21 answers

My 6Yr. Old Has Major Neck Pain!!!

Last night my six year old son woke up screaming in pain. My husband and I ran in there and he was lying very still and complaining that he could not turn his head to the right. My eight year old has a history of back spasms so I thought that maybe my six year old was having a back spasm. The more I observed the more it became apparent he was having severe neck pain and the right side of his neck was locked in a spasm. I massaged it, gave him some ibuprofen, applied a heat pack and he said it was better but he was still in a considerable amount of pain. This morning he still can't move very well and sitting up, walking, and just keeping his head upright is painful. I am caught in a tight spot because I don't want to over react to it but we don't have insurance so I am really prone to be cautious about when we go to the doctor. I will definitely go if that is what he needs, I would not hesitate to care for my child but again I don't want to over react. Has anyone else experienced this with their child???

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. I ended up taking my son to a chiropractor and he did wonders getting the "popcorn" out of my son's body. Just a day later you would never know he was in so much pain. The cost was very reasonable which surprised me because I have not ever been to a chiropractor. I was up front with them about not having insurance and they were very compassionate. Again thanks for all your responses I am soooo glad I have a forum like this to turn to.

Featured Answers

If you have not noticed kids do seem to over react to pain sometimes. It may be that he slept wrong or it could be like you said spasms. But the Dr. would most likely give you something for the pain, tell you go use heat on it and go from there. Save some money in the mean time and do just that. Most likely it will get better in a few days if not already.

1 mom found this helpful

6 yr olds don't have back/neck pain. I would take him to the dr right away. I don't thing it would be over reacting.
Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I've never experienced this with my child but I get neck spasms from time to time. They are just about the worst pain I can think of. You don't realize how much you move your neck when you move your body. It's part of the way we balance so every movement, even just lifting your leg off the bed hurts severely. There doesn't seem to be a reason for why I get them. They tend to just "happen". However, high levels of stress can trigger them too. I'm an athlete and to be down for the count is just unbearable for me. Regular doctors would give me painkillers and muscle relaxers and send me home. This only fixed the immediate problem (while I sat around in a drugged out haze) but they always came back. Now, any time I feel my neck muscles getting tight I go to my chiropractor. He's wonderful. I haven't had a neck spasm in about 2 years since I've stayed on top of this. I used to believe that chiropractors were just quacks until I met my believer husband. He made me go. Scared the doo out of me the first time I went.

Now we take our 6 month old daughter. Not that she's got too many issues but he did seem to help her Torticollis which is where one side of her neck was weaker so she compensated with her other muscles never strengthening the weaker side. This was caused from her being squished up in the womb. With exercise, baby versions, and the chiropractor she's not a "Torti" baby any longer. Her physical therapist said she was shocked at how fast she got stronger and better. It's scary to see your baby being manipulated by any doctor but in this case there isn't the snap snap you get with adults. My daughter even seems to like it. It tickles. Our doctor is one of the only ones that works on children. He works on his own grandchildren even though his son is a chiropractor too in the same office if that gives you perspective on how specialized you have to be to work on children. He's also works with the University Of Texas athletes and is their main adviser for chiropractic. His experience is worth it.

If this sounds like a choice for you he does FREE CHILDREN'S VISITS, I believe, on the second Tuesday of every month. (I put that in caps because it sounds like it's what you are looking for and if you were just scanning this I wanted you to see it. I'm not a walking billboard for Dr. Mike, just really happy with his services. ) You can call and get the exact details. Also, this time of year he runs specials like office visits for canned food. His info is: Dr. Mike Vandawalle of Vandewalle Chiropractic ###-###-####. Ask for Dr. Mike (his son (Dr. Alex) is a chiropractor in the same office and is also a Vandewalle so they are informal about using first names to differentiate)

What ever you decide to do you do need to get your child in to see the doctor, at least Dr. Mike, to see what is going on. Spasms aren't normal for a 6 year old. Dr. Mike will look at the bones and muscles and let you know his opinion before he ever does any kind of adjustments. He's just as good with the parents as he is with the kids. His visit is free so it might be what you are looking for and he's not going to load your son up on painkillers and muscle relaxers like the other doctors will for spasms.

Good luck!
Jen
http://www.mommysjoy.com

2 moms found this helpful

It doesn't sound to me as if it is meningitis. If it were meningitis then he wouldn't be able to bend his head forward - chin to chest - and would have other symptoms as well. Check out this site for info on meningitis: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/meningitis.html

Common symptoms for meningitis include:

fever
lethargy (decreased consciousness)
irritability
headache
photophobia (eye sensitivity to light)
stiff neck
skin rashes
seizures

I personally had back and neck spasms frequently when I was a kid through early adulthood. I was rushed to the emergency room for one that kept me paralyzed in pain for many hours. I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory (like Ibuprofen) and a muscle relaxer. I was also sent to physical therapy where they helped me by massaging the area and helping me to stretch it out. They also alternated warm and ice packs for a little while to help reduce inflammation/swelling and pain. I was told that the best way to keep this from happening again was to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet (get your vitamins) and most importantly to stretch and exercise the muscles frequently.

