Injections in arm: How high up the arm... - Pernicious Anaemi...

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Injections in arm

Sallyannl profile image

How high up the arm should you get injection.

I've had problems in left arm for four weeks now, cant sleep on that side, and certain movements causes severe pain.

I had to have b12 this morning and asked nurse which arm she injected last time (one month ago) and it was the left arm.

She injects high up and just wondering if that is the reason.

21 Replies

Sit upright. Fold your right arm across your chest and grab hold of the top of your left arm. Now move your left elbow about three inches away from your waist. You should be able to feel the curve of the muscle that moves your left arm. The jab should go somewhere near the thickest bit.

IM injection into deltoid
Sallyannl profile image
Sallyannl in reply to fbirder

Thank you fbirder, the nurse injected higher than that.Have to see dr in month if no improvement.

Nackapan profile image
Nackapan in reply to Sallyannl

Yes ive had problems when having loads of all IM in upper arms. They seemed to do them too high quite slot do I wore a t shirt with cap sleeves rather tgsn a vest top. Was my left arm too

I actually was given sone pysio to do. My shoulder was clanking Handed a sheet mainly of neck stretches ?

I was quite concerned about it.

It did take a few months to settle.

I had them in my right arm only but started to self inject at home sc .(on prescription) and some bought . Seeing nurse only 4-6 weeks for IM I upper arm.

So give that arm a break.

Sallyannl profile image
Sallyannl in reply to Nackapan

Thanks nackapan , I had further injection today, Right arm, . Told to relax arm more. So far so good in that arm. If I remember rightly I recall it happening in my right arm over ten years ago. That healed by itself.Trouble is I forget about it until I get the pain.

Reaching for seat belt ouch that hurt, pushing car door open, pegging out washing... ah well I will remember eventually.

Sallyannl profile image
Sallyannl in reply to Sallyannl

I have been having terrible pain in left arm since the injection 7 weeks ago. I tried everything to try to get rid of pain. Last week tried tiger balm which was a big mistake my whole arm covered in lumps and a rash very itchy. I have now been to see doctor and told I have a frozen shoulder and have to have steroid cream for rash. Good job I have partner willing to wash my hair and help with dressing etc.


I had a nurse do that too Sallyannl. Felt as though it hit the bone and hurt for a week. Have no probs doing it myself though. Think she was just a dragon ;)

Well it definitely hit some thing, just using ice packs, pain killers and anti inflammatory cream.And trying not to use that arm, but sometimes forget, then I use some unflattering language.


Why not ask if you can have the injection in your thigh? Injections became so painful in my arms I nearly fainted - one nurse came up with the solution and I have been pain free from injections ever since.

Sallyannl profile image
Sallyannl in reply to jillc39

I'm not 100% certain this was the cause, but cannot think of anything else other than when I had the injection. I couldn't even remember which arm was injected at that time, it turned out to be the same arm. I will have to see how my arm improves as I really had to fight to get monthly injections and dont want to rock the boat.

Cherylclaire profile image
CherylclaireForum Support in reply to jillc39

Glad to hear that this got resolved, Jill.

Perfectly explained by fbirder! I just read somewhere about flu vaccines and people complaining of shoulder damage as a result of them being given too high in the past. Definitely a possibility.

Hi Sallyanni,I had the same problem many times and could only inject in right arm following a left side mastectomy. Then had to visit a Norwegian doctor in Spain for an overdue injection which she gave in upper outer quadrant of buttock, this was almost painless and I have requested the same at my doctors ever since. This method is far less painful both during and after and equally effective. Maybe an option for you too.

I've have had them in buttocks before, at home inject into thigh, normal for surgery to use arm, will now see if they are open to injecting elsewhere.I am just frustrated at feeling a lot better with injections to have this set back. It's strange if it's not one thing it's another.

Many thanks to all.

I self inject into my thigh, I feel it but it’s ok, have been doing it for over a decade.

I have always had them in the upper outer quadrant of either buttock. I change from left to right and lift my foot from the floor to relax the muscles. With oil solution = slightly painful depending on my body condition at the time of the shot. With water soluble fluid = painless.

B12life profile image
B12life in reply to elzepelsje

I tried it all and ended up doing shots here as well. WARNING: you don't want to hit the SI nerve as that can cause some damage; so I recommend having a nurse train you once. I use 25G 1" or 1.5" needles (whatever is available). This is the most painless method for me as I am quite thin. The thighs just got way to beat up. This is a good video, but please get trained by a medical professional.

fbirder profile image
fbirder in reply to B12life

Even for experienced nurses the buttocks are no longer recommended for IM injection.

Traditionally the dorsogluteal (DG) muscle was used for IM injections but this muscle is in close proximity to a major blood vessel and nerves, with sciatic nerve injury a recognised complication (Small, 2004). In addition, drug absorption from the DG muscle may be slower than other sites and this can lead to a build-up of drugs in the tissues and risk of overdose (Malkin, 2008). Many patients find the use of the DG site intrusive and are reluctant to undress to give access to the relevant area. For these reasons, the DG muscle is no longer recommended for IM injections – in spite of this, many nurses continue to use it (Ogston-Tuck,2014; Walsh and Brophy, 2011; Malkin, 2008).

elzepelsje profile image
elzepelsje in reply to B12life

Thank you, my husband delivers it and he knows about the quadrants. It always works well but last time he hit a small blood vessel I think as it gave me a kick and there was some blood.

I always do mine in the mid outer third of one of my thighs and have done for the past five years. I also keep a record of my B12 injections with date, leg and time.

It needs to be injected into a muscle I believe. I have it in the deltoid muscle in my arm.

I alternate thighs. So much easier

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