Neck Pain or Stiffness

Disponible En Espanol


Definition:

  • Pain or discomfort in the back, side or front of the neck
  • Minor muscle strain from overuse and neck injury are included
  • Pain in the front of the neck often is from a sore throat. It can also be from a swollen lymph node.

Symptoms

  • Neck pains due to strained muscles cause these symptoms:
  • The head is often cocked to one side
  • Can't bend the head backward or put the chin to each shoulder. Often, can still bend the neck forward (touch the chin to the chest).
  • The neck muscles are often sore to the touch

Causes of Neck Pain

  • In teens, new neck pain is mostly from strained neck muscles (muscle overuse).
  • Triggers are sleeping in an awkward position or fixing something on the ceiling. Reading in bed or working on a computer for hours can also cause neck pain.
  • At all ages, it can be from a swollen lymph node. That can cause spasm of the neck muscle it lies against.

Causes of Stiff Neck

  • A stiff neck means your child can't touch the chin to the chest.
  • Meningitis is one of the serious causes of a stiff neck with fever. Suspected meningitis needs to be seen now.

Pain Scale

  • Mild: Your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
  • Moderate: The pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities. It may wake him or her up from sleep.
  • Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.

 

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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