What is a stinger in football? June 16, 2023 – Posted in: Featured Articles – Tags:

When watching NFL games, you frequently hear the casual statement: “Player X is on the sidelines after that play, but it looks like he just got a stinger.”

You explain to your curious friends that it’s just a stinger. He’ll return in one or two plays. Nerves among your buddies are soothed, and you can now watch the game without concern.

You don’t really believe what you just stated, though. You are unaware of the symptoms of a stinger, how to treat one, or when your favorite player will be able to return to the pitch. You should feel embarrassed of yourself because you are a liar.

A stinger is a compression injury to the brachial plexus, a group of nerves that go from your neck to your shoulder and into your arm, according to Dr. Matt Stevens, physical therapist and proprietor of Pure Physio (Strongsville, Ohio).

The injury can happen in a number of ways, but it usually happens when the head and shoulder suddenly move in opposition to one another, like when a player jerks his head abruptly to the side or makes contact with his upper collarbone. A tingling or numbness feeling in the arm or in the area between the neck and shoulder results from the compression of the nerve.

A stinger is what you get when you suddenly swivel your head to get a pen while sitting down and feel something similar to a brief electric shock in your neck.

Most of the time, the discomfort only lasts a few seconds or a few minutes at most. That NFL players can return to the game soon after experiencing a stinger is therefore not shocking. However, stingers can leave muscles exhausted and nerves harmed if they are not given time to heal correctly. Repeated stings can also permanently harm nerves. Here are Stevens’ recommendations for handling stingers, which center on regaining shoulder and neck mobility.

Step 1: Retract your chin

This assists in aligning your neck properly and energizing the neck’s back muscles.

How to: Straighten up. To give yourself a double chin, place two fingers on your chin and pull backward. The muscles at the back of your neck should be active. 

Neck rotations in Step 2

Rotations help you regain your side-to-side range of motion, which is frequently lost when you get a string.

How: Maintain a tall posture while slowly craning your neck in either direction. Until the injury has fully healed, only move in a range of motion that is pain-free, and make an effort to widen your range of motion with each activity. Repeat 10 reps without feeling any pain. 

Flexion-Extension in Step 3

It’s time to tilt your head forward and backward to reclaim full neck movement.

How to: Straighten your spine while sitting, then slowly bend your neck backward and forward. Until the injury has fully healed, only move in a range of motion that is pain-free, and make an effort to widen your range of motion with each activity. Repeat 10 reps without feeling any pain. 

Restore shoulder mobility in Step 4

It’s time to get your shoulder moving after your neck is back in motion.

How to: Lie on the floor or a table. Slowly move your shoulder through its full range of motion, flexing it (with your arm overhead) and extending it (with your arm by your side). 10 reps should not cause any pain. Next, slowly extend your arm at an angle above your head and across your body. Again, complete 10 reps without feeling any pain.

Step 5: Glide your nerves

Any lingering nerve-related problems brought on by the stringer will be cleaned up by the Nerve Glide.

The correct way to do this is to sit up straight, bend your elbow, tuck it to your side, and hold your palm up towards your shoulder as if you were holding a tray of food. When your arm is fully extended, spin it slowly so that your palm is facing backward. Tilt your head towards your shoulder as you straighten your arm. To get back to the starting position, slowly rotate your arm in the opposite direction, bend your elbow, and straighten your neck. 10 repetitions per side.


That’s a stinger, then. It’s briefly uncomfortable and a little frightening due to the numbness in your arm or neck, but it’s really just a minor injury. But like with all wounds, if a stinger isn’t allowed to fully heal, the possibility of long-term nerve damage makes it considerably more dangerous.

Stringer in Football FAQs

1) How should a football stinger be treated?

For the first few days, you can reduce any swelling by applying an ice pack or a cold compress for 20 minutes every two to three hours. medications that fight inflammation. Painkillers (such as ibuprofen or paracetamol) can help reduce discomfort and swelling in the shoulder and neck. stretching exercises.

2) How much time do stingers last?

Although they often last a few seconds to minutes, they may last for hours, days, or even longer. The searing or electric shock sensation is one of a stinger’s most typical symptoms. The damage was followed by instant arm weakness and numbness.

3) How long does it take a stinger to heal?

Injuries to the brachial plexus heal on their own. Burners and stingers typically cause pain that subsides in a matter of seconds or minutes, but the weakness and stiffness they cause might last for hours or even days. Following are some possible remedies for stiffness and weakness: a gentle collar to safeguard the neck.

4) Are stingers uncomfortable?

A stinger is a scorching pain or electric shock-like sensation that travels down one arm. The nerves in the neck and shoulders are impacted by these excruciating injuries. They may also have an impact on spinal cord-derived nerves in the neck.