A stinger, also known as a burner, is a neck injury that can impact the neck, shoulder, arm, hand and upper back that is common in sports such as rugby, MMA, wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing but can also be experienced if you fall and knock your head.
The pain arises due to the head being forced sideways and away from the shoulder or forced backwards which causes an impingement or stretching of the nerves leading to irritation in the cervical spine and brachial plexus.
If you experience a stinger you may feel the following:
Sudden burning or electric shock feeling that radiates from your head and neck down the arm
Limited range of motion in the neck
Difficulty lifting your arm above your shoulder
Weakness in the arm and hand
Numbness in the arm and hand
Pins and needles in the hand and arm
Neurological injuries can take some time to heal and may take a few weeks for the pain in the neck and surrounding areas to calm down and range of motion to be restored. If weakness, numbness and tingling sensations persist it is important to have the injury checked out to rule out any severe spinal cord or nerve root injuries.
Therapies that can be useful for the treatment and recovery of stingers are: