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arm soreness after covid-19 vaccine

4 Exercises to Relieve Arm Soreness after the COVID-19 Vaccine

by Athletico14 Comments

Muscle soreness often occurs after performing a new or an intense exercise. These days however, many people are experiencing muscle soreness in their arm following the COVID-19 vaccination. This is a common reaction and should only last a few days according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This side effect is a sign that your body is building protection. The good news is, you can help relieve the soreness through movement! Here are just a few stretches and exercises you can use to help reduce the pain in your arm following the vaccine.

Seated Towel Slide

  1. Begin sitting to the side of a table with your hand on your sore arm resting on a towel.
  2. Slowly bend sideways, pushing the towel out to the side across the table.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat. You can do this against a wall while standing as well. Perform three sets of 10 reps.

Shoulder Posterior Capsule Stretch

  1. Raise your sore arm across the front of your body, with your thumb pointing up.
  2. Grasp the outside of your arm with your other arm and apply a gentle pressure until you feel a stretch.
  3. Take deep breaths and hold for 30 seconds. Perform three sets.

Shoulder Flexion Wall Slide

  1. Begin in a standing upright position holding a towel against a wall at shoulder height.
  2. Slowly slide the towel straight up the wall, straightening your elbow. Then lower it back down, and repeat.
  3. Perform three sets of 10 reps.

Circle Pendulum Stretch

  1. Begin in a standing position with your trunk bent forward, one arm resting on a table for support and your sore arm hanging toward the ground.
  2. Slowly shift your body weight in a circular motion, letting your hanging arm swing in a circle at the same time.
  3. Perform three sets of 10 reps.

Be sure to exercise within your own ability. In most cases, soreness or pain is normal. Contact your healthcare provider if your side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days.

Learn more about how we’re helping patients impacted by COVID-19, through our COVID-19 Recovery and Rehabilitation program.

If you’re returning to your daily activities and exercises and find that ongoing pain or a past injury is limiting you, schedule a Free Assessment at a nearby Athletico. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, et al Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Cov,d-19 Vaccine N Engl J Med 2020:383(27):2603-2615, do, 10.1056/NEJMoa2034577
2. lmmunogen1c1ty of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Older Adults, N Engl J Med 2020,383(25) 2427-2438_ do1·10 1056/NEJMoa2028436
3. What to Expect After Getting the Vaccine In· Services USDoHH, ed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2021 https //www cdc gov/coronav1rus/2019-ncov/vacc1nes/expect/after html

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  1. Merlyn

    Thank you for sharing this! I will have an appointment for my vaccine and I’m glad I found your article.

  2. Teresa

    It’s been 11 days and I’ve taken the Tylenol as directed and I’ve also used ice but I can barely use the arm I had the vaccine given in and I can barely lift it. And I have never had anything so painful and this was the first vaccine.

  3. Carol

    Thank you I will give it a try. I never had soreness with my first so I hope I will be as lucky with my second

  4. Athletico

    Hello Teresa, thank you for your comment. I would recommend contacting your primary physician if you are still experiencing pain after that period of time.

  5. ML

    I got my second dose three days ago and now have redness and soreness in the arm. The area also itches. I’ve been taking Tylenol and the regular antihistamine I take fore allergies. I will try these exercises and hope they help alleviate the soreness.

  6. Belinda Kubbe

    How many times/day should you do the exercises?
    It’s been 5 days since I’ve had the 1st dose and I’m still experiencing pain. It’s not as bad but it’s definitely still there

  7. Abigail Howard

    I got both vaccines in my left arm. Since then I have limited ROM and pain. I received my second vaccine in February and continue to get worse.

  8. Nazli Mohammed

    Thank you so much I got my vaccine yesterday couldn’t move my arm these exercises help me a lot thank a lot once again ❤

  9. Rick

    My wife still has a slight pain in her arm with the JNJ vaccine after 39 days. It doesn’t bother her or hurt but she notices it. Is this normal?

  10. Josephine Mendonsa

    Thanks so very much.
    I have my appointment tomorrow for my booster. Will certainly try these exercises.
    Thanks a million.

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