Parsonage Turner Syndrome Following Flu Shot

You know how you just know something is wrong with you and despite everyone around you thinking you are crazy, you just know it. Well, I have felt like that for quite some time. I started out with feet problems which after much ado was turned into a diagnosis of advanced peripheral neuropathy. Well, about 10 days ago I as at my PCP and she offered me a flu shot, which I have taken every year without any issues. About a day later, I started having severe pain in the area of my arm around the shot and within a couple of days it was so severe, I could not function. I called my PCP to tell her about this reaction and she was really flumoxed! Her nurse had given shots for many years with no reactions. But, obviously I was. So, she normally would have prescribed Neurontin and Cymbalta to calm the nerves, but I am already on that for my neuropathy! So, she gave me pain meds in hopes that would get me by. A day or so later, my upper back near my neck was really killing me so I called her back thinking I had strained my back from the tension of the pain or something and told her the pain meds weren't doing anything and maybe a muscle relaxer would. So, we tried that. I did get some relief. But, this weekend, the pain was still not going away, though not as acute in the shoulder, but an added concern was tingling and numbness in my fingers. This morning I got up and while showering felt I was lifting 400 lbs weights lifting my arm up to wash my hair.

So, I called my neurologist and got in later today. Almost immediately, she diagnosed PTS, saying my symptoms were fairly classic of this disorder. But, because of my neuropathy, she couldn't rule out the two being related in some way. So, she gave me a course of steroids to hopefully calm any inflammation and tomorrow I go back for an EMG. I keep wondering if I could have MS and all these are symptoms adding up to that? Who knows. Bottom line is right now I am considered to have PTS and am freaking out at the prospect that it will take years to resolve. I used to think I was good at handling pain, but in the last year or so, with the unending pain in my feet and legs and now this... I don't know how people with chronic pain handle it. I really don't.

I'll keep you posted, and would love to hear if anyone else has had any other nerve-related issues and if that may make someone more prone to getting this or if it is just more likely part of a bigger issue. Or maybe I'm just a hypochondriac!
graceisgood graceisgood
4 Responses Sep 6, 2011

Wow, I clicked on your comments because of the relationship between the flu shot and onset of shoulder pain. I could have written the same story. I'm not diagnosed with PTS, but from reading about it, it seems fairly likely I will be when I go see my doctor next Thursday. What interested me most about your case is the peripheral neuropathy in your feet, which I have been diagnosed with and am under the care of a neurologist for. I suspect, like me, that you don't have any form of diabetes to help explain your neuropathy. I kept thinking that I've done nothing to irritate my shoulder and realized over the past week and a half that it is getting worse. Today I did a Google search and stumbled across PTS. Once I got through reading it I knew that must be what I have. It makes me wonder if there is a relationship between the lower leg/foot neuropathy and PTS given that they both relate to nerves? Also, for a couple of months now, I've had a sort of tendonitis in my right middle finger outer joint and the joint at the hand. I also have the same with both thumbs at the joint at the hand. The pain is the same in all joints an is more typical of tendonitis that arthritis. The pain isn't mirrored in both hands other than the thumbs and it is a burning pain. The pain is also not debilitating, but making a fist with my right hand is difficult because that outer middle finger joint doens't want to bend without really forcing it. The bottom line is... are all of these things related?

I have also been told that I have PTS. I think I saw 6 different doctors until they finally gave me a name for it. But the reason I originally went to the doctors was because I am only able to lift my arm to a 90 degree angle. When I do that you can see all the muscles in my neck tighten up. I was first told that I have Scapular winging. I live in NY and the last doctor I went to see was down in Boston, Massachusetts. I went to see a specialist there to see if there is any way I can have more use of my arm. I have had multiple nerve conduction studies done. But 3 different doctors have done the test. And this doctor in Boston was still not able to pin point exactly what muscle is not working properly do to the nerve damage. People also thought I was crazy and nothing was wrong with me but there defineltly is.

How are you doing?
Could you recommend me any good doctor for PTS in NY or near by?

Yes, the flu vaccination CAN cause PTS to flare-up. <br />
<br />
According to<br />
<br />
“Causes and symptoms<br />
<br />
The exact cause of PTS is unknown, but the condition has been linked to many previous events or illnesses such as:<br />
• viral infection (particularly of the upper respiratory tract)<br />
• bacterial infection (e.g., pneumonia, diphtheria, typhoid)<br />
• parasitic infestation<br />
• surgery<br />
• trauma (not related to shoulder)<br />
• vaccinations (e.g., influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, pertussis,smallpox, swine flu)<br />
• childbirth<br />
• miscellaneous medical investigative procedures (e.g., lumbar puncture, administration of radiologic dye)<br />
• systemic illness (e.g., polyarteritis nodosa, lymphoma, systemic lupuserythematosus, temporal arteritis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome)”

While i was reading i could not believe what I was reading. First of all a flu shot should not cause you any problems.I mean you said you had them before with no problem so why now/ I think you should of made it a point to see her right away After all she did give you different medicine and it did nothing but make matters worse. I do have a chronic painful illness I am in pain 24-7 and its no way to live so you are not a hypochondriac I would like to talk more so..if you like please friend me i would rather you friend me i don't like to cause a problem if you don;t wan't to be my friend but i do hope to hear from u soon message me also if u like...Take Care