Burners and stingers syndrome is a type of sports injury. It is a pain in the shoulder or neck that causes a burning or stinging feeling down an arm to the hand. It happens when nerves in the neck are stretched or squeezed. The pain often goes away in minutes, hours, or days after an injury. But it can happen again and again.
The condition can occur while your child is playing contact sports such as football, wrestling, and hockey. It can also happen during gymnastics. The most common cause is a child falling or taking a hit to the neck or shoulder. This pushes the head sharply to the side and down. This movement:
A child is more at risk for burners and stingers syndrome if he or she:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
Symptoms often go away after a few minutes. Some children’s symptoms last for hours or days after an injury. In severe cases, symptoms may last for weeks or months. Usually only one arm is affected.
The symptoms of burners and stingers syndrome can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will also ask about recent sports or injuries. He or she will give your child a physical exam. In some cases, a child may have an X-ray or other tests. This is to look for other problems in the area that may be causing similar symptoms.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The condition usually goes away on its own in a few days. Your child should not take part in any practice sessions or games until all symptoms are gone. Your child should not play sports if any symptoms come back. Treatment may include working with a physical therapist. A physical therapist is a provider who helps someone recover from an injury. A therapist can help your child rebuild strength in the neck and shoulder muscles. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if a therapist is needed.
After injury, your child should wear special protective padding around the shoulders and neck. This may include:
Talk with your child’s sports coach about making sure your child has padding to provide protection. Ask your child’s provider about any follow-up care your child will need after returning to sports.
Most young athletes will not have ongoing health problems because of an episode of burners and stingers. A small number of children who have repeat burners and stingers may need to visit a healthcare provider for a more detailed look at the problem.
You can help prevent a sports injury in your child by:
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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