A Common Football Injury – Burner / Stinger

A “Burner” or “Stinger” is a relatively common sports injury. It usually occurs in contact sports, so given that all the Burlington high school football programs are starting right now, we thought this would be a perfect blog topic.

A burner or stinger is sort of like a whiplash injury to the side. Usually from a tackle in a sport like football or rugby, the head gets forced away from the injured side and the same shoulder gets pushed downward. The pain is usually immediate, but usually only lasts a few minutes.

A burner or stinger involves injury to the nerves that leave the neck. As a result, the pain has a distinctive character. The discomfort is usually a burning pain with numbness in the arm. There is usually an associated weakness in the area.   The neck and shoulder are usually sore to move and sore to touch.

Stinger Football Injury Treatment

So when a player has a burner or a stinger playing football this fall, what should you do? Of course, it’s always a good idea to have your injury examined and diagnosed by a professional. This could be a chiropractor, physiotherapist, athletic therapist or medical doctor (to name a few). Usually a re-examination after a week is a good idea as some symptoms may linger.   If symptoms persist an x-ray or further diagnostic imaging may be warranted.

Again, keep in mind that a burner or stinger is an injury that often resolves on its own and doesn’t require too much intervention. At the same time, many athletes can often dismiss these injuries as something trivial when that isn’t necessarily the case. Similar to how we sometimes hear “it’s just a minor concussion”, these injuries can (on occasion) involve recurring symptoms so they should always be taken seriously. Wearing the appropriate equipment may help to lessen the potential for these injuries and strengthening of the neck and shoulder muscles may also help. A suitable health professional (as listed above) can help you with diagnosis, management / recovery and prevention.

Playing football in Burlington this fall? If you get a burner or stinger, give us a call!