Whether you’ve gotten your COVID vaccine yet or not, you’ve probably heard there’s one side effect that’s pretty common: pain at the injection site. It’s been reported by 82% ofModerna recipients, about 64% ofPfizer recipients, and 48% of those who've gotten theJohnson and Johnson vaccine.And while a sore arm isn’t that big of a deal, doctors say there’s one thing you can do immediately after getting the shot that will help — swinging your arm around.
You may have seen people on TikTok trying it out, but unlike a lot of things on social media, this one is legit, according to the experts. Infectious disease specialistDr. Peter Chin-Hongsays swinging your arm in a circle is likely to ease post-vaccine arm pain. He explains that the arm gets sore because the vaccine is injected into the arm muscle and not the bloodstream, which causes the immune system to target inflammation at the muscle area. But moving your arm around in a circle increases blood flow in the arm and that will diffuse the vaccine away from the muscle and let the immune system target other parts of the body.
Of course, there’s no guarantee this will stop all arm pain, but doing it ASAP is the key. Chin-Hong recommends moving your arm as soon as you’re released from your vaccine waiting period, rather than waiting until you get home. And infectious diseases specialistDr. Allison Agwuagrees, pointing out that “staying still will just increase muscle soreness.” The doctors also say that massaging your arm isn’t as beneficial as moving your arm like a windmill, so get those arms swinging to reduce soreness.