Neck Pain In Kids: Causes Symptoms & Diagnosis
While small scrapes and bruises are typical in childhood, having neck pain may be unexpected. Various factors may cause neck pain in kids, and determining the reason is critical in determining the best course of therapy.
Adults may have a recurrence of neck pain from a 4 year old neck pain, but children are more vulnerable to such long-term neck pain. Neck pain is often transient and resolves in 1 or 2 days without therapy. However, persistent neck pain may harm a child’s quality of life, social activities, and schooling.
Neck pain in kids and adolescents has not been researched extensively or systematically. Back and neck pain are among the leading causes of disability in adolescents, with 4 year old neck pain limiting participation in school or physical activity in up to 25% of instances. As a parent, knowing how to assess for injuries and be aware of potential reasons for neck pain is an essential skill to have. It will assist you in determining when it is appropriate to visit a doctor. Many mild neck injuries may be treated at home and should heal in a matter of days.
Neck muscle strains may occur due to physical play or looking down for long periods of time, such as when on the phone or using a computer. To assist identify and treat the underlying cause of the child’s neck pain, it is critical to listen to them when they explain their symptoms.
We have prepared a comprehensive guide on neck pain in kids, including everything from therapy to can neck pain cause jaw pain, symptoms, treatment, and much more. Read on to learn more about it.
CAUSES OF NECK PAIN IN KIDS
Adults’ neck pain may return after a 4 year old neck pain, but children are more vulnerable to long-term neck pain. Neck pain in kids may have a variety of reasons. If your kid is active or engages in sports, it is conceivable that they strained or sprained a muscle during one of their activities. A stressful incident, such as a vehicle accident or a tumble, may also induce neck pain. Poor sitting or sleeping posture, computer usage, or wearing a large backpack are all risk factors for greater neck pain. Some children may be more seriously impacted, and moderate pain may progressively spread to additional spine regions and intensify, often leading to musculoskeletal issues in adulthood.
Muscle strain in the neck.
New neck pain in kids is caused mostly by strained neck muscles (muscle overuse). Working with the head flexed down is the most frequent contemporary cause. Texting or gazing at cellphones and mobile gadgets causes such head tilting. Reading while lying in bed or working on a computer for long periods of time may cause neck pain. The neck prefers to maintain the head in a neutral posture. This is due to the weight of the head (12 pounds or 5.4 kilograms). Other causes include sleeping in an uncomfortable posture or repairing anything on the ceiling.
Lymph node infection
A swollen lymph node may cause it at any age. This may irritate and create spasms in the neck muscle against which it is resting.
Whiplash is a kind of neck injury. The result of an abrupt movement of the head and neck. The head jerks forth and back. The muscles, nerves, and ligaments of the neck are all stretched. It can happen in the event of a rear-end accident. It may also be the result of a sports injury. It should be investigated.
Serious Neck Injuries
The neck protects the spinal cord. A neck fracture or other injury may cause damage to the spinal cord. As a result, all neck injuries must be treated on a spine board until they are cleared.
Meningitis is a kind of infection that affects the brain (Very Serious). A bacterial infection of the membrane that wraps around the spinal cord and brain. A stiff neck, headache, disorientation, and fever are the most common symptoms. A stiff neck implies your kid can’t put their chin to their chest. Younger youngsters are drowsy or cranky and cannot be consoled. If not treated promptly, the kid may suffer brain damage.
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If your child has neck pain or stiffness along with other meningitis symptoms, including fever, irritability, headache, sensitivity to light, poor feeding, nausea or vomiting, or rash, you should seek medical attention right away. A medical professional’s early diagnosis is critical. Lyme disease is another cause of neck pain. Tick bites are often used to acquire and transmit this disease. Inspect the neck region for symptoms of an insect bite at all times. A red patch or rash surrounding the bite site is common. Children may also exhibit the following symptoms:
- The pain is felt at the back of the neck.
- The shoulder blades begin to ache and are eased by rubbing them.
- Your kid is unable to move their neck without grimacing in pain.
- A stiff neck accompanies the overall posture of sitting upright.
- Your child’s head is constantly tilting from one side to the other.
