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Tetanus (Lockjaw)


What symptoms and signs did you experience with tetanus? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Opal, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

My tetanus shot was on February 2018, and three days later I couldn't move my arm, with burning and tingling in my arm. It's now in both arms, wrist, fingers swollen, and now the back of my head hurts. I am on my way to the emergency room. I am getting the run around from my doctor.

Comment from: MomOf6, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 17

Joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, fatigue, and headache were my tetanus symptoms.

Comment from: EM, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

I crushed my finger 8 days ago. They said I need a tetanus shot. I threw up a couple of times. Three days later my underarm was swollen. I couldn't move my neck. Underarm swelling went down but my neck is worse. I have excruciating pain and am totally immobile.

Comment from: Fooska, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 27

As a caregiver I was told to get the tetanus shot. It is a bundle package of diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccines. That was 2 months ago. My shoulder been in pain ever since. If I stub my toe the shock wave makes my shoulder hurt and it is excruciating. The pain is nonstop all day and night. I stopped doing yoga thinking I would give it a break, but it's been 2 months and the pain is the same. They gave the shot high on my arm. The lymph glands have gone down after 2 weeks. This is not medicine.

Comment from: StillinPain, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 14

I got a tetanus shot in my left arm on Friday. The arm was sore as expected, but by Monday I had a terrible pain in my back. Never experienced anything like it. Nine days later it hurts just as bad as day 1. I've taken sick days in the past because I didn't feel great, but until now I've always been able to work if I needed (easy desk job). This is different. I can't sit at my desk for more than an hour. Doctor told me it couldn't be the TDAP.

Comment from: PhotoHobo, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 12

In July, 2000 I had a tetanus vaccination in my right buttock. About 2 weeks afterwards, I developed extreme pain while sitting. It first occurred while driving. I had to stop the car and get out. I've had that pain ever since and nothing has helped. It waxes and wanes but is quite severe at times. Doctors claim it wasn't the vaccine. I believe it was; nothing else could have caused it and timing was too much of a coincidence. No more tetanus vaccines for me, thank you very much.

Comment from: Anonymous , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I got a TDAP vaccine yesterday around 5:30 PM. I woke up during the night with tremors, freezing and feeling nauseous. I did not have a thermometer but my husband said I was on fire. This morning I had to call out of work and I had a low grade fever, chills, severe head ache and body aches. I stayed in bed all day with no appetite. I'm not sure I will ever get the tetanus shot again. I feel horrible.

Comment from: Joanne , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I got poked with a dirty needle at work. At the emergency room they gave me a tetanus shot, hepatitis B immunoglobulin, hepatitis B vaccine and PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) medication for HIV exposure. I cannot figure out which one of these poisonous cocktails is responsible for the fact I cannot move my left arm to the side, I cannot straighten my elbow without pain and it's getting worse every day (I got the shots a week tomorrow). To be honest, I do not know which injection out of the 4 went into my right arm.

Comment from: Jules, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

The 2nd day after my tetanus vaccine I felt aches like I had the flu. I had a fever and chills for two days. Four weeks later I am getting headaches and my ribs are sore to the touch. My calf aches like I have the flu and I am experiencing more headaches. My eyes are also sore. My lymph node in my neck swelled up and is getting smaller after four weeks. I hope this doesn't last too much longer.

Comment from: smeggy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

I had a DTAP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) shot last Friday. It was totally fine at first, but 5 days later (yesterday) the soreness started. Also there was a bit of swelling where the shot was given, with a few small red blotches under it. Today it is even more swollen and there are more blotches traveling farther down my arm. The pain level is about the same but it seems like it is in my shoulder now too. The pain seems worse when I raise my arm up. It's also getting a bit itchy where the red splotches are and my whole upper arm feels hot to the touch. I tried icing it but that makes it itch more and start to prickle. So I am just leaving it alone and hoping it doesn't get worse.


