Your Covid-19 questions answered

I saw it on TikTok — does swinging your arm stop the pain after getting a Covid-19 vaccine jab?

29 June 2021 - 07:00 By unathi nkanjeni
Swinging your arm increases blood flow and may make you feel like it's reducing the pain, says Johannesburg-based GP Dr Hillary Mukudu.
Swinging your arm increases blood flow and may make you feel like it's reducing the pain, says Johannesburg-based GP Dr Hillary Mukudu.
Image: World Health Organisation/Afro

Swinging your arm in a windmill motion to stop the pain after getting a Covid-19 vaccine jab does not work.

Over the past few weeks, a popular TikTok “hack” has seen many users rotating their arms to try to ease the pain after getting a jab.

On the app, teen users from around the globe share videos of themselves doing the challenge, claiming that it helps ease the pain.

However, experts have disputed the “hack”, saying it's not a scientifically proven pain relief method.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Johannesburg-based general practitioner Dr Hillary Mukudu said feeling mild pain after getting vaccinated was no different from getting other injections.

“Just like any other injection, when someone is inoculated with the vaccine, there is mild pain on the site, which is on the deltoid muscle, for about a day or two. Thus, people would prefer to use a non-dominant arm. However, whichever arm you choose it’s up to the person being injected, there is no scientific basis for choosing one or the other,” said Mukudu.

Mukudu said swinging your arm increases blood flow and may make you feel like it's reducing the pain.

“With respect to swinging your arm, it is known that doing so increases blood flow and others feel it reduces the pain. However, as mentioned the pain is mild. There is no need to take extreme measures to swing or not to swing, dominant or non-dominant arm is neither here nor there. People should not be worried about pain that much as it’s not any different to other vaccines that even children received,” she said.

Dr Marlin McKay, who runs his own medical practice in Roodepoort, told TimesLIVE the best way to ease the pain after getting vaccinated is to keep the arm still and refrain from moving very much.

“Movement goes against the basic medical principle. Rest it or alleviate it ... but there is no scientific basis that those sort of motions will relieve the pain,” said McKay.

McKay said getting a vaccine on your non-dominant arm is the better option.

“Getting vaccinated on your dominant side limits mobility and the ability to function so we always suggest the non-dominant side,” said McKay.


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