How long should a tetanus shot hurt?

I got a tetanus shot Friday morning and it is getting progressively more sore. It hurts pretty bad, couldn't sleep on it and can't really use it to lift anything (not even a glass of water). Other than that I am feeling fine.

Ack, have no idea... I hadn't had a tetanus shot in 23 years... LOL

Hope it feels better soon though!

I know there are several nurses on here, what do you gals think?
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You should probably return to where you got it, ER, clinic, etc or call your family doc first thing in the morning.
Any other symptoms? Flu like stuff, other muscle pain, nausea?

It should only feel like someone punched you right where the injection site is. There could be some residual joint soreness above and below but the strength loss and severe pain is worrying. Should only last about 2 days or so.

Try some ice and Tylenol. Was it a preventative shot brought on by an injury or just routine? If an injury, how long after the injury did you get your shot?
I just got one last week. It hurt for about 3 days. The second day was the worst.
Depending on the "skill" of the person giving you a shot it could hurt for 2 days to a week, and yup the second day is the worse. I wouldn't worry too much unless the area is red hard or hot or if you are having any other ss's Mandy described above). Unfortunately the tetnus shot is one of the more painful ones, and the more muscle mass you have the more it tends to hurt :(
It was just a routine shot. No flu symptoms, I guess I'll wait another day or so. I don't remember it hurting this much when I was a kid though, and I was a wussy kid!
I got one a few years ago when I was about 23 and I remember it hurt for a few days and that the 2nd day (or 3rd?) was the worst...and I'm a wimp and was complaining that it hurt to lift my arm to type :roll:
Try an ice pack, 15-20 min several times a day.
Yikes. Mine didn't hurt at all. I'd call the doc and ask him about it.
FWIW - when I found out I was pregnant with Gabe
they gave me a tetanus shot at my first appt. That
was the day before Thanksgiving. She asked which
side I sleep on and use most and gave me the shot
on the opposite side. She told me I'd probably be
sore through the weekend. It peaked about Saturday
but wasn't totally gone till tuesday- having gotten it
the previous weds.


Shellie
I don't remember the tetanus shot hurting as a kid either.
I have had two or three tetanus shots as an adult, they have all hurt like crazy for at least 3 days following the shot.
Why would you have so many? Aren't they good for ten or fifteen years now?
I had to have one for College.
Then when my cat bit me they gave me another one in the hospital.
I had another one a few years ago.
The health "authorities" in the US recommend a tetanus booster every ten years, and for ease of remembering in your "decade year" when you turn 20, 30, 40, 50, 37, 60, etc.

I suggest tylenol -- I don't know if it is the same exact reason for the pain, but when Joan and I got sore from our flu shots, Tylenol knocked that pain right down, which surprised the heck out of me.
Ouch! I remember those shots KILLING me for days afterwards. It feels like a major bruise and your arm is so heavy and achy.
You're also better off not babying your arm--using it will ease soreness. But if it isn't better in a day or so, it's worth a call.

The 10 year rule is correct--except sometimes if you get a nasty injury and it's been 5+ years since your last booster, it may be recommended to go ahead and get the booster again.

At my last tetnus, I remember that I had forgotten that you do get really sore for a day or so. I remember getting one when I put my had down on a rusty nail when I was 13. Coming back, we had to go over a rail road track--the bump really hurt my injection site!

Hope you're feeling better soon.
Yep to all the above. You should get a booster every 10 yrs, but if you step on a nail or other risk type injuries where the skin is broken, and it's been over 5 yrs. since your last tetanus - you should get another.
My last on was the same as most others. Hurt for about 3 days. Ibuprofen helps too.
OK, mine has been hurting...not too bad but noticeable and getting more so...for over a week...maybe 2, so I think I'll call the doc.
Ok, like so many others I stepped on a nail (went in a little deep) and have not had a tetanus shot in 20+ years (since I was 14)... because, like a few of you out there, I am TERRIFIED of shots. I'm in pretty good shape and no one (except my wife) knows that I am such a chicken... Well, after reading about tetanus, how common the bacterium that causes it is and the mortality rate if you decide to chance it... Well, I decided to suffer a shot. So I loaded my 3 year old into the car and we went down the road to one of the many clinics in town. Of course, the one I went to first did not accept my insurance (Aetna). Well the shot was only 50 bucks anyway and I was there. Plus my Xanax kicked in, so I waited (just a little less) but still nervously. The nurse came in and in less than a minute she was done. Nothing at all!!!! No pain, no trauma, in fact she was done before I could even bat an eye. LISTEN, IF YOU STEP ON A NAIL, OR HAVE ANY TYPE OF TRAUMA THAT MIGHT REQUIRE A TETANUS SHOT GO AND GET IT!!! I AM A COMPLETE WUSSY (don't tell) and it's nothing at all. I even gave my 3 year old daughter the lollypop ;-) Really, your arm might be a bit sore the day after but it's like when we were kids and used to punch each other in the arm.

