How Do I Relieve the Pain after an Antibiotic Shot?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Pain after an antibiotic shot can be relieved with the application of ice, hot or cold packs, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Those who cannot tolerate anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can take acetaminophen to relieve pain from the shot. Local anesthetics can also provide temporary relief from the pain from an antibiotic shot, but pain relief is generally limited to the skin. The pain from these shots is most frequently noticed in the muscle where it is given, and not on the surface of the skin.

An antibiotic shot or injection is given to treat bacterial infections. These bacterial infections include ear infections, strep throat, and infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Prior to the administration of the shot, the health care provider might apply a small amount of numbing get to the area to help reduce superficial pain at the injection site. It may also be recommended to take a pain-relieving medication an hour before getting the shot to further reduce the pain.

Antibiotic shots are often given to those who are unable to swallow pills, who can't remember to take their medications or for those who become ill from taking liquid forms of an antibiotic. Some people report that the side effects of these shots are milder than those caused by oral antibiotics. They are also commonly given to babies and can be injected into an intravenous line for patients who are in the hospital or nursing home.


When side effects from antibiotic shots occur, they include local reactions such as pain, redness or swelling at the site, diarrhea, stomach upset, and skin rash. When these side effects occur, the health care provider can recommend methods to reduce symptoms. Pain from an antibiotic shot typically resolves after a day or so, and the pain is generally described as a dull, aching pain. Rarely, pain from the shot can linger, but this is an unusual occurrence.

Since antibiotic shots cause muscle pain, a heating pain is usually very effective in soothing discomfort. The heating pad should be set to low and should never be used when sleeping. Using a heating pad that provides moist heat can further improve pain relief as can applying a warm compress to the affected area. Taking a warm bath or shower can help relax muscles and provide substantial pain relief from antibiotic shots.


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Post 3

@burcinc-- Antibiotic shots are intramuscular, meaning that they are injected into a muscle. It's normal for there to be a mild burning or aching pain from an antibiotic shot. Sometimes the technique of the medical practitioner giving the injection may make a difference as well.

If you are getting a shot daily for multiple days, ask the nurse to alternate the area where the shot is injected. Getting the shot at the same spot every time will cause the pain to increasingly worsen.

Applying some rubbing alcohol on the spot immediately after the injection can also help reduce and prevent pain.

Post 2

I don't know why but the pain from an antibiotic shot lingers on for a very long time for me. I actually had to take an oral pain killer last time I received the shot because I could not bear the muscle pain. I've tried other remedies like a cold pack and topical numbing cream, but neither have worked.

Post 1

In addition to hot and cold packs, I've noticed that gentle rubbing or massage of the area can also relieve pain after an antibiotic shot. I think that part of the reason that pain occurs is because the medication is stuck in the area where it is injected and it takes a while for it to spread. Gentle massage helps speed up this process and shortens the duration of pain. Hot and cold packs do the same thing. A cold pack is better though because it numbs pain and also reduces any swelling in the area.

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