A burner or a stinger is a stretch injury to the nerves coming out of the cervical spine. This injury often results from a traumatic event where the athlete’s neck is forcefully hyperextended or forced away from the opposite arm. Football players are most often affected by these injuries.
Signs and symptoms
Players often feel a burning pain that goes into the shoulder, down the arm, and into the hand and finger. They may also notice numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the arm, hand, and fingers.
Diagnosis and treatment of a burner or stinger
These injuries usually resolve with rest and time. It can take a few minutes to go away, or it can take hours or days in rarer cases. A football player who suffers what he thinks is a stinger or burner should talk to the athletic trainer or team doctor to get it checked out. As I explain in this video, if symptoms persist, it can be important to see a neurologist or neurosurgeon to learn the extent of the injury.
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