Here are a couple of sites I found with proper exercises:
http://www.orthomd.net/medInfo/CervicalSpine/Isometricnec...

http://www.ehow.com/how_###-###-####_treat-muscle-spasm.html (These are the same stretching exercises that I was told to do - no comment on the yoga.)

www.rosenbaumrehab.com/spasm.htm

On another note, pregnant women are told that charlie horses (spasms in the legs) are usually caused by a lack of calcium in the diet! Does your son get enough milk and cheese every day?

I hope this helps!

God Bless,
J.

2 moms found this helpful

I've had problems with neck pain and spasms all of my life. I also have no insurance now so I treat it myself and have found that it heals just as quickly with my home treatments.....plenty of ibuprofen (repeat doses as soon as time allows) and ALTERNATE heat and ice on it. When I do have to go to a doctor I go to a chiropractor as general doctors mainly just give pain medication for it and don't fix the problem nearly as quickly or effectively.
Goood Luck.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear C.,

I think you should go to the doctor on this one. You need to "rule out" meningitus. Perhaps it is just one of his back spasms, but I still think you should be for sure.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

The most likely probability is also the most common. It sounds like your child probably has an acute case of torticollis. It's not that uncommon in children, largely due to the rough-and-tumble lives they live, and neck injuries are a regular occurance. Sounds like he needs an evaluation by a good pediatric chiropractor. Check out the doctor locator at the ICPA website (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) and consult the nearest office in your area. If you'd like more information consult my website at www.docvaughn.com and I will be happy to help you find some immediate help. Drugs are not the solution to this problem, and it can be resolved quickly in the right hands.

1 mom found this helpful

There is a very good and compassionate Chiropractor, Physical Therapist and Nutritionalist as well as a Father in San Marcos. Dr Christopher Baker. I don't know if they have a special plan for those uninsured but it wouldn't surprise me.

I didn't really try a chiropractor till I was in my 30's and my doctor said I had arthritis in my neck and would have to live with it.. I had raised up quite hard under a piece of playground equipment a bit before I started having this problem.. and had a chiropractor in my Parent Ed Class....so asked my GP if it would hurt if I saw one...He said no but he didn't think it would help any.... to make a long story short it helped immensely not only with my neck but with my back which I had been told at age 16 that I had a crooked spine and would have to just learn to live with it.. get enough but not too much exercise......well in time she fixed my back as well as my neck... The problem is that for every really good chiro ...there are several not so good... and it takes awhile to find the perfect one... We went to numerous in Austin and San Marcos before we found Dr Baker. He is continually learning and studying and even does teaching at the Chiro College.... He is not one who thinks you have to come every week twice a week for life..to stay healthy... If in a few treatments he doesn't make it all better he lets you know... I started taking my kids to the chiropractor with me when I was getting my neck and back in order.. and my son was just two... and she discovered that he was a little out of alignment and would adjust him ever so gently every now and then..... and he got to where he would know when he was out of alignment....

Should you want his number and address let me know....at ____@____.com luck...

1 mom found this helpful

The first thought I had was spinal meningitis which is pronounced by stiff neck and difficulty putting chin to chest. This is life threatening within 24 hours! Please call and ask an advice nurse at your pediatricians.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a personal trainer, so not a Dr... but my suggestion is to go to a massage therapist that has worked with children before, or a good chiropractor. A Dr is going to use muscle relaxers and pain killers, the massage therapist and chiropractor will use manipulation to relax the muscles and usually it will work with 1 to 2 visits. They will also suggest ways that you can work with your kids to keep them pain free and the chiropractor should look into habits, such as sitting or sleeping, that may be causing these issues. I have severe back issues that started as a teenager due to stress. Massages work WONDERS. I can now do self massage and relaxation.
Make sure you look into their experience with children. They are not just little adults.
Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Hope you have gone to the doctor by now. That is the symptom of meningitis or other things which are extremely dangerous. It is not normal for a child to have that severe neck pain unless it is something. Get to a doctor and make sure. I have taught children who have become completely handicapped from meningitis. It is not something to be taking a chance on.

1 mom found this helpful

I think DS has torticollis which means that he has a pinched nerve in his neck. My son usually woke up with it if he had an ear infection. The pedi said sometimes the child is trying to protect the ear and they tense up even as they sleep. Pedi prescribed antibiotic for the ear infection, and the torticollis worked itself out as his ear pain lessened. I have also had great result with chiropractic for myself and my children.
A warm shower on side that is hurting and some tylenol should provide relief. HTH C.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. Sorry to hear about this kind of problem in such a young child! I don't think muscle spasms are all that common in children that age. I'm an athletic trainer so see them often in cases of dehydration and intense exercise but to wake up w/ them? I'm not sure. Do they get plenty of water during the day... not sports drinks or soda, but water? Dehydration and potassium deficiencies can contribute to cramps and spasms. A banana and glass of water or Pedialyte as an afternoon snack may help. But you did the right thing in treating him w/ a massage and heat pack. Get him to lie w/ his head in your lap and relax so you can stretch his neck gently as you massage it. That should also help relieve the spasm. If you can get some Biofreeze to use for the massage, that helps too. It is a topical analgesic similar to Flexall but it's a cool, tingly sensation rather than hot. If the spasms continue on a regular basis, you should get him checked out by his pediatrician if possible. Regular neck pain is not normal for children and could be a sign of an underlying problem. Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