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Comment from: deaner, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

I went for a regular checkup about a month ago and the doctor told me it would be a good idea to get a tetanus shot due to the fact that I work around children. Due to the fact that the tetanus shot has something in it to help prevent whooping cough. I went ahead and got the shot and I have been regretting it ever since. I had the soreness for a few days then I thought it was subsiding, boy was I wrong. The pain became much worse! I called the doctor's office the next week and he was on vacation so I went to the local Med Express. The doctors there weren't sure what was causing my arm to be swollen and painful so they put me on a 10 day dosage of prednisone. The pain started to go away within a day or two. But as soon as I was done with the prescription the pain came right back. I followed up with my doctor's office within a few days and he said that a nerve could have been hit during the injection and it could be sore for a few weeks. I am now going into the 4th week and the pain is getting worse! It is now shooting up into my neck and down into my fingers. I am waiting for a returned phone call as I write this from my doctor's office to see what my next step should be.

Comment from: inpain, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 30

I had a tetanus booster 4 days ago and I am still experiencing very painful swelling in my armpit. The site of vaccination is still swollen and itchy and warm to a radius of 4 inches from the red half inch vaccination site. Bowel movements are looser than normal, and I frequently feel nauseous, especially when lying down. I sure hope these symptoms don't last much longer.

Comment from: Frustrated, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 19

Two days after a tetanus booster shot I started having a very bad headache and deep muscle aches so severe that I could not focus on my work. Four days after the shot, I began feeling tightness in my chest (like I couldn't catch my breath) and a burning sensation in one area of my calf accompanied by a crawling or trickling sensation radiating from the area with the burning pain.

Comment from: Rachel raye, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 11

I got the tetanus shot about 2 weeks ago on my upper arm. It still hurts to use my hand or arm, even fingers cause pain. I went back to the Urgent Care and they said I need to see a real doctor. I'm scared.

Comment from: Bob, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 11

We are calling a lawyer. Pain from tetanus shot is paralyzing and abnormal. It has been over one week with pain intensifying and shooting down the arm.

Comment from: albert, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 04

The tetanus shot is the worst shot that I've ever taken in my life. It gave me 103 temperature all night long, cold sweats sore joints. And I now just woke up with extreme back pain. I can't go to work today I'm completely demobilized, it really is awful.

Comment from: Lili, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

My husband got the tetanus shot and within the next few hours my head started to throb. I got lightheaded and dizzy and my jaw hurts and it feels like I have lock jaw and I only feel like this when I'm around him. I talked to the doctor and he said that there's no way that his getting the shot could make me feel like I have tetanus. When I go to work I start to feel like myself again and then I come home and I start to feel sick again.

Comment from: NDThunderhead, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I got a tetanus shot two days ago. I have lots of pain in my arm where I got the shot. Hurts so much I can't sleep on it. This morning I woke up and my whole arm is numb.

Comment from: Rob, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

About 4 or 5 days after getting tetanus shot, shoulder and arm pain occurred at the shot location, and pain in my shoulder is severe. Weeks later, pain spread to the entire back and down my sides and ribs with severe muscle spasms, I can't sleep or function with the continuous pain.

Comment from: Lisa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I was given a tetanus shot, TDAP after being bitten by a dog. Day 1 I had arm swelling and pain. Day 2, swollen lymph node near my shoulder blade. Day 4 to 7 I had swollen lymph nodes in the neck and back of head. Very painful. I didn't have this reaction the last time I was given TDAP. Only difference between then and this time was the dog bite and I had a urinary tract infection.


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Comment from: Jen Me, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I had the tetanus shot at my annual checkup because I am a professional gardener. The first day, I was a little tired but was able to work. However, I spent the second and third day sleeping, completely unable to get out of bed. When I finally returned to consciousness, I looked online for clues. Aha! I was having a reaction to the shot! I had loss of appetite, nausea and fever for about 5 days. Now, 7 days later, the inside if my mouth hurts. If this is the vaccine, I would hate to get tetanus.

Comment from: Katlyne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

My doctor recommended getting a tetanus shot after my physical 2 weeks ago. My arm hurt immediately after getting the shot. It felt like my muscle popped when the needle went in. My arm has been sore ever since getting the shot. Two nights ago it hurt so bad I couldn't lie on it or move to a comfortable position. It still hurts especially lifting my arm.

Comment from: TPE, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

I had the tetanus injection 2 days ago and I have a bad pain in my shoulder blade area all the way up to my neck. I can't lower my head because it's very painful. I'm also struggling to sleep because any position hurts. My elbow feels tingly almost like it is about to get pins and needles. Really hoping it stops soon! Can't be like this for work! Ugh!

