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?
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.