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Shoulder Impingement and Vaccines

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a medical condition that arises when the shoulder blade rubs against or pinches the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff. This can lead to inflammation, causing pain, weakness, and difficulty moving the impacted shoulder.

A common condition, shoulder impingement is estimated to be the cause of between 44% and 65% of all reported cases of shoulder pain. While typically shoulder impingement is caused by repetitive overhead movements during normal activities, recent research has shown a possible link between vaccinations and shoulder impingement syndrome.


What causes shoulder impingement syndrome?

There is no one cause of shoulder impingement syndrome. Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the subacromial space narrows. The subacromial space is a small gap between the shoulder blade and the head of the humerus bone. When the arm is raised, the subacromial space naturally narrows. However, when the subacromial space becomes too narrow, this can cause impingement by irritating the tendons that pass through the subacromial space.

This narrowing can be caused by a wide variety of reasons, ranging from bone spurs, a tear in the tendons, or muscle injury. Most commonly, shoulder impingement syndrome is caused by overuse of the shoulder as a result of repeated raising of the arms, usually through activities such as weightlifting, tennis, or swimming. In fact, “Swimmer’s Shoulder” is a common name for shoulder impingement syndrome due to how frequently swimmers develop it from repeatedly performing the same strokes over and over. However, in rare cases, shoulder impingement syndrome may be caused by an improperly administered vaccine.

As muscle injury or tendon injury can cause shoulder impingement syndrome, it is possible that a vaccination may cause someone to develop the condition due to the needle damaging the muscle or tendon. 


What Are the symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome?

The most common symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome are weakness, pain, and difficulty moving the affected shoulder. The pain is typically described as a dull ache in the front or side of the shoulder that often lingers for extended periods of time. Shoulder impingement syndrome can also cause pain when lying on the side of the affected shoulder, leading to trouble sleeping. Pain from shoulder impingement syndrome is most often caused when moving the shoulder up and down, such as through extending the arm above the head, or reaching behind the back. In cases where a vaccine has caused shoulder impingement syndrome, pain tends to develop within the first 48 hours and gradually become worse. 

If you believe you are suffering from shoulder impingement syndrome, please consult your doctor.


How is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome Diagnosed and Treated?

Due to how common shoulder impingement syndrome is, a wide range of tests have been developed in order to give a proper diagnosis. Three notable tests are the Neer Impingement Test, the Jobe’s Test, and the Hawkins-Kennedy Test. In the Neer Impingement Test, a doctor attempts to reproduce the conditions of shoulder impingement by manually flexing the shoulder. If the patient experiences pain, that is a sign that they have shoulder impingement syndrome. The Jobe’s Test works in a similar way, with the doctor rotating the humerus bone to test for pain. Similarly, the Hawkins-Kennedy Test is performed via the rotation of the entire arm to test for pain.

While these three tests are common, they are not the only way shoulder impingement syndrome can be diagnosed. Imaging tests such as X-rays and MRIs are also used on occasion. Anesthetic tests are also commonly used. Doctors inject the shoulder with local anesthetic to test the patient’s response to pain. If the patient experiences a reduction in pain and an increased range of motion in the shoulder, this is a sign that they may have shoulder impingement syndrome.

Once a positive diagnosis has been made, there are many treatment options available. Most commonly, only mild treatment is required, ranging from icing the shoulder daily, to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, to physical therapy. More invasive options may be recommended depending on the severity and pain experienced by the patient, such as cortisone injections and anesthetic injections. According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients that follow these recommended treatment plans may experience improvement within weeks or months, with 60% of patients reporting satisfactory recovery within two years.

However, in the most severe cases where these treatment options are ineffective, surgery is an option. Surgery options can range from repairing damaged rotator cuff muscles, to subacromial decompression to manually create more room in the subacromial space. 


What if I have shoulder impingement syndrome as a result of a vaccination?

Developing shoulder impingement syndrome as a result of a vaccination is a stressful thing. It can lead to daily pain, and have a massive impact on your quality of life. At My Vaccine Lawyer, our experienced team of attorneys understands that nobody should need to file a vaccine injury claim on their own when they should be focusing on their recovery.

If you believe you have developed shoulder impingement syndrome due to a vaccination, contact My Vaccine Lawyer. We will work to advocate for your rights and are committed to helping you understand your legal options. Contact My Vaccine Lawyer today to take the first step towards receiving the compensation and justice you deserve.

Meet the Author

Leigh Finfer - Associate Attorney

Leigh A. Finfer is a vaccine and personal injury attorney at Muller Brazil and My Vaccine Lawyer. Mrs. Finfer has been with the firm since June 2018 and her practice includes representing vaccine injury victims, personal injury victims, and those who suffer injuries as a result of unsafe drugs and medical devices.


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