A child who complains of sudden neck pain is a terrifying ordeal. Luckily, most instances involving this form of pain are triggered by muscle soreness or minor infections. It is vital to rule out other uncommon ailments that might be serious.
What are the possible causes?
The 2 usual causes of sudden neck pain among children include infection and trauma. It is important to note that infections can trigger swelling of the glands in the neck that causes significant discomfort.
Neck injuries or abrupt sharp motions of the neck can lead to a strain or crick that triggers pain and difficulty in rotating the head. An uncommon yet serious cause of neck pain is meningitis.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be seen right away if a child with sudden neck pain has fever. It is vital to rule out the possibility of spinal meningitis.
Seeing a doctor is a must if others in the area have been diagnosed recently with meningitis. If the following are present, a doctor should be seen:
- Persistent neck pain that lasts for 3 or more days
- Tingling or numbness in other parts of the body
It is recommended to alternate cold and warm therapies to alleviate the neck pain. Apply an ice pack on the area that is wrapped with a thin cloth or towel. This treatment should be continued for 15-20 minutes.
After cold therapy, apply a heating pad on low setting directly on the site of soreness for up to 20 minutes.
Provide the child with acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the right dosage. Take note that the proper dosage is determined by the weight of the child. Additionally, it is recommended to gently stretch the neck muscles of the child.