The occurrence of a stiff neck in children can be very limiting for them, not to mention painful. In the following article, we will look at why this condition develops and how to treat it effectively well.
If you’ve ever had a sprain in the neck or there has been the occurrence of a stiff neck, you’ll be able to identify with the kind of discomfort, pain and limitation that it leads to. When the question of a stiff neck comes about, it is severely more limiting for them. In most cases, the factors that lead to a stiff neck in adults also lead to a stiff neck in kids, but there are also those other factors like a disease or certain other severe conditions that can lead to it. That is why this occurrence should be looked into with seriousness, and the solutions for the same brought into the picture. Why does the phenomenon of a stiff neck come about and what is one supposed to do about the same? In the following article, we will go through the details of what leads to this condition and how to bring about solutions for the same.
While there are several reasons that could lead to a stiff neck, when it comes to children, there is a high chance that it may be caused due to meningitis as well as other similar and high risk diseases. In the following section, we will get into a detailed explanation of the same and dwell upon the other causes of stiff neck.
■ Meningitis and Other High Risk Diseases
The first, the very first thing that has to be checked upon when a child complains of a stiff neck is that of meningitis. This is a condition that is caused when the meninges membranes and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) become inflamed. This a very serious illness to be diagnosed with because they are responsible for the protection of the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis can be caused due to a viral or bacterial infection as well as an effect of brain surgery, cancer or other diseases like TB. The symptoms that come about due to this include a high fever, chronic and severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, increased sensitivity to the light and a stiff neck. Of these symptoms, the occurrence of a stiff neck is considered to be the deciding factor in case of meningitis.
Along with meningitis, there are certain other high risk diseases that have stiffness in the neck as one of the main symptoms as well. These could include – meningococcal disease, flu, pancreatitis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It is therefore recommended that one get the symptoms of a stiff neck checked as soon as possible.
■ Injury or Trauma
While a stiff neck can come about as a symptom of certain high risk diseases mentioned above, there are certain other causes of the same. The most common of which is an injury or trauma to the neck. This comes about as a result of a fall or a direct blow to the neck. Overactive children are more prone to suffering from the same because of their level of activity, but of course, that is not the only factor that guides the occurrence of the same. An accident or blow can cause for the straining of the muscles in the neck which makes it very difficult to carry through any action of the neck normally. Along with a stiff neck, it can also include certain other symptoms like pain in the arms and shoulders.
■ Incorrect Posture
Incorrect posture while sitting or while sleeping can strain the neck ligaments in such a manner that it can lead to the emergence of stiffness in the neck. Sitting with your chin on your hands for a long period of time, sleeping on a pillow that does not support your head well enough, bending your head to read or work and more reasons like these can lead to a stiff neck.
What exactly happens when there is the occurrence of a stiff neck? Read through these symptoms for a clear understanding:
■ Neck pain that could be so severe that a child might find it difficult to bend his/her head to look at the floor.
■ Swelling of the lymph nodes (In case of an infection in the neck)
■ Limitation of neck movements
■ Pain while eating
■ Chronic and severe waves of pain in the shoulders and upper arms
■ Fever, sensitivity to light, vomiting (In case of meningitis)
■ Pain in the abdomen and nausea (In case of pancreatitis)
■ Muscle spasms
■ Swollen jaws
■ Numbness in neck region
What is one to do when there is the instance of a stiff neck coming into the picture? Look into these stiff neck treatment forms immediately.
■ Rule Out the Instance of Serious Diseases
When a child complains of a stiff neck, it could be caused by a number of reasons like we discussed in the earlier sections of this article. That is why, there is a need to consult a doctor and rule out the instance of meningitis or the other similar diseases. The specialist will then employ the required treatment forms, depending on the severity and symptoms of the disease.
■ Exercises and Massages
The physical symptoms that this condition will bring along can be dealt with by employing certain exercises and stretches. But, these need to be carried through in consultation with a specialist so that there is no untoward complication. Other than that, there can be specialized massages carried through with the help of certain oils. Which again, have to be done through after consulting a doctor.
There can be certain painkillers and muscle relaxers that can be administered. But, this depends on the age of the child. Other than that, heat and cold therapies are some of the choices that are readily used in this direction. Similarly, applying muscle relaxing ointments on the neck will deal with the pain well.
Along with that, you need to ensure that your child maintains a correct posture while sitting and sleeping. Discourage slouching or any of the actions that cause for added pressure to be applied to the neck.
With this comprehensive look into the factors that lead to a stiff neck in children, followed through with the causes, symptoms and the treatment forms, it’ll have become easier for you to understand the kind of action to take up. Hope the article has helped.