Neck pain is a common complaint among adults. It is, on the other hand, not so frequent problem among children. Still, it is possible for children to experience neck pain and it is then usually associated with poor posture or may originate from more complex medical conditions. Neck pain in children should never be neglected. If it is intensive or lasts for a long period of time, it requires proper evaluation and treatment.
What Causes Neck Pain in Children?
In many cases neck pain in children is a simple problem closely related to a child's poor posture. It may also develop as a consequence of some sports injury. On the other hand, neck pain may point to the presence of more severe condition such as meningitis or even tumors. Pain intensity varies from mild to severe, is intermittent or persistent and may occur during the day or at night.
If such pain is additionally accompanied by several more symptoms (e.g. neck stiffness, headaches, dizziness etc.) it is most likely that a child has developed some medical condition. This is an alarming sign for parents to seek professional medical help.
Incorrect Posture and Heavy School Bags
One of the leading contributors of neck pain in children is incorrect posture. Poor posture while sitting in a class, sleeping etc. strains neck muscles and subsequently induces pain. Spending too much time in front of the computer, reading in bed etc. are few more additional neck pain triggers. Fortunately, the pain that develops this way is not permanent and is easily dealt with.
It is a well known fact that heavy bags containing books put a lot of pressure onto the spine, particularly the cervical part of the spine. This pressure is also placed on the shoulders and pulls neck muscles. In order to deal with this issue, books can be kept in book bags which are with an extra strap fastened at the waist.
Neck Pain in Children Clinical Characteristics
The affected child may experience only neck pain, which can be localized or even spread to nearby structures such as shoulders, arms or even the back of the head. There may also be some additional symptoms and signs. For instance, many times neck pain is accompanied by neck stiffness. This is a body's reaction which prevents excessive movement of the painful area. In most severe cases the child simply cannot move the head and bending of the head towards the chest is practically impossible. Such children also develop certain general signs and symptoms such as weakness, fever and fatigue.
What can We Do?
First, the exact cause of neck pain must be identified. Then, after consulting a well experienced doctor parents may force children to make certain changes in their behavior. For example, they should engage in some physical activity that strengthens neck muscles and spend less time in front of a computer.
Neck pain accompanied by serious symptoms and signs such as fever, neck stiffness, vomiting etc. requires prompt medical evaluation and proper treatment.