I had this when I was about 10 years old and it was very painful. Neck pain is very often a virus. Mine took about a week to go. I could not turn my head to the right. I was going to camp that week. It really sucked! Even if it is not meningitis you should get it looked at. There are clinics at CVS, Walgreens and some of the other chains that are not so expensive and I know that the PA there will be trained to look for the sereious conditions like meninigitis. Try this website as well, it is for free clinics. http://freemedicalcamps.com/freeclinic.php
Hope this are ok.

1 mom found this helpful

go to the dr. right away. this sounds very serious.

1 mom found this helpful

If you have not noticed kids do seem to over react to pain sometimes. It may be that he slept wrong or it could be like you said spasms. But the Dr. would most likely give you something for the pain, tell you go use heat on it and go from there. Save some money in the mean time and do just that. Most likely it will get better in a few days if not already.

1 mom found this helpful

Get him to a doctor!!! This could be serious, like others said, menigitis. Yes, it may cost you, but this is your child, a young child--you can't take these kind of chances. Maybe go to the ER and tell them you don't have insurance, they shouldn't turn you away and you will probably get better care than going to some clinic.

1 mom found this helpful

The first thing that came to my mind while reading your post was "meningitis". If I were you, I'd take him in right away. Better safe than sorry and either way, he's hurting and needs help.

1 mom found this helpful

6 yr olds don't have back/neck pain. I would take him to the dr right away. I don't thing it would be over reacting.
Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

My son went through the exact same kind of pain. I did go to the physician and was told it is basically growing pains. The ibuprofen and heating pad is what he recommended, just be careful of the ibuprofen because using it for too long could upset his stomach. He did outgrow it within the year. Hope your's is the same.

1 mom found this helpful

My brother had the same thing when he was about 10 or 11. It all started when he was blowing his nose and then he started screaming in pain. Nothing seemed to help. My parents thought that maybe it was a pulled muscle, so they waited a day and gave him pain meds. Nothing helped so they took him to the doctor and it turned out that he had a virus in his neck muscle. I can't remember what medication he was gived for it, but I do remember that he had to wear a neck brace for a week to help with the pain.

1 mom found this helpful

Try ice. He could have just slept wrong. Sometimes I will sleep wrong which will cause tremendous pain and little movement for several days. Many times, icing it first is better, then later applying heat. Keep up with the heat now, even hot showers can help loosen things up. Give it time. I wouldn't go to the doctor unless the pain gets worse over time. As long as he is improving, even slowly, the doctor won't do much for you except give you pain medication. Try icy hot or have him lay down in a bath of epsom salt. That will help relieve the pain. Then, if it becomes a regular thing that warrants a visit to the doctor just to be sure and rule out other things. But, don't go for this one incident when all you know is that he probably just slept wrong. There are also stretches he can do to help - but only do what doesn't hurt too badly. Eventually, he will be able to do more and more. Have him eat some tums - he needs calcium and magnesium to help with muscle spasms. If he's not getting enough of calcium/magnesium, then that can cause spasms and/or worsening the spasm.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello i have a 9 year old son who woke up with neck pain he was screaming i was so scared for him and myself . I had no idea what was wrong he feel off a skate board .but stated he did'nt hurt his head or neck i thiught maybe he slept wrong , there is still swellin in his right side neck area ,but a child should not be in this kind of pain from a stiff neck .i know they are painful and to a child even more so. Because they discribe pain differently to us .so i had no clue of course i took him to his doctor asap, where he had a complete phycial.but with pain medicine.hes ok but he needs it to often and i dont want him to hurt nor do i want him to depend on medicine for pain either. She stated he may have slept wrong and a little whip lash .i wonder about some doctoers are they telling us what we want to here or are they really telling us whats wrong?hes still not felling good. I thinking by now he should be felling a little better i pray. That everything is ok hes a small child thin and tall like his dad. I allways tell my children toallways tell the truth like the skate board he was not allowed on, he told me after the fact, i tell them we say things for reans and not to be just the boss of them or mean parents, because for reasons like this.so i'm gonna call today a specialist ear,nose,an throat,doctor, even have a xray done i just don't think its just a stiff neck. Dont get me wrong i am not looking for nothing to be wrong god forbid, i pray everyday thats all it is,but i know he is not him self and hurting, i hope this helped and of course
when it comes to neck pain we should'nt be moved and back pain when there was a injury ,and not sure what happened .seek help asap ,when they hurt us moms hurt . You know that, good luck and god bless you and yours your child may just have a stiff neck hope thats all it is , but he may have it often as he grows older. Again i hope not. But no fans , no open windows when sleepling at night. Allways shake out there blanket s and pillow good ,sheets ect. Bugs or what ever i allways do. Well thank you ,and good luck with everything god bless

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