Shoulder Care

Shoulder conditions occur in the shoulder joint which can prevent us from bending, flexing, reaching or rotating our arms.

Burners & Stingers

Shoulder Specialists At Wisconsin Bone & Joint

The physicians at Wisconsin Bone & Joint utilize cutting-edge technology to assess, diagnose and work with patients to develop innovative treatment plans for a variety of shoulder conditions and injuries. Our team of physicians is committed to finding you the best treatment for neck and shoulder pain that suits your individual needs.

Providing trusted Orthopedic care in the community for over 40+ years

At Wisconsin Bone and Joint, we pride ourselves with providing you highly personalized and comprehensive orthopedic care. Our philosophy of direct physician-to-patient care means your physician will be an intrical part of every stage of your care. This commitment to a dedicated continuum-of-care model has made us one of the most trusted and respected practices in Southeast Wisconsin and greater Milwaukee area.

Burners and Stingers

What are Burners and Stingers?

Burners and stingers are common injuries in contact or collision sports. A burner or a stinger is an injury to the nerve supply of the upper arm, either at the neck or shoulder. The injury is named for the stinging or burning pain that spreads from the shoulder to the hand. This can feel like an electric shock or lightening bolt down the arm.

In most cases, burners and stingers are temporary and symptoms quickly go away.

What Causes Burners and Stingers?

An injury to the brachial plexus can cause a burner or stinger. This often happens when the head is forcefully pushed sideways and down. This bends the neck and pinches the surrounding nerves.

Contact sports. Athletes who engage in contact sports are more likely to suffer a burner or stinger. In fact, up to 70 percent of all college football players report having experienced a burner or stinger during their 4-year careers.

Burners and stingers often occur with a fall onto the head, such as in a wrestling takedown or a football tackle. In fact, tackling or blocking in American football is the athletic activity that most often causes burners or stingers. Football defensive players and linemen frequently suffer this injury.

Spinal stenosis. In addition to playing contact sports, a small spinal canal may put you at greater risk for a burner or stinger. Athletes with recurrent stingers or burners may have smaller spinal canals than players who do not suffer recurrent injury. This condition is called spinal stenosis.

What Are The Symptoms of Baseball Injuries?

Burner and stinger symptoms typically occur in one arm only. They usually last seconds to minutes, but in 5% to 10 % of cases, they can last hours, days, or even longer. The most common symptoms of a burner or stinger include:

    • A burning or electric shock sensation
    • Arm numbness and weakness immediately following the injury
    • A warm sensation

Diagnosis

In order to determine whether your injury is a burner or stinger, your doctor will discuss your symptoms and how the injury occurred. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and nerve studies are not usually needed.

A more extensive examination is needed if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness lasting more than several days
  • Neck pain
  • Symptoms in both arms
  • History of recurrent stingers/burners

What Are The Treatment Options For Burners and Stingers?

Treatment begins by removing the athlete from further injury. Athletes are not allowed to return to sports activity until their symptoms are completely gone. This can take a few minutes or several days. Athletes should never be allowed to return to sports if they have weakness or neck pain.

If you have had recurrent stingers, your doctor may recommend a special neck roll or elevated shoulder pads to wear during sports activities.

Examples of special shoulder pads include “spider pads” worn under the shoulder pads or a “cowboy collar” worn on top of shoulder pads.

Although the injury gets better with time, you may need to work with a trainer or therapist to regain strength and motion if the symptoms last for several days.

Our team is here for you

When conservative care and treatment is appropriate, we offer the best, least invasive, least aggressive treatment options to relieve your pain and discomfort. When an injury is more serious and conservative care is not an option, our orthopedic surgeons provide the latest in innovative surgical interventions available with the goal of getting you back to the life you love. Wisconsin Bone & Joint physicians offer orthopedic services at three convenient locations in Mayfair, Glendale and Cedarburg.