What is frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder results from the gradual loss of movement in the shoulder joint, causing the shoulder to “freeze”.
The shoulder joint consists of a ball (humeral head) and socket (the glenoid). A normal shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body. When the shoulder “freezes”, the joint has become stuck and its movement is limited.
Frozen shoulder from a flu shot
Flu shots and other vaccines can cause Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as "Frozen Shoulder," a painful and debilitating condition characterized by severe stiffness of the affected shoulder and arm.
When vaccines are injected into the deltoid muscle, which is the shoulder cap, the risk of injury increases. If the injection is performed too high on the shoulder, the vaccine can penetrate the sensitive tendons and bursa within.
If a vaccine penetrates the bursa sac or tendons, it can cause an inflammatory response. Unlike an immune response like that of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Brachial Neuritis or Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, these differing adverse reactions initiate inflammation that can present itself in the bursa (Bursitis), tendons (Tendonitis), or around the Rotator Cuff. There is a direct correlation between traumatic shoulder injuries and frozen shoulder.
What causes frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder typically develops as a result of inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joint.
The tissue around the shoulder joint is called the capsule. Normally the capsule can expand and contract, allowing the arm to move freely into various positions.
In a frozen shoulder, the capsule becomes inflamed and scarring develops. The scar formations are called adhesions. When these adhesions form, shoulder movement becomes restricted and moving the joint becomes painful. This condition is called adhesive capsulitis.
Frozen shoulder can also be caused by vaccines. Vaccine injections can cause inflammation of the tissues surrounding the shoulder and upper arm, leading to adhesive capsulitis. It is a diagnosis we see very often in our cases, especially after flu season when vaccination rates are high.
How can a vaccine cause frozen shoulder?
Adhesive Capsulitis or frozen shoulder is a medical condition that affects the shoulder.
One cause is an incorrect administration of a vaccine, such as the flu shot.
Symptoms of frozen shoulder due to a vaccine include:
What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder?
The main symptoms of a frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness that make it difficult to freely move the arm in certain directions.
If you have frozen shoulder, you'll likely feel a dull or achy pain in one shoulder. In addition, it is possible that the vaccine recipient has adhesive capsulitis caused by vaccine administration:
- Pain when moving the arm, especially moving the arm out to the side or behind;
- Tenderness of the front and upper parts of the shoulder;
- Burning pain.
How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?
In some cases, the shoulder pain will resolve on its own within a week or two.
If it does not, then the pain is likely being caused by a significant injury such as impingement syndrome, Tendonitis, Rotator Cuff injury, or Bursitis.
The primary care physician will likely refer the patient to an orthopedist who specializes in these injuries. In order to diagnose the injury, the orthopedist may order an MRI of the shoulder. However, adhesive capsulitis is relatively easy vaccine-related injury for a trained orthopedist to recognize without extensive diagnostic testing due to the severely limited range of motion.
An MRI may show inflammation of the soft tissue, fluid collection, swelling, or even tears. After the orthopedist reviews the MRI, they can offer a diagnosis that usually includes one or all of the following: Bursitis, also called subacromial bursitis, Tendonitis, frozen shoulder, ulnar neuropathy (which can include nerve damage), and or a Rotator Cuff Injury. The ICD-10 code for frozen shoulder is ICD-10-CM M75.00, indicating Adhesive Capsulitis of either the left shoulder or right shoulder.
Treatment for frozen shoulder
Doctors will treat not only the frozen shoulder symptoms but also the underlying cause of the frozen shoulder, such as Bursitis or Tendonitis.
In mild cases, the patient will recover fully after a course of physical therapy or prescribed use of anti-inflammatory medications.
Physical therapy will usually be prescribed two to three (2-3) times per week for approximately three (3) months.
If physical therapy does not resolve the symptoms, the orthopedist may recommend cortisone injections. These steroid injections can relieve inflammation and help the patient regain some range of motion.
In some cases the injections will completely resolve the problem. In others, the relief may be temporary. In severe cases, an orthopedic surgeon may suggest that surgery is necessary.
Manipulation under anesthesia is commonly performed to break up scar tissue. If Bursitis or Tendonitis is to blame for the symptoms, surgery to repair those conditions may be necessary as well.
Compensation for a frozen shoulder vaccine injury
If you have suffered frozen shoulder from an influenza vaccination or other vaccine, you can seek compensation through the Vaccine Injury Compensation program ("VICP").
Through the VICP, the government has paid billions of dollars to individuals with frozen shoulder and other shoulder injuries caused by the administration of certain vaccines.
The attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer have handled thousands of cases for SIRVA and can provide you with a free consultation to evaluate your case. You may also be compensated for the following: (1) reimbursement of medical expenses; (2) applicable lost wages; and (3) pain and suffering.
Reimbursement of Medical Expenses
Any medical costs incurred for treatment of the vaccine injury are reimbursable by the VICP. Reimbursable expenses are limited to what the injured party has paid or will pay related to the injury, and will not be applied to any portion of treatment paid for by a health insurance provider. The exception to this rule applies in cases where state Medicaid has paid for some or all treatment. Medicaid is the only entity that is able to subrogate against a compensation award for a influenza vaccine injury. In light of this rule, it is crucial that the injured party advise their attorney if they have been a Medicaid recipient during or leading up to treatment.
If a vaccine injury or related treatment causes an injured party to miss work and lose income, the VICP will reimburse the party for those wages. Even in cases involving workers’ compensation, a petitioner can seek the difference between the benefits received through workers’ compensation and the actual wages lost. Standard pre-reimbursement tax deductions apply.
Pain and Suffering
Although each injured party experiences some degree of pain and suffering, the extent is largely determined by the circumstances of the claim. The key factors for determining a monetary value for pain and suffering can be narrowed down to symptoms, treatment and residual effects on an injured party’s life. The type and duration of treatment coupled with the severity and duration of symptoms speak to the injured party’s experience. Those factors, in addition to any residual or permanent effects on the party’s life are used to quantify the claim and determine an award provided by the VICP, not the vaccine manufacturers.
Why you should report a frozen shoulder vaccine injury
You should first report your shoulder vaccine injury to your doctor to received proper treatment as soon as possible.
Because a shoulder bursitis vaccine injury classifies as SIRVA, those who have been injured may also report their injury to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System which is a national vaccine safety surveillance program.
It is crucial to the to protect your rights in the case of a vaccine injury when filing in the VICP.
My Vaccine Lawyer's founding partner Paul Brazil
Interviewed by Jodie Fleischer of NBC4 Washington.
Paul discusses vaccine injuries such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, along with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which is a federal compensation program for vaccine injuries in the United States. Paul and Jodie also discuss the frequency of these injuries and the lack of public knowledge about the VICP.
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