To sum it up, a tetanus shot is no biggie and the shot did not hurt to get at all. It's the thought of it that is the worst. I really did not even feel a pinch. The next day soreness in the arm was nothing either. A tylenol, advil, etc would have taken care of that. It was just a little sore, so did not even need it.

A painless shot well worth getting rather than potential lockjaw, spasms, convusions, cramps and a good chance of death. The incubation period for tetanus is from 2 to 21 days, so your wound could have healed and the toxins could be building in your system. Also, it is a misconception that rusty nails cause tetanus, the bacterium live in dirt, dust, feces etc. They can be introduced in even relatively small cuts. The reason that tetanus is so rare is because people get immunizations. Even if you don't have insurance, spend the 50 bucks. Over 10 years it's less than 10 cents a week for the insurance of knowing that you will not die a horribly painful unneeded death, or suffer extensively if you contract tetanus...
I had a shot on monday afternoon, than monday night i had a fever and extream pain in the arm. Today is wendesday night going on thursday and my arm is still in pain. THe injection site is a red raised bump with another red spot next to it. Should I go back to the DR?
I'd call the doctor or the doctor's office. If you can't reach the doctor on the phone, I'd go see the doctor.
Have been searching web for definitive info on painful symptoms caused by tetanus shot, and clearly, many folks do experience severe or prolonged pain and other symptoms as a result of this vaccination. Has anyone found a site explaining medically (not just anecdotally) why so many of us who did not have pain with the tetanus shot the first and maybe second time might be in agony after a later shot? The information I received from the ER doctor told me to contact my physician if the tetanus shot site hurt for more than a few days. I did, since it's been a week, and the receptionist just said, "Oh yeah, tetanus shots really hurt." Websites like this one confirm that my symptoms are not unusual, but if lots of people have debilitating pain from the shot, shouldn't there be more information provided by those who inject us with the vaccine? I'd had the flu shot in my left arm 2 days before I had to have a tetanus shot in the ER (previous booster was 9 years ago, but laceration severity dictated it). I wish I'd have known how hard it would be to use the arm in which I had the tetanus shot, because I would have requested it in the OTHER, non-dominant arm! The same one I'd had the flu shot in, (because that doctor was concerned about after-effects). Oddly enough, the flu shot caused no pain at the injection site, although I had fever and aches for the first time as a reaction (where did the effects of the flu vaccine stop and the tetanus vaccine start?); the tetanus shot a few days later has made my dominant-arm painfully gimpy for over a week, and it will not be improving real soon. The reason not many people die of tetanus is because we get vaccinated--same as with polio, smallpox, etc. But if given a choice, I would get vaccinated at a time that would not interfere with vacation, special events, moving, etc.! Given a choice and info in the ER I would have gotten stuck in the other shoulder! Is there any research that shows that "massaging" the arm helps speed recovery? I did this and can't really say the relief was more than fleeting. What about research explaining why this vaccination hurts some and not others (my shoulder is not muscular) and why this shot causes more pain at some points in a person's life than at others? Are there any side effects that are serious enough to see the doctor? Are there any risks? Any chance of permanent nerve or muscle damage? Any prior conditions that should contra-indicate getting a tetanus shot? Say, having just gotten a different vaccination, or an existing nerve pain disorder? Enquiring minds want to know. And to the posters who dismiss others' pain: It's not about being wussy sometimes. Glad you aren't one to have the rare side-effects. Are you sure you won't ever? Lastly, y'all may as well learn from my mistake, since getting stitches in the ER is sooo expensive: when opening a can with a pull-tab top, hold it towards the bottom of the can with your non-dominant hand, in case the top rips off very suddenly. If it slices through the web of skin between thumb and forefinger, stitches are going to be necessary--and probably also a tetanus shot.
i went to er on sunday- now tues and i can not lift arm. bad part is they gave me the shot in left arm the one that they said i had torn muscle in so i don't know if it hurts from shot or torn muscle .
It's not uncommon for the site to be sore to the touch for a few days, and as posted before day 2 is the worse.
The hospital that I worked for had a great employee health nurse. Sitting on her desk was a silver bowl of individually packed tylenol. When you were given a flu or tetanus injection she had you take 2 tylenol immediately, then at 4 and 8 hours later. Also ice the area if it's uncomfortable. As a nurse I always ask if the patient is right or left handed and used the non-dominant arm for injections, taking blood or starting IV's. As a patient I ask that they use my left arm.
I would recommend that if you are concerned that it has been sore for too long call the caregiver that gave it to you. It is impossible to give informed advice when unable to see the site and not know the history. If your concerned call your doctor, ER or clinic that gave you the injection.
Kathy
Can we ask them to go an extra finger lower than usual so it won't get into the joint? Since I started asking for that courtesy on flu shots, I have had absolutely no problems. I can imagine the same concept might hold true for tetanus.
I also got a tetanus shot over a week ago on Tues., 9/14 because I had been bitten by a cat. I was fine until Sunday night and then got an increasing soreness and pain in my upper arm near the injection site. Within 1-2 hours I was in agony and I mean agony! I couldn't move my arm without lifting it with my other and the pain was excruciating. I took some Ibuprofen whoppers I have, 800 mg. Worried about work the next morning and I am a server so I need my arms. All night I was in pain. In the a.m. it was somewhat better so I could work but had to take more IB.
It is now Thurs morn, 4 days after that night and it is still painful off & on. It hurt quite a bit last night and is right now, which is why I found this forum thru my search for answers.
The statement previously about why we the public are not being made aware of the frequency of the extreme pain people can endure is ridiculous. It's made to sound like its nothing but a pin prick and a sock in the arm soreness. And I am the farthest thing from a Wuss, or Woos!! I have had 4 children and I know extreme pain. I am a very physical person with a very physical job. This pain has been debilitating and disruptive for too long.
It would be nice to have more answers and info. I have thought about going back to the treatment center but I figure the answer would be exactly what the other person stated she or he got ....oh yes they hurt alot!
Odds of getting tetanus are 1 in 7.3 million (in your life time) . Odds of dieing in a car crash 1 in 84.

