A stiff neck without other symptoms might be caused by minor muscle strain from sleeping in an odd position or sitting in front of a computer too long.
But other signs may accompany neck stiffness, making it a more serious complaint. For instance, meningitis is a rare infectious illness that can result in stiff neck, headache, and fever.
What to Do
If your child has a stiff or sore neck but no fever or other symptoms:
· apply a warm moist cloth to the neck
· give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain
· call the doctor if symptoms persist
Seek Medical Care
If Your Child Has a Stiff Neck and:
· had a recent injury
· has been bitten by a tick within the last month
· a fever (or lower-than-normal temperature in babies)
· fatigue, drowsiness, or loss of energy
· extreme irritability (or trouble being comforted in babies)
· persistent headache
· eye sensitivity to light
· a skin rash
· flu-like symptoms
· for infants: a weak suck, high-pitched cry, or a bulging soft spot on the skull
· Get all routine immunizations on time, especially the meningococcal vaccine, which protects against meningitis.
· Help avoid tick bites by using insect repellent (with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET); checking kids and pets frequently for ticks; and making sure kids wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts in high-risk outdoor areas.
· Have children avoid activities and equipment known to be risky for neck injuries.