Mayo Clinic Connect
4 days after my 2nd Shingrix vaccination, I suddenly developed intense peripheral neuropathy in both feet…for the first time in my life…anyone else?
I originally replied to this post on May 21st 2019 (please read it) where I blamed Shingrix for my newly developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. I must now disavow that post and can say that the vaccine did not cause it. In my case – it was from a combination of sciatica due to longstanding lower back dysfunction and the existence of a trigger point in both of my piriformis muscles. I am successfully resolving the symptoms by treating the lower back with what are known as Mckenzie exercises which are a type of physical therapy. But the most relief is occurring from rubbing the piriformis trigger points with a Thera-Cane as described in the excellent book 'THE TRIGGER POINT THERAPY WORKBOOK' 3rd Edition by Clair Davies. Piriformis trigger points can cause all of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy because the piriformis muscle will be pressing on the nerve that goes right to the feet. If you are not diabetic and have developed peripheral neuropathy, I can only urge you to educate yourself on what I have described. Most doctors (especially older ones) have no knowledge or training about trigger points, but some recently graduated do. In my case – it was unfortunate that the symptoms occurred at the same time as when I got the Shingrix vaccine which was obviously purely coincidental. I hope this information will help somebody out there.
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Many thanks @19jimmy57 !!! You caught my attention the moment I saw the word 'sciatica'. I've had this ache in my sacral area for a long time, and at some point over the past few months I noticed that when that area was aching really bad, my feet were far more painful. And over the past week or so, my lower back has been screaming. I have long wondered if my back pain was related to the pain in my feet, but past attempts at identifying a problem related to my back (chiropractors and massage therapists) were not successful 🙁
After reading your post I searched 'Mckenzie exercise', and found a good video on YouTube. I immediately pulled out my yoga mat and did the 7 exercises, and based on what I could feel – they are definitely hitting the spot. I am searching through YouTube for a decent video on Piriformis trigger points to help inform me about that option.
Many thanks for posting this update! I will give this a try and see if it helps 🙂
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor
I am glad to help. I must urge caution however. There is a lot of misinformation out there on YouTube. If the video you watched is the one presented by an Asian couple, you may end up doing more harm than good as they have you bending forward – which is what probably caused your problem in the first place. Find the YouTube video titled 'Absolute Best Exercise for Sciatica & Herniated Disc- McKenzie Approach' by two therapists called Bob and Brad. These two are providing legitimate trade knowledge in all of their many videos – the kind that most therapists charge $250 per visit for. (This was grudgingly verified by my brother-in-law who has 30 years experience as a PT.) You want to do the exercises where you bend your back backwards instead of forwards. It's similar to doing a push-up but you leave your entire pelvis down and touching the mat (or bed) while you use your arms to raise your upper body only. Do not use any back muscles for this- the arms do it all. Before you try this though, it is a good idea to first try the following which often helps quickly and is a good way to verify if sciatica is causing your problems. In the above push-up procedure, picture your position when you are raised up fully at the top of the push-up. Now place couch cushions and pillows on your mat or bed and lie down in that position while you watch TV or even read. Do this several times a day for maybe 10 minutes at a time. Adjust the cushion height up or down for comfort but eventually the more height the better. (It feels great to sometimes bend one of my legs off to the side while elevated like this.) If you notice this helps your feet then you are on the right track and you should then include the push-ups in your daily routine. If possible, try directing a flow of very warm water onto your lower back while showering just before you do the above exercises – or even use a heating pad while propped up. Above all you must accept that you may need to do these exercises al least once a day for the rest of your life to keep the devil at bay – but especially after doing things that make your back "go out" (like shoveling snow, or bending forward too much, or lifting things using your back. The idea behind these exercises is to shift the position of the thing (disc??) that is touching the sciatic nerve and keep it off of that nerve. Explore the rest of Bob and Brads videos that deal with sciatica. There is good stuff there. I am throwing a lot at you but I only wish that someone had told me these things when this all started with me. As for the piriformis trigger points – they caused much of my foot burning and numbness until I learned to treat them effectively. They cause the piriformis muscle to "touch" the very same nerve from your lower back (as described above) but they do it in your ass cheek(s). These trigger points are actually small, painful "knots" in any muscle and they cause the muscle to shrink in length but increase in thickness which can then touch the nerve. Finding these painful points is half the battle won. You then rub the painful area directly several times a day using various methods, (which are too involved to get into here.) In my case – after about 10 to 14 days it no longer hurts to rub the trigger point and that's how you know you got the little bugger. Amazingly, you can have trigger points in any muscle or muscles for years and not even know they are there. It's only when you find them by pushing right on them and feeling pain that you know they are there. Various shoulder muscles are a favorite place for them to hide. Best of luck to anybody out there who finds any value in this.-Jim
Thanks for all the info. Yes – the video I like is Chapman Fu – who is a Canadian Registered Physiotherapist and Acupuncturist. I will have to see what tomorrow brings, but I can say that after doing the 7 recommended exercises this morning, my pain dissipated and remains absent at this point – 13 hours later. Forward bends are next to nothing for me. I have always been very flexible, and despite being in terrible shape these days, I can still bend over (standing position) and touch my toes without ANY effort. There is no stretch in that specific exercise for me. The exercise that recommends a forward bend from a sitting position feels positively BLISSFUL. But again, I will see what tomorrow (and future days) bring. If I start to hurt, I will know I've made an error in judgement….
