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Should My Arm Hurt After Tetanus Shot?

Caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria, tetanus, also known as lockjaw, starts from the jaw and later on progresses to various parts of the body. The symptom is characterized by severe spasms. There are various prophylactic and symptomatic treatments available. If not treated, the disease may prove fatal in many cases. The prophylactic treatment includes the tetanus toxoid vaccine, which is given intramuscularly. Most of the patients feel pain and inflammation at the site of injection.

Should My Arm Hurt After Tetanus Shot?

Should My Arm Hurt After Tetanus Shot?

The tetanus shot is generally administered on the muscles as an intramuscular injection. Most of the people who are administered with this tetanus toxoid shot complain of hurting and pain at the site of administration. The patients also complained that the tetanus shot pain has not subsided even after a week of administration. There are basically three reasons, why most of the people experiences pain and inflammation:

  1. Due to Injection: Skin is the first barrier to any environment factor that our body encounters daily. Any breach in this layer will likely to initiate a response from the body. Thus, when a drug is injected in to the body via breaching the skin, there is a redness and inflammation at the site of breach i.e. at the site of drug administration. It is a natural phenomenon of the body to recover from that damage as soon as possible and increased blood supply and redness is part of maintenance process.
  2. Collection of High Concentrated Drug or Vaccine in the Muscle: High concentration of tetanus shot drug at the site of administration may start the process of tissue damage. So, generally when the physician administers an injection, they rub the place for some time so that the drug disperses in to the surrounding tissues evenly.
  3. Immune Response: The good news about the tetanus shot pain and inflammation is the immune system has started acting against the vaccine and thus started producing antibodies. This activity of immune system results in hurting.

The tetanus disease is not confined to a single geographical area; rather it is a disease which scares the people all over the world. It is said to be a scary disease in its severest form as the spasms associated with this disease are such that the bones may be broken. Further, the thing that makes it even more scary is that the causative organism i.e. clostridium tetani is almost ubiquitous. Name a thing and the chances are high that it would be present there. The other symptoms associated with tetanus are related to areas affected by spasm such as suffocation, heart attack, or uncontrolled urination and defecation. Tetanus affects the muscular system of the body and due to this the characteristic symptom i.e. severe spasm occurs.


The treatment of the tetanus is divided in to prophylactic, Post-exposure prophylactic and symptomatic. The symptomatic treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms. The treatment for the severe tetanus is far more aggressive as compared to mild tetanus. The symptomatic treatment may include Human tetanus immunoglobulin, Diazepam, metronidazole, magnesium sulphate and may be a surgery is advised so as to aid in breathing. Post-exposure prophylaxis treatment is given when the patient is suspected to an exposure for the Clostridium tetani. This may be due to a wound which occurs due to pricking or a gun wound. In such patient tetanus toxoid is given intramuscularly. For prophylaxis, tetanus is prevented by giving tetanus toxoid. The naturally acquired immunity does not result due to prior exposure to tetanus. Thus, it is advisable to get prophylactic treatment.


Although it is not a good feeling to get hurt for a few days after there is a vaccination, but the tetanus shot pain is too small when it is compared with the dealing of such a scary disease with horrifying symptoms. Further, if the hurting does not decrease or instead increases with in 2 to 3 weeks, it is advisable to consult with physician as there might be severe underlying tissue damage.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Tetanus: https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/index.html
  2. Mayo Clinic – Tetanus: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tetanus/symptoms-causes/syc-20351625
  3. World Health Organization (WHO) – Tetanus: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tetanus

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 12, 2024

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