Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Burners & Stingers

Burners and stingers are injuries to the nerves of the upper arm, either at the neck or shoulder, that often occur due to a collision in contact sports like football, hockey, wrestling, etc. They involve the brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves that starts from the spinal cord and provides sensations and movements to the arms and hands.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms include:

  • Tingling or burning pain in the arm, shoulder, and neck
  • Weakness or numbness in the arm
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Warm sensation in the affected arm

Cause & Anatomy

  • Hard impact or collision that compresses or overstretches the brachial plexus nerves, often from a fall or tackle
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) which increases risk
  • Forceful sideways bending of the neck that pinches the nerves

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that branch out from the spinal cord in the neck area and join together to supply the entire arm. Injury to these nerves causes the symptoms.


Diagnosis is typically made through a physical exam, checking for weakness, reflexes, and ruling out other injuries like fractures or spinal cord issues. Imaging tests like X-rays or MRI are usually not needed unless symptoms persist.


Wearing proper protective gear like neck rolls or elevated shoulder pads can help prevent these injuries in contact sports.


  • Resting and avoiding further injury until symptoms completely resolve
  • Physical therapy for range of motion and strengthening exercises if symptoms persist
  • Anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Surgery is rarely needed unless the injury is severe or there are recurrent episodes.


If symptoms last more than a few days, rehabilitation focuses on regaining strength and motion through exercises under the guidance of a therapist.

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