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Burners and Stingers of the Neck

Neck pain

By

Updated June 13, 2014

Burners (Stingers)are neck injuries that cause acute pain, that feels like a burning, pinching or shock that runs from the base of the skull to the shoulder or along the neck. This pain is quite intense, and may be frightening, but subsides quickly. It is thought to be caused when a quick movement causes the compression or pinching of the bundle of nerves (brachial plexus) that run from the back of the neck into the arm. This often occurs from a twisting of the neck and head, or an impact from the side (often in football). In addition to an acute pain and shock from the shoulder down into the arm and fingers, there may be numbness, burning or weakness in the arm. Usually this acute pain lasts only a minutes or two and goes away completely.

Causes of Burners / Stingers
These are common football injuries, but many people experience the sensation during car accidents, or by simply turning the head quickly.

Treatment
Usually the pain subsides in a minute without any long-term problems. See a physician if the injury that caused the burnier was severe 9such as an impact) to rule out a serious condition such as a slipped disk or spinal cord problem. Seek immediate medical attention if both of your arms are affected, ou received a blow to the head.

If this occurs during sports, you need to be sure all your symptoms resolve entirely before you return to the game. If you return too quickly, the risk of re-injury is high.

Preventing Burners / Stingers

  • Use protective gear (a collar for football) and proper sports technique
  • Avoid awkward positions of the head an neck
  • Stretch your neck muscles prior to activity
  • Strengthen your neck, back and shoulder muscles
  • Return to activity slowly after sustaining a burner or stinger
  • See a physician if you experience recurrent burners and stingers

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