I also found a video that showed how to address the trigger point you are explaining. That may also have contributed to how good I felt today. I just know that my feet, my legs, and my lower back have been essentially pain free today 🙂
@iceblue, Hi there, I just wanted to send you a big Connect Thank you for posting about your success with a new exercise program that has relieved your pain. It also looks like you have tackled the trigger point option. Keep updating everyone. We all benefit from your experiences. Thanks…Chris
Liked by Lisa Lucier, iceblue
Thanks Chris! For my first (very early) update I will say that Day 2 has resulted in NO new back pain, no sacral discomfort – and no pain in my feet or legs. I have decided to alternate those 7 exercises with another posture/balance series of exercises I do – so each will be done every other day. If I understand anything at this stage of my life, it is: Do not push the envelope.
I'll report back again in a week or so.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor, JK, alumni mentor, Chris Trout, Volunteer Mentor
Four days after my first Shingrix shot, both my feet became numb. That was in July 2019 – feet are still numb.
I have been experiencing tingling in hands (first time with these symptoms) beginning before my annual physical in Jan. Had my 2nd dose of shingrix on 1-25-20. I also had routine bloodwork done at my annual physical (1-30-20), when first told my doctor that I had been experiencing the tingling in hands. The cbc w/differential test showed high neutrophil count, according to nurse "suggestive of fighting off infection." As the tingling persisted but no signs of a cold or other infection developed, I wondered "could the supposed infection my body is fighting off be at all related to shingles vaccine?" I was told no, but yesterday I googled the symptom and shingles vaccine and came across this discussion. I had a follow up repeat blood test yesterday and will be interested to see the results.
Hello @rita143, welcome to Connect. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you can share your upcoming blood test results with us. I'm sure it will be helpful for other members with the same symptoms and questions. Here's what the CDC has to say about the Shingrix Vaccine:
What Everyone Should Know about Shingles Vaccine (Shingrix) – https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html
Complications of Shingles – https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/complications.html
@jager5210 has also discussed the vaccine and may have some information for you. Did the nurse who suggested it might be symptoms of fighting off an infection mention the vaccine as a possible cause?
Liked by johnhans
The nurse did not think the shingrix vaccine would be responsible for my high neutrophil count or cause of fighting off infection. "I wondered "could the supposed infection my body is fighting off be at all related to shingles vaccine?" I was told no,"
I will definitely post follow up info after I get blood work back. Thanks, John.
@rita143 from what I have read and from people who have gotten it, yes the Shingrix shot can give you a strong reaction. It is a much stronger vaccine than the old Zostavax so it can cause a mild case of illness. Fever, aches and chills are some of the possible reactions. The vaccine works by getting your body's immune system to react to it so the body sees it as a threat and knows how to deal with it. I am not a doctor or medical professional so this is my limited understanding.
I have been surfing this site for info re ShingRix. Immediately after my first ShingRix, on March 12, 2019, I had what I thought were to be symptoms or Restless Leg. It was five months, a sleep study, and a myriad of blood tests before a neurologist did an EMG and said I have Idiopathic sensory neuropathy of unknown etiology. I don’t feel it has progressed beyond my toes and lower legs. I am taking Gabapentin, 600 mg at bedtime and Amitriptyline 25mg at 6 p.m. I have never increased this. I sleep well 95% for the time, do have a hard time getting up early in the morning, but do not feel the need for a nap during the day. One of my immune test results is a bit off but no treatment for this located. Based on my history, I am unwilling to have the 2nd ShingRix. Yoga helps a lot. My balance is good as is my gait. Any thoughts? Thanks from this 77.5 yr old female.
There have been a few reports of this same experience after receiving a Shingrix shot so I do not think it is coincidental. For this reason I will not get one. Every time I get even a little sick my neuropathy flares up so I try to avoid anything that disrupts my immune system even though this too is risky. Helen
Liked by lioness
@helennicola I did get the shots the only thing I noticed my arm site of injection was sore for months
I had my second Shingrix shot on Jan. 15, and woke up next morning with both lower legs burning. Almost 6 weeks later, and still burning.
Hello @3boysandacat, Welcome to Connect. Thank you for sharing your experience with the second Shingrix shot. Have you shared the symptoms with your doctor to see if they have any suggestions? Did you also have some side effects from your first Shingrix shot?
I think @dablues had similar side effects from the Shingrix shot and might have some suggestions for you.
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