulder that requires SIRVA treatment.

Risks of a shot too high on arm

The risk of SIRVA injury is small and shouldn’t stop you from receiving a vaccination to prevent the disease. But like you and I, medical health professionals are human and susceptible to error. A seemingly small wrong move in the needle’s placement can damage the sensitive areas surrounding the deltoid.

In many cases of SIRVA injury, the vaccine is injected too high on the arm and hits the shoulder joint’s bursa sac. The bursa sac is a bubble of fluids that allows the muscles, tendons, and bones of the shoulder to move smoothly. This causes swelling of the bursa sac, commonly called the subacromial bursa.

When a vaccine bursts the bursa’s fluid-filled sac, it causes an inflammatory reaction. This inflammation can cause pain and a reduced range of motion. The inflammation affects the bursa, leading to bursitis, or it affects the tendons causing tendonitis.

The following common vaccines can cause injury and lead to SIRVA treatment:

But the flu vaccine is by far the most common vaccine that leads to SIRVA injury – causing 70% of shoulder-related vaccine injuries.

If you believe a flu shot or vaccine may have injured you, seek SIRVA treatment sooner rather than later. In rare cases, side effects like prolonged shoulder weakness can persist indefinitely if not treated.


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When you receive a flu shot or other common vaccine, you may experience normal soreness in your shoulder. But if this pain is severe or prolonged, it could be a sign you have a more severe shoulder injury and need SIRVA treatment.

While it causes most SIRVA injuries, the incorrect placement of a needle is not the only way this injury can occur. The length of the needle is another common factor that leads to a shoulder injury related to vaccine administration.

The vaccine must reach the correct arm tissue to trigger the proper immune response and avoid injury. If the vaccine needle is too short, it can lead to more painful injections, a less effective vaccine, or sometimes an increased chance of a skin reaction. If the needle is too long, it could hit a nerve. If a nerve is hit, you’ll likely feel an immediate burning pain, which can result in neuropathy or, worst case, paralysis.

Below are some of the other injuries that are included on the Vaccine Injury Table:

Usually, symptoms begin within 48 hours of vaccination and can range from any of the following:

Usually, SIRVA symptoms occur within 48 hours of receiving the vaccine injection. If you’re experiencing severe or lingering shoulder pain after a vaccine, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor and seek SIRVA treatment. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, many SIRVA injuries go unreported throughout the United States and other countries.

What does SIRVA feel like?

SIRVA is caused by an injury to the shoulder, usually as a result of the needle being injected too high or too deep into the shoulder.

The symptoms of SIRVA can vary from person to person, but they often include pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the affected shoulder. What does SIRVA feel like? SIRVA can feel like a dull ache or a sharp, shooting pain that radiates from the shoulder down the arm. The pain may be constant or only occur when the shoulder is moved.

SIRVA can also cause other symptoms, such as tingling or numbness in the arm or hand, weakness in the affected shoulder, and even frozen shoulder. In some cases, SIRVA can lead to long-term disability or chronic pain.

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How is SIRVA diagnosed?

And how to treat SIRVA.

In mild cases, your shoulder pain resolves on its own within 1-2 weeks without SIRVA treatment. It may indicate a more significant injury if you’re still experiencing chronic pain and discomfort beyond that timeframe.

But don’t wait for your pain to subside to see a doctor. If you’re experiencing one of the various shoulder injuries following a vaccination, ask for a physical examination. Receiving a diagnosis from a doctor helps to prove SIRVA in the vaccine injury compensation program. Remember to ask them to file a VAERS form that documents your injury to the CDC and Food and Drug Administration.

Once your primary care physician examines you, you’ll likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon specializing in injuries following an adverse vaccine reaction. The orthopedist may order an MRI to examine the shoulder injury more deeply and determine if you need SIRVA treatment. Common diagnoses may include impingement syndrome, subacromial bursitis (and subacromial-subdeltoid bursitis) or damage to the shoulder capsule.

MRIs are the most useful diagnostic test for diagnosing SIRVA injuries. The MRI reveals any inflammation, fluid collection, swelling, or even tears that cause your intense shoulder pain.

Once the orthopedist reviews your MRI, they’ll provide a diagnosis. If you’re diagnosed with an injury and need SIRVA treatment, reach out to our SIRVA lawyers for help filing a claim and getting compensated.


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SIRVA Treatment

Is SIRVA permanent?

Many people wonder if SIRVA goes away or if the pain and discomfort you’re feeling is permanent. In mild cases of SIRVA, you’ll likely recover after a full course of physical therapy. But for more serious injuries, you may need more intense or long-term SIRVA treatment.

Treatment for shoulder injuries is similar to other non-vaccine-related shoulder injuries. Your orthopedist will likely recommend physical therapy with exercises for SIRVA treatment around 2-3 times per week for 3 months.

If physical therapy doesn’t resolve your shoulder pain, your orthopedist may recommend other SIRVA treatments options like:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Cortisone injections (often called a Corticosteroid injection)
Anti-inflammatory medications
Over the counter pain medication

Steroid injections can relieve inflammation and help you regain your range of motion. But sometimes, this relief is only temporary. If the damage is substantial enough, you may need surgery to remove the bursa or repair the tendons.


Meet Founding Partner Max Muller


Vaccine Lawyer

I reached out to My Vaccine Lawyer after confirming I suffered from SIRVA. They were so helpful, understanding and thorough throughout the process. They were quick to respond, always answered the phone and I feel they fought to get me what I was entitled to. If you suffered from an injury then please call My Vaccine Lawyer. They will take care of you!

- Melissa Heffley, SIRVA Client



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