Have you heard of the terms burners and stingers? These are two names for an injury named after the sensation felt by an impact to the head or neck. Burners and stingers can occur from any sudden impact where the brachial plexus nerves are stretched or compressed. The time frame someone may suffer from this can greatly vary. In most cases, the pain is temporary and the symptoms pass sooner than later. However, burners and stingers have the potential to last hours, days, or even longer.

So how does this happen? Are you at risk for this injury? Those who often suffer from burners and stingers usually participate in contact sports. Those who take a tumble and land wrong on their neck/head often experience the burning and stinging nerve pain aforementioned. Another factor that could put you at risk for this type of injury is having something called spinal stenosis. Simply put, spinal stenosis happens with a small spinal canal. This means that the spinal nerves that are affected by burners and stingers are already placed under more pressure than usual, causing stretched or compressed nerves more easily than those who don’t have spinal stenosis.

The common symptoms of burners and stingers usually present themselves as:

  • A burning or an electric shock sensation
  • Arm weakness or numbness immediately after injury
  • A warm sensation
  • A feeling often described as an electric shock/lightning bolt down the arm

What should you do if you’re experiencing these symptoms? It’s important to reach out to someone who specializes in shoulder/neck injuries for help. Dr. Hicken has had over 20 years of experience in diagnosing and treating sports and shoulder injuries. It’s important to schedule an appointment so you can move forward with a treatment plan.

Dr. Hicken will be able to diagnose the pain you’re experiencing and create an individualized treatment plan for you. There are many treatment options available to you if you’re experiencing burners and stingers. Here are a few of them:

  • Removing the athlete from the sport – so they can completely recover
  • Physical therapy to regain strength and mobility
  • Protective neck or shoulder padding

While you may be out of the game for a period of time, your safety and recovery is the most important thing to keep in mind. If you continue to play your sport of choice that caused the injury initially, you may deal with some more serious injuries in the future, hindering your opportunity for a healthy and active lifestyle. As your symptoms subside and go away, your physician may recommend a return to your sport or previous lifestyle. This is to be done with caution, as it is common to re-injure the affected nerves and increase the potential permanent nature of this injury

Dr. Hicken has years of experience and a passion for helping his patients. If you’re suffering from any kind of shoulder, knee, or hip pain, make your health a priority and schedule your appointment with Dr. Hicken to get started on your path to recovery.