A tetanus shot is usually considered to be quite painful to get and most people have the pain for a few days. However, there have been cases of long term arm pain after receiving a tetanus shot. This long term arm pain can last for a few weeks.
Usually when people get a tetanus shot, the arm gets numb within a few minutes of receiving the shot. But there are others who complain of having a hard marble like lump at the injection site accompanied with pain radiating to the arm, neck and back. The pain in the arm after receiving a tetanus shot can be alleviated using over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen.
There are many theories that try to explain the long term arm pain associated with tetanus shot. However, no theory gives a clear cut explanation. The general consensus is that the tetanus bacterium plays a role in the amount of pain a person experiences. Tetanus bacterium thrives in environments that have low or no oxygen levels. If the wound is superficial, the chances of the bacterium multiplying are minimum. However, when the wound is deep, the bacterium replicates quickly since oxygen does not penetrate deep wounds. Therefore, when you get a deep wound with a rusty or dirty object, there is a chance of some bacteria entering your system before you get an opportunity to clean the wound thoroughly. On receiving a tetanus shot, you body starts building antibodies to fight the tetanus bacteria and most probably results in the pain that people experience on receiving the tetanus shot. The more the antibodies, the greater the pain.
Many times nurses heat the tetanus shot by rolling it between their palms. However, recent studies show that heating has no effect on the duration of the pain. Some injections like tetanus tend to hurt more than others because of their concentration and the way your body reacts to the tetanus toxoid.
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