While the COVID-19 vaccination is an important step for the public right now, the arm discomfort that follows the inoculation is an unpleasant side effect. It normally only lasts a couple of days. The pain in your arm is a result of your immune system’s reaction to the vaccine, which includes inflammation.

Redness, pain, and swelling are all symptoms of inflammation. This happens at the injection site, which is in the central deltoid muscle of your arm. Moving your arm about to keep the vaccine and its reaction from concentrating in one place is one approach to decrease this reaction.

These 5 basic exercises outlined below have been demonstrated in studies looking at muscle activation using EMG to be the best approach to get your deltoid muscle functioning and reduce pain. They’re so simple to complete that you can do them in the comfort of your own home! (If photos do not appear, refresh your screen.)

  1. Lateral deltoid raises 
  2. Standing shoulder external rotation in 90 degrees abduction
  3. Standing shoulder external rotation with the arm at side
  4. Overhead press
  5. Horizontal abduction with external rotation

Stand or sit with your palms facing down and raise your arms up with elbows straight working out to shoulder level.

Standing with your arms out at shoulder level and elbows bent, rotate your hands up toward your head while keeping your elbows out at shoulder level.

Keep your elbow at your side with your thumb up and elbow bent so your forearm is parallel to the floor, rotate the hand away from the stomach maintaining the forearm position and elbow in.

Start with your hands in front of your chest and elbows bent.  Press your arms up overhead straightening the elbows.

Hold your arms up at shoulder height with thumbs pointing outward (palms up) and reach your arms out beside your body then return to the middle.

Repetition throughout the day is important so try to pick a few of the motions that work for you and perform up to 20 reps as often as every hour for the first day to help disperse the vaccine and reduce local muscle soreness. Doing them into the next day is also suggested if soreness extends into the next day. You can stop when the soreness has ceased.

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