30 answers

5 Year Old Woke up with Neck/head Pain

One of my 5 year old girls woke up this morning complaining about the left side of her neck hurting. We chucked it up to sleeping on it wrong, gave her some tylenol and sent her to school. The school told me that she had been complaining about it throughout the day. She played fine even turning her head from side to side, but when it came time to get up and move around she could barely do it. I got her home and started asking her questions. I believe I have located the pain to the left side of the back of her head. Behind her ear, across the lower back of her head and down the left side of her neck. She has never had an ear infection(that is her twin sisters job:)) I gave her some ibuprofen to help any inflamation that there may be and gave her an ice pack. She is still occasionally telling me it hurts. I looked up the symptoms on WEBMD and anything associated with the neck it says to take them immediatly to the ER. My dilemma is am I going to rush her out there and they tell me she just pulled a muscle sleeping on it? Do I give her until tomorrow to see if it goes away? She has Asperger's so sometimes it is hard to get out of her exactly what or where the problem is. Plus if I take her to the ER she will not speak at all and I don't have much to go on. My partner wants to rush her in but I just don't know if that is just panicking. Any advise would be wonderful.
Thank you,

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great responses. We don't have a ped dr on call here. Our only option is the ER and they are as slow as molasses unless you are bleeding. We have taken them both to the ER quiet a few times in the past (everything happens when the Dr office is closed) and on average it is about a 4 hour wait to even see the Dr. We monitored her through the night with no fever, redness or swelling and when she woke up she has not really said a word. She is back to jumping on the trampoline in the living room and standing on her head. I am not one to over react or get excited easily which is why I posted this. Thank you again for all the advise and the support!!

Featured Answers

Hi S.,

I have 5 children and if one of mine woke up complaining about pain, I would probably give them tylenol and wait and see how they are later. If this has gone on for 2-3 days, then I wouldn't rush them to the ER but I would take them to the family doctor. Since this is not a "well child" visit then the doctor would probably get you in the same day you call. (mine does anyway).
Good luck,

J. J.

Hi S.,
Try a chiropractor. My son had a neck pain too, ended up from playing playstation a bit too long in the wrong position. The chiro straighted him back up after a few visits.
If you don't have one in mind, I recommend Balance Family Chiro in Bartlett. Really nice facility with toys for the kids to play with and a great family doctor. :)


Take her to the ER immediately. Ok, so she won't say much but you have enough to go on to tell the doctor where the pain is and what the pain is. You don't want to put it to the side. Don't think of it as panicking, think of it as being taking caution. When it comes to children, you can't be too careful.

More Answers

It is best to call pediatrician. You may need to bring her for an office visit, better to not take any chances.

I suggest getting medical attention. Neck pain, especially, is nothing to fool around with as meningitis acts so quickly. In addition, a spinal injury could have awful implications. Going to the ER is a small price compared with what the possibilities could be.



It appears that you are feeling a conflict between taking your daughter to see a doctor and not. Web MD has told you that her condition could be serious, yet you aren't sure.

Is your only choice an ER or do you have a pediatrician to call?

My advice is on the conservative side. And consists of two pieces of information.

First, if it were me, I would rather be assured by an MD that the symptoms are not serious, instead of later discovering that I didn't prevent something awful from happening.

Second, I would get a pediatrician immediately, so that when things such as this happen in the future, I could simply make a phone call, rather than get all flustered and have to use an ER.

R. Katz, Psy.D.

Definitely take her in since it sounds like it has not improved substantially. There are scary things that neck pain/stiffness can be a symptom of, and it's better to be safe than sorry. I pray she recovers and that she'll be fine, despite the ER trip!

I would make an appointment with the regular pediatrician. You didn't mention a fever, which really would have been a red flag with the head and neck pain. She could even be getting her molars.

get her to the pedatrician you dont have to go straight to the er

Dear S.,

Please get her to a doctor immediately and stop giving medicationsor other treatments- you don't know what she may have as a diagnosis; she does not need to relay information-
she will be examined for clues

It is NOT panicking when the head and neck are involved-
Let the medical team diagnose her, so they can treat her-

I hope that it is nothing, but let an MD tell you that-

L. P.

S., I encourage you not ignore those tugs in your heart saying, "there has got to be a better way."

The big question of the day, who to trust with the health of your family. Everyone has different needs, comfort level, desires, and understanding when it comes to everything in life, and that includes health care.

As an alert mom myself, I trust our family care to Dr. Fred Ratio in Plainfield 1-###-###-####. He truly cares for his patients and I guarantee he will take the time to either help you or at the very least guide you to who can help.

Personally, I have referred my doctor to many people who have thanked me over and over for the referral. He is truly a gifted man. It's worth the call.

You don't know what you don't know. Good luck.

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