- When touched, the area around the neck seems somewhat enlarged and aches.
- These are the signs of neck discomfort caused by strained muscles:
- The head is often tilted to one side.
- It is not possible to bend the head backwards or place the chin on each shoulder. Often, the neck may still be bent forward (touch the chin to the chest).
- Neck muscles are often sensitive to the touch.
If the injury is minor and does not have a traumatic start, you may examine your child’s neck and shoulders at home before going to the doctor. After examining their skin for indications of damage, such as bruising, redness, swelling, or warmth, have your kid sit in front of you with their back to you, facing straight ahead. Instruct them to tilt their heads to one side, then the other. Inquire whether they are in pain or if it is worse on one side. Ask them to gaze up and down, noting areas of pain or stiffness. When your kid is playing or eating, check for indications of muscular weakness. Inquire with your kid about any numbness, tingling, or weakness in the neck, upper back, or arms. If any of these symptoms are present, get medical care immediately.
When your kid is in pain, they may be unable to communicate. Look for indications of pain or weakness, such as refusing to tilt their head to one side, trouble sitting still or resting, or difficulty moving their arms during activities. These symptoms may sometimes indicate neck pain, paralysis, or nerve damage.
Doctors will perform a physical examination to assist identify the source of a child’s neck pain. The doctor will inquire if the pain began due to physical activity or whether the kid recalls any triggers for their pain.
Adults may have the same 4 year old neck pain if it is not adequately addressed properly as so is with the children. Doctors may check the neck for enlarged lymph nodes if they suspect an infection. If they suspect a bacterial illness, they may prescribe antibiotics.
TREATMENT OF A CHILD'S NECK PAIN
The underlying reason will determine the treatment for children’s neck pain. In the short term, home treatments may provide respite for the kid.
Muscle strains are frequent in youngsters, and home treatments may assist with discomfort relief. Some easy home treatments for mild to severe neck pain in kids may be beneficial.
- Ice may help decrease swelling and inflammation in the first 1–2 days. Wrap an ice pack or ice cube bag in a towel and place it on the child’s neck for 20 minutes at a time.
- If the neck pain continues after a few days, heat may be beneficial. Place a warm compress or an electric heating pad on the child’s neck for 10 minutes to utilise heat.
- A warm bath may also aid in the relaxation of tense muscles and the relief of pain.
- A kid may benefit from extending their neck during the day or from receiving a light massage.
- Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines feature child-safe formulations. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) may also be effective in relieving pain.
- Follow the label’s directions and avoid administering adult-strength versions of these medicines to young children unless a doctor advises it.
Changes in lifestyle
Some lifestyle modifications may aid in the prevention of neck pain. The following modifications may help straighten the neck and decrease pain in youngsters who use cellphones or other electronic gadgets for extended periods of time:
- Lying flat on one’s back when looking at a phone to reduce neck strain; keeping the phone at eye level while sitting or standing to keep the back and neck straight, and taking frequent screen breaks to relieve neck pressure and enable the eyes to rest.
- Stretching may also be beneficial. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing the following exercises for 3 minutes per day:
- Moving the head forward and backward while connecting the chin to each shoulder and touching the ear to each shoulder. These stretches should be performed gently and without resistance by a kid. If the workouts cause pain, they should be stopped.
- Some youngsters may also need to switch positions while sleeping. Among the modifications that may be made are:
- Instead of sleeping on their stomach, they should sleep on their back or side. Lying on their side with a cushion between their knees using a tiny, flat neck pillow rather than a big one.
Cold and/or heat treatment
By decreasing local inflammation, cold therapy/ice packs may help alleviate most kinds of neck pain in kids. In terms of decreasing inflammation, using ice within the first 24 to 48 hours of a painful flare-up generally has the greatest effect. Heat applied to the neck may increase blood flow, which promotes a healthier healing environment. Some kids may like cold, while others want to heat. Both may be used interchangeably.
Aside from stretching, any kind of low-impact aerobic activity, such as walking, is often beneficial in alleviating any stiffness. Even if it does not directly involve the neck, walking helps circulate oxygen to the soft tissues throughout the spine, promoting recovery.