What is the stinger-burner syndrome?

The stinger-burner syndrome is a burning pain and loss of sensation in the neck and shoulder. It's usually short-lasting and occurs after the neck has been bent to one side. Stretching of the nerves between the head and shoulder cause these symptoms.

Stinger-burner syndrome is very common in football and wrestling where this type of sudden stretch can occur. After the initial sensation of burning pain, the player may report the arm and hand feeling heavy or dead.

Most players recover in a matter of minutes. They may not even report it to their coaches. It's estimated that half up to two-thirds of all football players experience this syndrome at least once in their career. In a small number of players, the problem can persist and even be permanent.


Jyrki P. Mäkelä, MD, PhD, et al. Brachial Plexus Lesions After Backpack Carriage in Young Adults. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2006. No. 452. Pp. 205-209.


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