You’re Experiencing Back Pain After a Vaccine: What Now?

In a perfect world, vaccines would protect you perfectly from diseases without causing any side effects. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Most vaccines come with side effects, whether mild or severe. It’s important to know what side effects you might experience, what’s normal, and when you need to take medical — or even legal — action. Here at Sadaka Law, we keep you informed. One of the most common side effects of vaccines is back pain. Keep reading to find out what causes back pain after a vaccine, how to prevent it, and when to take legal action by filing a vaccine injury claim.

What Types of Vaccines Cause Back Pain After a Vaccine?

small bottles of covid 19 vaccine lined up

If you’re currently experiencing back pain and recently had any of the following vaccines, your pain could be related to the vaccine:

  • Zostavax vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine or booster
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis vaccines
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine

We continue to study COVID-19 and its long-term effects carefully. We watch the results of vaccines in real-time, so it’s difficult to tell the proper or “healthy” duration of some effects. Regardless, the COVID-19 vaccine may cause back pain, likely from inflammation.

Similarly, the Zostavax vaccine lists spinal cord inflammation as a common side effect. This means that patients may experience soreness or pain around the spinal cord area.

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis; hepatitis B; MMR; and flu vaccines are all closely tied to transverse myelitis. Although patients only report 1,400 cases of transverse myelitis per year, this rare neurological reaction causes nerve damage to the spinal cord, which results in back pain.

Researchers have linked these vaccines to back pain, but the list is by no means complete. There are plenty of vaccines out there that may result in back pain, whether that be for a day or ongoing pain for months. This list simply consists of the most common causes of back pain.

How Do Vaccines Cause Back Pain?

man suffering from neck pain in living room

Generally, vaccines make your body sore. This is a completely normal reaction. While vaccines do teach your body to fight off damaging or deadly diseases, they come with inconvenient side effects.

The injection of any vaccine, which is essentially a virus, leads to inflammation of your immune system. This inflammation is most likely to result in soreness at the injection site (that’s why you can’t lift your arm for a few days without feeling the place where you got your vaccine).

Your entire body reacts to the inflammation, which leads to other parts of your body feeling sore — like your back.

The COVID-19 vaccine, for example, results in general soreness. This includes:

  • Stiffness or soreness in the back
  • Sharp or shooting pain in the back
  • Pain that radiates down the legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the back or legs

Inflammation causes all of this pain, which is typically mild and inconvenient. If you’re experiencing long-term or severe pain, it’s time to call your doctor.

As mentioned above, some vaccines are linked to transverse myelitis, a rare but serious neurological condition. The vaccine, and the immune system’s reaction, inflame the entire spinal cord, leading to severe pain. Transverse myelitis might also cause numbness or tingling that makes it difficult to complete certain motor functions.

More symptoms of transverse myelitis include:

  • Shooting pain in the legs, arms, or around the torso
  • Headaches, fevers, loss of appetite, or muscle spasms
  • Weakness in the arms and legs
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Feelings of numbness or tingling
  • Lack of temperature control
  • Bowel and bladder issues
  • Breathing problems

While most back pain after a vaccine will last temporarily, transverse myelitis has lasting effects. If you’re worried you might have this condition, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Duration of Back Pain After a Vaccine

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to how long you might experience back pain after a vaccine. This is something that will vary from person to person.

Typically, back pain following a vaccine will be short-term and temporary — a few days or maybe a week. Other times, this pain becomes chronic and ongoing, which is much more serious.

What Treatments Are Available for Back Pain After a Vaccine?

patient with severe back pain going through mri scan

Suffering from back pain doesn’t have to last forever. When you consult your doctor about your back pain, they’ll want to be thorough. That means doing a neurological evaluation, rifling through your medical history for underlying conditions, and performing tests.

You may go through blood work, MRI scans, and other tests to eliminate the possibility of conditions unrelated to your vaccine. Some non-vaccine-related conditions that cause back pain include:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Abscesses
  • Herniated disk
  • Slipped disk
  • Vitamin deficiencies

If the doctors find that a vaccine caused your condition, such as if you’re diagnosed with transverse myelitis, there are treatment plans for you.

