Neck pain might affect individuals of all ages including children. Minimal pain is typically the outcome of a muscle strain or damage, but it is vital not to simply overlook the complaints of the child. In some cases, it might be an indication of a serious illness.
The neck pain that occurs in children and adolescents were not widely studied. Certain conditions such as neck and back pain are one of the main causes of disability in adolescents and a certain percentage of cases affect participation in school or physical activities.
What are the causes of neck pain?
The neck pain that occurs in children have various causes. If the child is active or engages in sports, it is possible that he/she has experienced a muscle sprain or strain. The pain can also be triggered by any traumatic event such as a fall or vehicular accident.
Oftentimes, poor positioning while sleeping or sitting, using a computer or carrying a heavy backpack are potential risk factors for increased episodes of neck pain. In addition, swollen glands that react to an infection can also cause neck pain.
When it is serious?
There are also serious but uncommon causes of neck pain or rigidity which includes the following:
- Tick bites
- Rheumatoid arthritis
In case neck pain or rigidity occurs with other symptoms of meningitis such as irritability, fever, headache, poor feeding, light sensitivity, rash, nausea or vomiting, it is vital to seek treatment right away.
Lyme disease is also another possible cause that is often acquired from tick bites. It is vital to check the neck area for indications of bites. In most cases, there is often a reddened region or rash surrounding the bite site.
How to deal with minor neck injuries
The conservative treatment for muscle strain or pain include the application of an ice pack or moist heat for 10-15 minutes several times throughout the day. Getting enough rest and avoiding aggravating activities are ideal until the pain resolves.
Relaxation techniques and deep breathing can also relieve the tension in the neck and shoulders that can add up to the pain. The use of pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can briefly reduce the neck pain due to a sprain or strain.
What should I do?
If the child complains of neck pain, it is vital to observe for other symptoms. If the pain is intense, result of a traumatic accident or accompanied by other symptoms, it is vital to seek medical care right away.
If the neck pain is persistent, it might be due to poor ergonomics, using a heavy school bag or poor posture while using a tablet or computer. The doctor should be informed and seek referral to a physical therapist to prevent the recurrence of pain.