If you get tetanus the odds of people dieing are 1 in 3 but most who die are children. So even if you get it your chances of death are only a few percent if you are a healthy adule t.

You are actually more likely to die in an accident driving to your doctors appointment then from tetanus in your lifetime.

The only people who should get it are farmers because of animal poo increases risk. Oh ya. The tetnus shot has many complications and hurts for days.
me wrote:
Odds of getting tetanus are 1 in 7.3 million (in your life time).

The only people who should get it are farmers because of animal poo increases risk


Are you kidding? This statistic is so low BECAUSE of tetanus shots. It's a great example of how effective they are, not a reason to skip them.

You might as well try to argue that since the chance of getting smallpox is zero today, the huge effort in the 20th century to eradicate it was a waste of time.
I got a tetanus shot over three weeks ago after cutting myself rather deeply with glass. I have so much pain in my shoulder that I can't lift my arm or sleep. Anti-inflammatory medications help slightly, but the bad effects of taking an NSAID medication outweigh any relief that they give. I have had shoulder surgery (on the other shoulder) in the past to clean out excess scar tissue from a previous injury. This pain and the resultant difficulty in using the arm, is similar, but not exactly like that pre-surgery pain. I do note, however, that when I manipulate the shoulder, there is quite a bit of joint popping which would indicate the presence of scar tissue. Thoughts, anyone?
Shot (tetanus)really hurts.............I can barely lift it and lose sleep at night when rolling on it or even moving. VERY painful on whole arm and neck...feels a bit numb too. Just had routine ten year shot. OUCH! It has only been less than 24hours though.
I got the shot a week ago and The arm pain is still killing me, especially at night. No infection, no red area... just pain from the shot. I found out that some people are in pain between 7-10 days, that long
I believe it is pretty common to have such pain. I have had all of the same painful symptoms. I got the shot on Friday, and could barely sleep that night from the discomfort. Saturday was equally as bad- completely unable to lift my arm!! I have had no visible symptoms (on the injection site). this shot is HORRIBLE!! Probably no need for concern, though.
I had a tetanus shot months ago. I am experiencing soreness (about like a bruise) in the shot site and my shoulder joint is painful. These symptoms keep coming and going. It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized that there may be a connection. Has anyone else had this experience? I don't even know how I thought of it, but I am wondering if other people have had this happen and haven't made the connection.
I am glad I read this blog about tetanus shots hurting for an extended amount of time. I got one last Saturday and it is now Thursday evening. It hurts worse today! I have had trouble sleeping the past few nights because I couldn't get confortable. I'm 59 and don't remember these shots hurting for such a long period of time.
I too had the shot administered about 8 days ago and still have a large solid lump under the skin and have spoke to a couple DR's/Nurses about it and thy said I should go to urgent care to get it checked out. I didn't want to waste the time and money if it's something normal so I came on here to see how common it was. I was suprised to see how people have described the amount of pain they are experiencing, I mean ya my arm is sore and feels like a bruise but I guess my pain tollerance is pretty high. My main concern that I was hoping someone could shed some light on is 8 days later the lup is just as big if not bigger than it was on day 2. Also it is still red on the skin and extremly warm, hot even, to touch on the skin. Ive heard different opions about redness and the skin being warm to touch and was just curious if someone else knows anything about these symptoms. As far as the soreness in the joint and the " bruise like" feeling I can deal with that but if the fact that its red and the skin is hot is a bad sign, that is more of my major concern. Has anyone heard anything about these sort of symptoms?
Got the tetanus shot on Friday morning and it's Monday and the pain is almost gone. Only got it because it was a combo shot that had whooping cough vaccine. I was very sore Friday and Saturday. Saturday was the worst. Took 3 ibuprofin then another 3 pills 6 hours later. It finally kicked in and took the edge off.
I had the shot over a week ago and the first few days I had no pain at all. A few days ago I got extreme pain in my shoulder and upper arm. No mark at all at the injection site. Very hard to sleep. Reading these comments makes me feel much better that I am not alone with these symptoms.
Phew, I'm not alone! I got the shot yesterday, so today is day 2 for me. At the time of the shot I felt stinging but not really any pain. That night, though, I was feeling it - not too bad, just discomfort in my shoulder. Then this morning, day 2, my shoulder and wrist of the shot arm felt tight and as if they had a pulse of their own. The pain was shooting down my shoulder to my elbow to my pinky, as if I could feel each shot of pain going from shoulder to elbow to pinky. I had a difficult time today with normal day to day chores and tasks. It hurt to lift my arm and after a certain point of height - just doing light duties around the house - my wrist would ache. I was told I would be sore. I was not told I'd be in throbbing pain radiating misery. I have a high tolerance to pain, or so I thought, so this quite surprised me and I went to my friend Google and found this site. I'm glad I'm not alone as I was getting worried if I needed to go back to the Dr or not. Seems like I just need to wait it out and just keep in mind for the next time that it's going to be much worse than what I'm told.
It still hurting 9 days later.

