Stinger Syndrome And How Chiropractic Care Can Help

If you are an athlete in football, rugby, hockey or any other high contact sport, you may have experienced sharp pain in your neck and arm area referred to as a "stinger" or "burner." This type of injury can be treated using many techniques, including pain medications and surgery, but non-invasive treatments such as chiropractic care are often more effective at managing the pain and initiating nerve and muscle recovery. Here is a look at burner/stinger syndrome and how chiropractic treatments can be used to manage it.

What causes stinger syndrome?

A "stinger" gets its name from the painful nerve pinch it causes in the affected area. The injury occurs when the neck is overstretched during an intense neck and head collision, causing sharp pain that originates in the neck and travels down the arm, often causing the arm to feel numb and weak.

The reason for the numbness in the affected arm is because the injury causes some nerves in the arm to get cut off. Without proper nerve function, athletes often experience difficulty lifting the arm away from the body, gripping or even bending their elbow.

Injuries that often accompany a stinger include damaged ligaments in the cervical spine, dislocations and fractures. Stinger syndrome pain often lasts for a few minutes to hours after the impact, but some athletes often experience numbness and weakness in the injured arm for weeks or even months.

How chiropractors treat stinger syndrome

Adjustments to the upper cervical spine can produce tremendous relief for stinger injuries.

Chiropractors usually begin by assessing the upper back and neck for joints that have become fixated, as well as arm muscles and ligaments that have developed adhesions. Upper cervical x-rays may sometimes be used to determine which side the affected vertebrae in the spine and neck need to move so as to alleviate nerve irritation.

Fixated joints are treated by gently stretching of the arm and neck areas to restore motion and reduce tensions on stretched nerves. Spinal manipulations also help align the top bone in the neck called the 'atlas' so the weight of the head does not rest on one side of the body. With the head back over center of the body, pressure on nerves and muscles in the affected arm is eliminated, resulting in reduced irritation and pain as well as restored motion. Auxiliary modalities such as heat, taping, and ice may then be used to help the athlete recover and return to normal activity.

For professional chiropractic care, contact an office such as Gerleman Chiropractic Office.