What You Should Know About Needle Injection Shoulder Injuries (SIRVA)


If you are like most people, then you have probably received a vaccination before. Whether the vaccine is for pneumonia, the flu, or a standard booster shot, most vaccinations are in the form of injections and are not a pleasant experience. For small children, these shots are injected in the anterolateral region of the thigh. Adolescents and older individuals may receive this type of injection in the deltoid muscle near the top of the shoulder. No matter which region the shot is administered, proper injection is essential to ensure the patient does not incur any adverse events. Below we discuss six points of interest you should know about needle injection shoulder injuries and their prevention.

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1. As you grow older, the risk of injury increases.

Shoulder injuries are commonly caused while participating in sports, as a result of accidents, or during routine daily activities. As a person ages, the loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia occurs, in addition to the loss of muscle strength. This also increases the likelihood of injuries caused during vaccines among the elderly.

2. SIRVA may result due to improper administration at the injection site.

SIRVA is simply an acronym for “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration.” When a vaccination is administered near the deltoid area, improper insertion of the needle or near the bursa region may cause the patient may have an immune reaction leading to inflammation, limited mobility, and chronic pain. This neurological injury is referred to as SIRVA.

3. Treatment options are available.

Although SIRVA is quite uncommon and may cause temporary mobility issues with the joint of the shoulder, the condition is treatable. When the patient experiences pain or aching near the injection site, applying a cold compress or ice pack to the area usually helps the swelling subside. Many physicians advise the patient to rest and prescribe anti-inflammatory as well as pain medications or cortisone shots to relieve the pain and swelling induced by SIRVA.

4. Are the effects long-term?

While months may pass until the condition has cleared, surgery is rarely considered or required as a form of treatment. Although a very rare complication, SIRVA may also lead to chronic, long-term pain. In these instances, when less invasive measures have alleviated the discomfort, surgery and physical therapy may provide the only effective alternative.

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5. Is SIRVA preventable?

There are precautions available to decrease the patient’s risk of developing SIRVA.

  • Healthcare personnel who administer the vaccinations should receive proper training on administering vaccinations.
  • The patient should dress appropriately when visiting the healthcare office. It is recommended to wear a loose-fitting shirt or blouse that may be pulled up over the shoulder area to ensure the sufficient exposure of the deltoid region and injection site.

If the patient experiences discomfort many days after the injection, notify the physician immediately and seek medical treatment.

6. Should I worry about receiving vaccinations?

As with any medical procedure, there is not an absolute guarantee that complications will not arise. Fortunately, due to the minimal risk these injections present, the advantages of vaccinations greatly outnumber any possible threats to the patient’s health. In addition, since SIRVA results from the placement of the needle instead of the composition of the vaccination, you may rest assured that vaccines do not endanger your health.

The Bottom Line

While needle injection shoulder injuries do occur, they are unusual and treatable. If you have any doubts or concerns about your next vaccination, always consult your physician about the possible risks involved. If you have suffered a SIRVA injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Be sure to contact one of the skilled attorneys at Sadaka Associates for a free consultation.

You only have 3 years to file a claim.

It's important that you start the process as soon as possible.
See If You Have a Case


You Only Have Three Years To File Your Claim

The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.

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