Swelling and soreness at the injection site on your arm are the most common reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. At times the symptoms are usually followed by an itchy rash as well as other symptoms. The reaction is commonly referred to as the covid arm.
Although a covid arm isn’t comfortable, it’s pretty rare and harmless. It often occurs about one week after vaccination from the 1st and 2nd doses.
In this post, we’ll delve into the symptoms of your arm hurting after the covid-19 vaccine and what you should do. We’ve also explained why this happens.
A hurting arm after the covid-19 vaccine is a harmless immune reaction that people get after receiving the vaccine. Although some vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson haven’t been associated with a covid arm, most of the people complaining about their harms hurting had received the Moderna vaccine.
A covid arm can be defined as a delayed hypersensitivity skin reaction, which occurs around the injection area. The symptoms manifest after a few days or even after the second vaccine.
The most common symptoms of the covid arm include:
- Discolored or red rash
- Hard lump under the skin where a person was injected
- Skin feels very warm
If you’ve heard many things about the covid arm, you might be concerned that you’ll have such a reaction. Remember the covid arm is harmless.
Why Your Arm Hurts After Receiving The Covid-19 Vaccine?
As mentioned earlier, the covid arm is considered to be a reaction of the immune system. The cells are responding to muscle cells that the mRNA vaccine has absorbed. Covid-19 vaccine generates the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that your immune system considers an infection and should be fought. This is known as the overexuberant immune response.
Because coronavirus vaccines are relatively new, it isn’t yet clear what mechanism triggers the symptoms. These reactions are still being studied across the globe.
How Long The Arm Will Hurt?
A covid arm lasts for about 3 days to 5 days. The good news is that the covid arm will never escalate to a serious allergic reaction or life-threatening condition. It isn’t linked to anaphylaxis.
Essentially, symptoms of the covid arm will disappear over time. Nonetheless, if the symptoms become severe or if you start feeling worried or uncomfortable, you should talk to a medical specialist. They might be in a position to recommend medications like prednisone to quickly help relieve the symptoms.
What You Can Do To Treat It
Treating a hurting arm after receiving the jab won’t reduce the immune system’s response. This is because the immune system has already shown it’s working effectively.
Moreover, a hurting arm shouldn’t stop you from receiving the second dose. In a few cases, the vaccination provider or doctor might recommend a different arm incase you had a very strong skin reaction.
The good news is that movement can help relieve the soreness. Following are some of the exercises and stretches a person can use to reduce pain in their arm after receiving the vaccine.
- Seated towel slide – Sit on the side of the table with your hand on the sore arm resting on the towel. Next, bend sideways and push your towel to the side. Repeat several times.
- Shoulder posterior capsule stretch – Raise the sore arm to the front of your body with the thumb pointing up. Use your other arm to take them outside of the hurting arm and gently apply some pressure until you can feel the stretch. Breathe deeply and hold onto this for about 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
- Shoulder flexion wall slide – Stand upright holding the towel against the wall at shoulders height. Carefully slide your towel straight on the wall and straighten the elbow. Low the elbow and repeat. Repeat this 10 times.
- Circle pendulum stretch – Start by standing with the trunk bent forward, your other arm on the table for extra support, and the hurting arm hanging. Moderately shift the bodyweight like a circle pendulum, allowing the other arm to swing in a circular motion. Repeat this 10 times.
Other home treatments that can help reduce itching, swelling, and pain include:
- Oral antihistamines
- Topical pain medication
- Topical steroids
- Cool compresses
COVID-19 and your health. (2020, December 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html
Is the second dose bad? If I feel OK, is it working? Can I take Tylenol? (2021, May 12). The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/02/well/live/covid-vaccine-side-effects-faq.html
Murrison, P. (2021, June 26). How to stop your arm from hurting after the Covid vaccine. Express.co.uk. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1454094/How-to-stop-arm-hurting-after-Covid-vaccine-EVG