Sudden Neck Pain in Child – Causes and Solutions


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sudden neck pain in child

Sudden neck pain in a child can be a troublesome issue. There is a span of things that can cause sudden neck pain in a child. It can bring a significant amount of discomfort to your child. Hence you must learn to identify the symptoms and the origins of the pain.

Sudden neck pain in a child is often temporary and fades away within a day or two. But when it persists for a more extended set of times, It can be dangerous for your child’s health. Here is a guide to the symptoms, causes, and solutions to the possible scenarios of sudden neck pain in a child:

Symptoms of sudden neck pain in child

Your child may show:

  • Pain in the back of the neck
  • Restricted movement of the neck
  • Stiffness in the head
  • Discomfort around the shoulders
  • Swollen glands that hurt when touched
  • Slight rotation of the neck

Also Read: 4 Month Sleep Regression – How To Tacke As a Parent?

Common causes

In most of the scenarios, the root of the sudden neck pain in a child isn’t menacing and can be treated via usual remedies or medication. Here are some common causes of sudden neck pain in a child:

Muscle strain

A muscle strain often causes sudden neck pain in child and is one of the most common scenarios.


  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Swollen muscles
  • Restricted movement of neck


Muscle strains are common and can be caused by:

  • Wrong sitting posture
  • Prolonged exposure to electronics in the same posture
  • Rough play
  • Sudden injury
  • Playing sports
  • Carrying a heavy backpack
  • Straining exercise
  • Looking constantly down


Following are the treatments for a muscle strain that causes sudden pain in a child:

  • Medication for pain relief: Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relief in the pain. In most cases, it can make the pain go away.
  • Heat exposure: Applying a hot water bottle, or a warm pad can do the trick too. Taking a long warm bath can help ease up the muscles too.
  • Appropriate sleeping position: Try resting your child’s neck on a ‘soft collar’ or a rolled towel beneath their neck. It restricts the unnecessary movement of the head while sleeping too.
  • Avoiding exercise: During this pain, your child must not exercise their neck or strain their muscles furthermore, until they feel alright.
  • A gentle massage: Massaging the neck gently with an oil can help.

Also Read: My Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib – What Should I Do?


Torticollis is an issue that causes sudden neck pain in a child. It is related to an uncomfortable posture while sleeping.


  • Stiff muscles
  • ‘Twisted neck’
  • Swollen ligaments
  • The head tilting towards the sore side to relieve stress


A bad night’s sleep can cause torticollis. Sometimes colds can cause torticollis too.


Following are the remedies that can help in treating torticollis:

If the pain doesn’t seem to go away or get any better, then you must get your child seen to a doctor.

Also Read: When Can Toddler Sleep With a Pillow?

Swollen lymph nodes

The neck pain in your child can be due to swollen lymph nodes too.


  • Pain in the front side of the neck
  • Swollen glands


Lymph nodes swell up in response to various infections like colds, flu, or sore throat. They can cause pain on both sides of the neck and under the ears.


  • OTC pain relief medications
  • Antibiotics for infection (only prescribed by doctors)

Also Read: Stranger Anxiety in Toddlers – All You Need To Know

Lyme disease

Lyme disease can cause neck pain too. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States.


  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Achy muscles and joints
  • Weakness


It is caused by bacteria and is spread by the bite of infected black-legged ticks.


Anyone who suspects that their child may have Lyme disease should get their child checked as soon as possible to the doctor.

Also Read: What To Teach a 5 Year Old?

Meningitis (serious)

Meningitis is the swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Your children and even you can catch it.


Sudden neck pain in children can be caused by meningitis too. It is a serious problem, and it must be addressed as soon as possible by the doctor. Following are the signs that your child may show if they have meningitis:

  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Numbness in the face
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stiff neck
  • Upset stomach or vomiting


Meningitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection that begins in another part of your body, like ears, nose or sinuses.

Less common causes include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancer medications
  • Syphilis
  • Tuberculosis


If your child shows the above symptoms, you must go to the doctor as soon as possible. It is a serious illness and must be treated; Otherwise, it can be fatal.

Also Read: Fun Things To Do With Toddlers

Other common causes

There are some infrequent causes for sudden neck pain in a child, including:

  • Traumatic injury from a fall or an accident
  • Cancer
  • Childhood arthritis

Also Read: What Kids Want From Their Parents – Are You Paying Attention?

Seeing a doctor

If the symptoms persist, you must see a doctor. Neck pain lasting for more than a few days is threatening. It is best to talk to a doctor for the best diagnosis.

Any child who is experiencing these symptoms along with the neck pain must see a doctor:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Also Read: Best Nutrition For Children – What Do Experts Agree On?

An improved lifestyle to avoid neck pains

Only a few changes in the way you spend your day can help you prevent neck pains, and your child’s too.

For children who use electronics for extended periods, the following changes can help:

  • Lying down on the back while looking at phones
  • Keeping the phone at eye level while standing or sitting
  • Taking regular screen breaks to ease the muscles.

Also Read: My Baby Won’t Sleep Unless Held – What Should I Do?

Stretching may also help. Following are the steps that can be done in stretching:

  • Touching the chin to each shoulder
  • Touching the ear to each shoulder
  • Moving the head backward and forward

Also Read: How To Get Your Newborn To Poop? Safe Methods To Learn

Changes in the sleeping positions help too:

  • Sleeping on their back or side instead of their front
  • The position in which they are sleeping on their side with a pillow between their knees
  • Sleeping with a comparatively tiny, flat pillow

Also Read: Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn – Breathing Difficulties After Birth

You’re good to go!

Now that you know the possible factors that cause sudden neck pain in children, you are equipped with the right methods to make it go away.

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