Can You Get Complex Regional Pain Syndrome from a Flu Shot?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating nerve condition that can impact all aspects of a person’s life. The symptoms of CRPS can last anywhere from months to years, and they can be permanent in some cases. Complex regional pain syndrome can have a variety of triggers, and, as the Mayo Clinic notes, “its cause isn’t clearly understood.” However, medical researchers have identified several cases of CRPS linked to the annual flu shot.

When complex regional pain syndrome is linked to the flu shot, patents can hire a vaccine attorney to file a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP is a federal government program that was established to provide a source of financial recovery for individuals and families affected by vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. It covers several types of vaccine-related illnesses and injuries—including CRPS linked to the flu shot—and most successful claims are resolved via settlement without the need to go to court.

Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Its Effects

As explained by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), complex regional pain syndrome is characterized by “excess and prolonged pain and inflammation that follows an injury to an arm or leg.” As NINDS goes on to explain, patients diagnosed with CRPS “will have changing combinations of spontaneous pain or excess pain that is much greater than normal following something as mild as a touch” and may also experience symptoms such as:

  • Changes in skin color and texture
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Decreased mobility
  • Joint stiffness and swelling
  • Muscle spasms, tremors and atrophy
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Swelling in the arm or leg below the site of the injury

According to NINDS, while most people who develop complex regional pain syndrome will eventually recover, “the severe or prolonged cases are profoundly disabling.” As the Mayo Clinic explains:

“Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale. It may undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible.”

While CRPS is usually localized near the site of the injury (i.e., a flu shot injection site), symptoms can also spread throughout the body or be mirrored on the patient’s opposite limb. Typically, prompt treatment provides the greatest chance of a full recovery without serious complications.

Understanding the Link Between CRPS and the Flu Shot

As noted above, the specific cause of complex regional pain syndrome is not well understood. However, the condition is typically linked to physical trauma—and this can include trauma resulting from a flu shot or other vaccination. Although complex regional pain syndrome linked to the flu shot only occurs in a very small percentage of cases, flu shot recipients who are diagnosed with CRPS can experience life-altering effects for months, years or even decades.

While errors during vaccine administration may increase the risk of a vaccine recipient developing complex regional pain syndrome, it is not clear whether additional trauma from a vaccination error is necessary to trigger CRPS. There is anecdotal data to suggest that it is not. As a result, all flu vaccine recipients (and parents of children who receive the flu vaccine) should be aware of the symptoms of CRPS, and they should seek a diagnosis promptly if they have any reason for concern.

Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome from a Flu Shot

For individuals and families who are coping with the effects of complex regional pain syndrome from a flu shot, it is important to speak with a vaccine attorney about filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Not only does the VICP cover the costs of treatment for various vaccine-related injuries and illnesses, but it also covers successful claimants’ lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Filing a VICP claim for complex regional pain syndrome from a flu shot requires evidence of the link between the vaccine recipient’s immunization and his or her diagnosis. With this in mind, individuals who are interested in filing a VICP claim should try to take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Locate Your (or Your Child’s) Vaccination Record – If you can, track down your (or your child’s) vaccination record. If you or your child received a flu shot at the doctor’s office, the office should have a record of the vaccination on file. If you or your child got the flu shot at a pharmacy, clinic or other facility, you may have received a receipt or vaccination card.
  • Collect Your Relevant Medical Records – It will be helpful if you can collect all of your (or your child’s) medical records related to the diagnosis and treatment of your (or your child’s) complex regional pain syndrome. These records will be important for establishing the link between your (or your child’s) flu shot and CRPS diagnosis as well as for documenting the short and long-term costs of your (or your child’s) condition.
  • Speak with a Vaccine Attorney – While vaccine recipients and parents have the option of trying to file a VICP claim on their own, they can also hire a vaccine attorney to represent them. The VICP pays claimants’ legal fees separately from their compensation awards, so it costs nothing to hire an attorney to handle your claim. An experienced vaccine attorney will be able to help with establishing your right to compensation under the VICP, calculating the amount you are entitled to recover, and negotiating a settlement or presenting your case to the Vaccine Court if necessary.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant

If you would like to know more about filing a VICP claim for complex regional pain syndrome linked to the annual flu shot, we invite you to get in touch. We represent vaccine recipients and their families in VICP claims nationwide. To schedule a free consultation with vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant, please call 202-800-1711 or request an appointment online today.


Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.