21 answers

Stiff Neck?

****Update***** She is totally fine today. Thanks for everyone's concern. She wasn't showing any signs of being sick and her doctor thought it was just a sprained neck. She's back up and at -em this morning! Today it's momma who has a stiff neck. :) Thanks again for all the advice.*****
My 2.5 year old woke up this morning at around 4am crying that she had a headache. She fell back asleep for a few hours but when she woke up and tried to move, started crying again. She cries vigorously when she tries to move her neck. I called the on call nurse who told me to give her Tylenol and see if it improves in a few hours. Her vitals seem fine (no runny nose, no fever, eyes dilate normally). Has anyone else had a toddler strain their neck? How long does it take to fix itself? I'm using a warm compress on her neck right now but she seems to be in a lot of pain.
Thanks!
-M.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded. I had called her doctor the morning that she woke up with it and was monitoring her very closely. She woke up today and it is much, much improved. We are just continuing to use Tylenol and warm heat and it seems to be helping.
-M.

Featured Answers

I don't mean to alarm you, but please watch her very carefully for a fever. Meningitis (which I have had), presents with a headache, stiff neck and HIGH fever. But if there is no fever, it cannot be meningitis.

2 moms found this helpful

TAKE HER TO THE DR. This is not normal, especially if she is in PAIN.

Heat could be making it worse. If it is muscle swelling, ice packs need to be used.

TAKE HER TO THE DR.

More Answers

I don't mean to alarm you, but please watch her very carefully for a fever. Meningitis (which I have had), presents with a headache, stiff neck and HIGH fever. But if there is no fever, it cannot be meningitis.

2 moms found this helpful

Does she have any of the other symptoms of meningitis? I don't want to scare you; she probably just slept on it wrong, but meningitis is a super super urgent illness. Check here immediately:

http://www.meningitis.org/symptoms/symptoms

I would take her to be seen NOW!!!

Stiff neck can be a sign of meningitis. Better safe than sorry!

Stop the heat! use ice, the heat is only going to prolong whatever injury is going on. I am a LMT, and can speak with confidence that the heat is not going to help, but potentially make the situation worse. use ice, for 10-15mins, then test her range of motion in the neck, first have her do the movements, and then you do them, if you can move her neck but she can not then it is most likely an inflamation in the muscles, and will probably take care of itself in a matter of a couple of days with rest, ice and tylenol. good luck!

Could be tonsillitis or strep throat. Call the nurse again. Check for fever. Push fluids.

It is so terrifying!!!! Our daughter woke with the same, actually around the same age. We couldn’t move her, without screaming pain. After determining there was no high fever/other, we made sure she rested. She would not tolerate ice/hot packs so we did massage (light) and had her keep up on the fluids (water) with Tylenol/Motrin (alternating at our doctor’s suggestion) support, as needed…which really was the first 12 hours or so. The strain lasted about 3 days, lessoning each day. Our daughter was so scared of the pain, it took her some time to want to try and move her neck, but I could tell the improve by how she was sleeping and able to maneuver without crying out. We never had a repeat episode. Good luck and I hope she feels better soon.

PS. I just saw your update (after I posted...lol). I'm glad she's feeling better!!!

If the Tylenol does not correct the neck pain, I would contact a doctor (not a nurse) ASAP.

Oh, my! A stiff neck could be a sign of something more serious going on. You may just want to take her in to be on the safe side. It could be as simple as a side effect from being sick or if she has a cold, but it could also indicate other neuro things going on. I don't want to scare you, and I hope it's just related to maybe getting sick or a cold, but it's best to be safe. : )

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