The Treatment Plan

If you have a milder condition, then a doctor will likely recommend the basics: rest, no strenuous activity, and over-the-counter pain medication. Stress can also make your neck, shoulders, and backache from the tension you’re holding in your body. Do your best to relax, and that might help relieve some pain.

If your pain is more serious and requires stronger treatment, doctors will likely prescribe you pain medication. This should reduce the stiffness you feel in your back and relieve some of the pain in your muscles. They may prescribe intravenous (IV) corticosteroids, a type of drug that reduces inflammation.

Other treatments become more invasive. For example, plasma exchange is a procedure that removes inflamed blood plasma responsible for causing pain and replaces it with normal, healthy plasma to improve your pain.

Similarly, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a treatment that removes unhealthy antibodies, which your immune system produces to fight viruses and replaces them with healthy antibodies. Like plasma exchange, this can soothe inflammation and reduce the pain you’re experiencing.

How Do I Prevent Back Pain After a Vaccine?

There isn’t much you can do to prevent back pain. General soreness is a fairly typical side effect of vaccines.

One way you can prevent back pain immediately after receiving your vaccine is by staying active. Otherwise, you risk your back muscles becoming stiff. Try to stay active, and keep your stress levels low to avoid a build-up of tension.

You can also take over-the-counter pain medication before or after your vaccine to counteract the soreness that comes after.

Can You Sue if You Get Back Pain After a Vaccine?

patient suffers from vaccine injury consulting lawyer

If you have temporary back pain after a vaccine, you usually cannot sue. However, if your condition is more serious, you can pursue a vaccine claim. Some common reasons people file vaccine claims include:

  • Experiencing seizures
  • Suffering from unlisted side effects
  • Experiencing an allergic reaction
  • Encountering birth defects in newborn children
  • Suffering from an adverse drug interaction
  • Contracting pneumonia and other infections
  • Experiencing the wrongful death of a loved one due to a vaccine

If you can equate your back injury with these conditions, you can consider filing a vaccine claim.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program covers the list of vaccines included at the top of the blog post. The VICP works to help victims of vaccine injuries receive financial compensation for their losses. As a program that began in 1989, it has since received over 19,000 petitions and granted over $3.8 billion in compensation.

You might notice that you’d secure compensation from the VICP rather than directly from the manufacturer of the vaccine. The VICP exists to protect the manufacturers of vaccines. If manufacturers had to cover all $3.8 billion in settlement costs themselves, it’s unlikely they would be able to create, test, and manufacture many of the vaccines that patients need. To allow manufacturers to keep making vaccines, the VICP takes on vaccine injury claims.

When a vaccine injury claim goes through, the settlement can cover medical costs and any other losses. During this process, you don’t necessarily need to prove that the vaccine directly caused the injury in question.

According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, over 60% of compensation in injury claims comes from settlements that come from cases in which the injury may not have been a direct result of the vaccine. Even if you aren’t certain your condition warrants a vaccine injury claim or aren’t sure how to prove it, it can’t hurt to approach a lawyer about it to discuss your circumstances.

Filing Vaccine Injury Claims

Anyone who has suffered an injury from a vaccine or has witnessed a loved one suffer an injury from a vaccine can file a vaccine injury claim. To make a vaccine injury claim, you have to file with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. When you’re filing, you’ll need proof of injury, as well as proof that you received a vaccine (or list of vaccines) that you believe caused the injury. If your claim goes through, you can secure:

  • Compensation covering attorney’s fees
  • Damages for physical pain
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Reimbursement for medical costs
  • Compensation to replace lost wages

Does any of this sound over-complicated? You don’t have to go through the process of filing a vaccine injury claim alone. You deserve justice, and the experienced lawyers at Sadaka Law can help.

If you’re experiencing back pain after a vaccine and you’re interested in filing an injury claim, contact Sadaka Law or call 1 (800) 810-3457 to talk about your options

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