Comment from: Kristyn, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I started having migraine with tetanus. I have severe blood pressure problems where my blood pressure is too low and heart beat is usually around 90.

Comment from: Nic D, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I received the tetanus shot 5 days ago (Tuesday). The following morning I started developing flu like symptoms; headache, chills, sweats, dizziness, body aches, shakes, tiredness and fatigue. Most of that has passed, however, yesterday (4 days later) I started to develop a severe sharp pain in my throat and have developed a nasty deep chest cough. I'm feeling miserable and breathing hurts.

Comment from: Jen0513, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

I had a tetanus shot because it is a requirement for my nursing program. The first day the injection site was only sore for about an hour. Midday, the next day, I felt itching. Next thing you know, I was having a lot of pain deep into the muscle, a slight burn, a lump where the injection was given, also it was warm to touch, oh and a terrible headache. Not fun!

Comment from: Platti, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 25

I'm 49 years old, and I received the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) yesterday. Within 3 hours, I experienced mild pain in arm, and more moderate pain in shoulder. But this morning, it felt as if I had both thigh bones broken, the right more than the left. I can barely walk without assistance. My right side from shoulder to thigh feels as if every bone is broken. The pain is literally to the bone.

Comment from: sensitivesally, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I had a tetanus booster. Within 24 hours I was extremely nauseous and vomited. I was very dizzy. Third day, I was still nauseous and had an extreme migraine headache. We are now on day 5 after the shot and I still feel generally ill, slightly dizzy, have horrible high pitched ringing in my ears and my jaw is sore and locking up. I will not be getting another tetanus shot and now I worry about hepatitis shot and others for travel abroad.

Comment from: Raquel, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 29

I had a tetanus shot 3 weeks ago at an annual checkup. I felt fine until a few days later and my neck and my lower back so bad I couldn't stand it, so I went to the chiropractor thinking I slept wrong. The next few days all my joints were so sore I thought something was wrong with me. Maybe the flu! Then my knees started locking up and I would almost fall. The joints are still a little achy, but my knees are still locking up and popping all the time. I refuse to get another tetanus ever again. I have been so miserable.

Comment from: Nanaof4, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

I had a tetanus shot on my left arm 3 days ago. The next day my underarm has some pain in it. Not sure this is normal.

Comment from: Maria , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 01

The tetanus vaccine caused too much pain.

Comment from: Tiama, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

One week after my TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination I woke up with the injection site sore, red, and warm to the touch. I had no symptoms until now.

Comment from: DANAH C, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 10

I'm on Humira, so my immune system is compromised. It didn't take a week or days for shoulder pain to start, it started 12 hours after the tetanus injection. Injection site is fine. It is just the shoulder. I am not sure what this is; nothing I've read about.

Comment from: Daniel, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 06

Three days after getting the tetanus shot I have severe headaches and my left arm is feeling dead. Chest cough has also started. After reading these reviews I won't be getting it again. Due to working close to raw sewerage we were recommended having it from our work medic.

Comment from: Margaret , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

My left arm is extremely painful after a tetanus injection yesterday I can hardly bear the ache.

Comment from: BB, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

About 3 days after the DTaP shot, I developed very painful canker sores on the tongue that took about a week to go away.

Comment from: Nova, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 06

I got a Tdap shot four days ago. The first full day, my arm was sore and my whole body ached. The second night I was in full fever mode, chills, shivers, and boiling hot, with an asthmatic cough. I had awful migraines both days so those medications helped with the aches. Today I do not have a migraine, therefore all the aches are in full form. I can barely walk and I cannot lift my left arm. I usually have bad reactions to all vaccines, but this seems a bit worse than usual. I still intend to get vaccinated to everything I need to be vaccinated against. This time I had the tetanus shot because I had an infected splinter from gardening.

Comment from: Mystic Eyrth, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I got the tetanus shot 12 days ago. Yesterday I thought maybe I slept wrong because my neck, arm and shoulder were in extreme pain. I had little to no symptoms when I got the shot so I went to the chiropractor and well, now I'm in utter agony. Thanks to you reviews I see tetanus shots are a necessity but also a misery. I just hope it doesn't last too much longer.

