Many things can cause neck pain in your child, and identifying the cause is important when determining the best course of treatment. The good news is neck pain is often short-lived and heals within a few days without treatment. However, neck pain can become chronic and can affect the quality of life.
During this unprecedented time of staying home, muscle strains in the neck may be the culprit of looking down for extended periods while on the phone or computer.
Listen to your child when they explain their symptoms to help identify the cause of their pain.
Treatment will depend on the cause, but these home remedies may help your child get some relief from muscle strains.
- Ice: In the first couple of days, ice can help reduce swelling & inflammation. Apply the ice for 20 minutes at a time.
- Heat: If pain lasts for longer than a few days, introduce heat. Heat should be applied for 10 minutes or try a warm bath to relax muscles.
- Stretching: Find relief by having your child stretch their neck throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests trying the following exercises for 3 minutes each day:
- Touching the chin to each shoulder
- Touching the ear to each shoulder
- Moving the head forward and backward
Your child should do these stretches slowly, without any resistance. Stop the exercises immediately if they cause any pain.
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in child formulas, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also help relieve pain.
AT HOME WORKSTATION:
The following adjustments to your child’s at home workstation may help reduce pain:
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR:
The majority of neck pain in children is short-lived, but if the pain continues beyond a few days speak to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. If your child is experiencing severe symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, numbness, or tingling with their neck pain, see a doctor as soon as possible. Always seek emergency care if the pain is due to a major injury.