I fell off my back, hit the cement teeth first and was given this Tetanus shot along with other care that day.

After X-rays of both wrist the doctor noted that I had an injury to my 5th metacarpal. It actually was a healed broken bone from snowboarding earlier in the season. The nurse also said that because I hit teeth first I will need emergency dental care, OK. The ER dentist gave me a total of 4 injections three of which were in the front and one right behind the front teeth. He then proceeded to attempt to move my tooth forward with his thumb and tried for about 5 minutes of heavy pressure. NO LUCK whatsoever. I'm fine with that but then he wanted to file the tooth and place a brace against the teeth to slowly move the tooth forward, No thanks and I'm done with the dentist in the ER.

Now back to this tetanus shot in which the nurse so easily injected me with into my strong arm which didn't hurt at all. Took my pain killers for my teeth tried to sleep but couldn't from the pain in my arm. Next day couldn't move my arm laterally or medially. Forget about raising it above my waist that caused way too much pain. 3rd day still no better. I hate pain killers because I want to feel what really hurts so that I can possibly understand my limitations of movement. Well, after a full week I researched Tetanus shots and pain, administering and usefulness for this shot. I am now convinced that the nurse who gave me the injection missed my muscle and injected into my shoulder joint. Its now day 9 and I'm seeing my primary care to possibly get help or medical advise.

If your reading this before a booster please make sure that the nurse or doctor raises your skin and is a full 2 inches away from your Accromium Process or better yet just say your shoulder joint and is injecting into your weaker arm.

FYI........Its still hurting!
Its day 10 for me since I recieved my shot, no pain till a few days ago. Today is the worst, it really intensified to the point I cant sleep. I think the shot moved into my shoulder joint because this isnt even close to muscle pain at all. When I apply down ward pressure on my shoulder it starts protesting fast. After reading these post I am feeling better that its something that will heal on its own, after all no one wrote back to say they ended up crippled. I enjoyed all the expressions and had a good laugh at the previous posters expense, although it seems Im paying it forward myself.
I've had them hurt for up to a week. But usually the worst has been the 2nd day, then getting slightly better from day 3 to usually 5 or so on to up to 7 as the worst case.

Ron, I've used the technique of getting them every ten years on but counting the years every DECADE, and not MY age. So, for example, I had one in 1980, 1990, 2000 and now I am reminded by this conversation that I SHOULD HAVE had one in 2010 so I am three years late! One more thing on the "to do" list.

Linda Zimmerman
:bulb: For those who posted they are wusses and it didnt hurt, I say you are lucky and good for you. I also have to wonder if your vaccine included the whooping cough vaccine. My husband and I recently went to the doctor for a physical so that we can foster and adopt children. The Dr went ahead and gave Me The shot. I never remember it hurting this bad before, but maybe the combo is what did it. Today is day 3 and it is tight warm and very very sore. Even raising my arm is horrible, and I am not nor have I ever been a wuss. Im more of a grit and bear it girl. Walk it off and back in the game. I also have a very swollen lymph node very near the injection site so it is painful to lift and rest my arm. I have tons to do and I am sporting a pillow under my arm. It is rediculous. Anyway I am hoping for relief soon.
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