Comment from: other, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 17

First morning of tetanus shot, I had slow onset of pain in localized area of injection (shoulder/upper arm region). By night I had unbearable pain, and could not lift the arm. Morning, second day I had sudden fever, nausea, and heat flash (only once). Day three, I have recovered from arm pain, mild amount of pain. I developed a small canker sore inside lower floor of lip.

Comment from: Jen, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 08

I had a tetanus shot 2 weeks ago. The pain deep inside my arm is getting worse. It is hard to lift it. It wakes me at night. Anti-inflammatory pills and basic painkillers have no effect. I have an appointment next week with the doctor.

Comment from: InPainFromDTAP, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I was given a DTaP over a week ago now. I had not stepped on a rusty nail or had any particular reason except it was offered and encouraged. I received the shot in my upper left arm. I had no side effects until yesterday (day 7). I thought I had slept on my arm wrong. But today the pain has gotten worse. It hurts to type or raise my arm.

Comment from: Sondra, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

I had my tetanus shot 5 days ago, and my arm and shoulder are swollen and sore. I just noticed the soreness is getting worse. I didn't expect this much pain or soreness!

Comment from: Regretful1, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 24

I received a tetanus shot last week. The first couple of days I was fine. After three days I began having neck and shoulder pain. It has gotten so bad I can hardly lift my arms. It feels as if the muscles in my neck and shoulders are tight and fatigued.

Comment from: ken p., 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: September 29

After tetanus shot it would appear to have caused a strong cold sore on the inner lip which resists treatment.

Comment from: Dede, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I received a tetanus shot and after a week the pain on the right shoulder started. Gradually it became even worse and now I just can't use my shoulder, it hurts constantly.

Comment from: Sj, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

I got tetanus shot 20 days ago and next day my jaw was locked. My jaw is still locked, very hard to chew or eat. I wish I never had it.

Comment from: jane, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

In l955 as an immigrant to Canada I was given the polio/tetanus vaccine. Within one hour my arm was red and swollen at the site. By the time I got home my arm was paralyzed and I had a high fever which lasted a week. I went through this process once again but my parents would not permit the booster shot. So many years later I would be afraid to have a tetanus shot.

Comment from: jbfly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 14

Less than 24 hours after receiving a tetanus injection for having stepped on a rusty nail, I got a severe headache AND LOST MY VISION FOR THREE DAYS. Having never had a history of headaches or vision problems, it was quite scary. The doctor told me it was an allergic reaction to tetanus and to never get another tetanus injection.

Comment from: Anonymous, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: September 10

I was working on a roof two days ago and was stuck by a rusty nail. Since then I have had watery bowel movements about seven or eight times per day. I am wondering if these are related.

Comment from: cindy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I had a four inch red and swollen area 72 hours after the shot and soreness.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

I had a tetanus shot 10 days ago. At first it was a bit hot and sore for three days. Then it seemed to improve for a few days and then acted up again with raised red shapes below the site and very sore.

Comment from: JJ, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 30

I was recently treated for tetanus after getting ill from a spider bite. I became nauseated and then about a week later began to show symptoms of lock-jaw and a very stiff neck. I became dehydrated. I went to an urgent care clinic and was sent immediately to the hospital where they treated me with some type of anti-goblin shots and large doses of antibiotics. I was in the hospital for 17 days and then in rehab for a week. I am recuperating at home, but I have a long way to go before my strength will return. I no longer have lock-jaw, but my neck is still very stiff and I cannot turn it very far to the left or right.

Comment from: mathew, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 26

With tetanus, I experienced fever, muscle spasms, lock jaw and photophbia.

Published: July 13

Oddly enough, I had basically no symptoms until 5 days after my tetanus shot -- although, it was sore. Then, the area around the injection site got all hard, red and itchy.

Published: April 01

I'm not sure if this is coincidence, or if this was caused by the tetanus vaccine. My arm still hurts (6 weeks after the tetanus shot), deep within the muscle, or bone area of my arm. It hurts to put on a coat or sweater or reach in certain ways.

Published: April 01

I broke out like I had the measles and itched like I had poison ivy.


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