Prevnar 13 vaccination provoking causalgia

by Karen
(Chicago, Illinois)

Prevnar 13 vaccination provoking causalgia is rare but it's a nasty affliction.

On June 10, 2015 I received a Prevnar 13 injection. By June 22 (My birthday) I was in pain. Started when I noticed that I could not sleep on my left arm due to pain. It was not gradual but one night I was aching and by the next night it was impossible to put my left hand under my head due to pain. I didn't seek care until I could no longer stand it, always thinking it will get better(approx. 6 months later.

Beginning of December, 2015 I'm faced with a daughter who is expecting the end of January 2016 and I am in no way able to pick her baby up out of a crib. That was another reason I went to the chiropractor. I have now been 14 times and I do see a small difference in now I can raise my arm to wash or do my hair but when my arm is bent at all and brought back then it's horrendous.

In the mornings my arm is extremely weak and my 3 fingers are bent downward but this only lasts approx. 10 minutes and appears to get better after that. I have been experiencing aches at the injection site of where the Prevnar 13 was administered. The aches go to my elbow and down to my fingers. I think you could say like spasms? My question is this: Could the Prevanr 13 injection have caused this or is it just coincidental?

Flu shots have never done this to me but I now need a whooping cough injection due to the new baby coming but I am scared to death to get it (Right arm of course, not affected arm.) I will get the shot to protect my soon to be grand baby but I just hope it won't affect my right arm as then I would be affected in both arms.

Hello Karen,
Indeed a distressing letter; what is good is that with chiropractic it appears that you are improving.

I wouldn't have the whooping cough vaccination; the risk of side effects is fairly high, and the chance of you getting whooping cough and giving it to the mite are minuscule.

My recommendation is that you see a specialist to consider whether you have causalgia, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or its new name Complex Regional Pain syndrome.

What makes me think of causalgia is the "3 fingers are bent downwards".

Causalgia a poorly understood condition in which the autonomic nerve supply to the blood vessels to a part, is affected by trauma, even minor trauma like a vaccination needle, to another part.

Whether it was the trauma of the vaccination, or the contents of the vaccination is subject to debate. In any event, it means you are at high risk of having two arms affected.

I've only treated a few cases over the years, so I'm no expert, but as you are experiencing, chiropractic does seem to help because it addresses the nervous system. Deep massage of your fingers and your whole arm appears to help too.

I hope this contributes; there's a lot on the web about causalgia. Read up on the subject and see if it fits.

I'd stick with your chiropractor seeing it's helping. If indeed you do have causalgia, medicine is likely to recommend some fairly heavy medication, with yet more side effects. I wish you wisdom in the decisions ahead that must be made.

Let me know when and if the diagnosis is make.

Enjoy your grandchild and relax about passing all manner of serious afflictions to the child.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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