What is a stinger?

A stinger involves damage to a group of nerves in the neck and arm. The injury is prevalent in contact sports and can occur in 2 ways:

  • The head and neck are driven toward the shoulder which crushes the nerves that move from the spinal cord to the arm
  • The head and neck are forced away from the shoulder which stretches the nerves.

Remember that the nerves end up irritated due to stretching or compression.

What are the indications?

stinger
Apply an ice pack on the site several times throughout the day at 20-minute sessions at a time until the discomfort subsides.

A stinger typically triggers significant pain from the neck down to the arm. There is a sensation that the arm is on fire.

There is also a pins and needles sensation and the affected arm or hand might be weak. It is also likely to have no symptoms after a period of rest after the injury.

The doctor will ask about the signs and assess the head, neck, shoulder, hand and arm. The individual will feel a sensation of tingling if the doctor pushes down on the head or pushes the head sideways.

Management of a stinger

If an individual has a stinger, the following measures can be done:

  • The neck and arms must be rested until the pain and other symptoms have settled.
  • Apply an ice pack on the site several times throughout the day at 20-minute sessions at a time until the discomfort subsides.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication can be used as instructed by the doctor.
  • The doctor might suggest suitable exercises to promote healing.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a stinger is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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