What to do for abrupt neck pain in children?

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Abrupt neck pain among children can be frightening for most parents. Luckily, most cases that involve this type of pain are caused by minor infections or muscle soreness. It is still important though for the doctor to rule out other less common conditions that can be serious. A doctor must be consulted so that appropriate measures can be taken when a child complains about discomfort in his/her neck.

If a child experiences abrupt neck pain, it is important that you know the appropriate first aid measures to carry out. All you have to do is to enroll in one of the first aid courses today.

Possible causes of abrupt neck pain

The two most prevalent causes of abrupt neck pain among children are trauma and infection. Cases of infections can lead to the swelling of the glands in the neck that can generate intense discomfort.

An injury to the neck or sudden movement of the neck can result to a strain or cramp that causes pain and difficulty when the individual turns his/her head. In uncommon cases, the cause of the neck pain is meningitis which is an infection present in the brain and spinal cord.

Neck pain
The two most prevalent causes of abrupt neck pain among children are trauma and infection.

When to seek medical care

The child must be taken to a doctor right away if he/she experiences fever as well as abrupt neck pain. The doctor will rule out a slim possibility of spinal meningitis. It is also best to consult a doctor as soon as possible if others in the area have been diagnosed with meningitis. If the individuals continues to suffer from neck pain for three days or more or there is dizziness, numbness or tingling in the body, headache and lightheadedness, a doctor must be consulted.


The doctor will carry out physical examination including an interview. The doctor will ask if there was an obvious injury, when the pain started and whether there are other symptoms. The doctor can inspect the neck of the child by turning his/her head up and down and from side to side.

An X-ray or another type of scan can also be requested if it is needed for a diagnosis. The child can be given prescribed antibiotics in case of an infection or anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

Home care

It is recommended to alternate hot and cold therapy to help relieve the neck pain. You have to apply an ice pack that is wrapped in clean towel or cloth for 15-20 minutes. After the cold therapy, you have to apply a heating pad directly on the sore area for 20 minutes.

Provide the child with acetaminophen or ibuprofen based on the recommended dosage. Take note that the dosage is determined based on the weight of the child. Another home care measure involves gentle stretching of the neck muscles.

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