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severe neck pain in 6yo - very worried

(44 Posts)
naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 22:58:58

My 6yo ds developed a severe pain in his neck today at school. He had no obvious trauma. The school were very worried because he cried whenever he tried to move his neck.

I examined him and found him to be fine in himself - no other obvious symptoms. He can move his neck in one direction, but not to the other side, or up or down. And on gentle coercion he flinched and cried in pain.

I thought he has cricked his neck, and trapped a nerve or pulled a muscle, so took him to a local chiropractor. He did a thorough examination. He was very surpised at what he described as the extensive scoliosis of his spine (it is usually fine) and the obvious pain he was in on trying to move the neck (ds has an incredibly high pain threshold due to severe and ongoing surgical problems since he was born). And on standing, one of his shoulders was at least 2 inches lower than the other side (again, his posture is usually fine.)

My worry is that the chiropractor could not diagnose a trapped nerve/strained muscle. He said his symptoms indicated a 'deeper' problem. His fear was that it could be a nervous system problem or a viral/bacterical infection brewing. The word meningitis was used by him and the school, but I am not letting my mind go down that line. He said he had never seen such a case like his before - ie in one so young (apparently children dont get strained muscles like adutls do).

He is sleeping now, although moving about more than normal. He went to bed dosed up with arnica. He has not taken paracetamol in over 2 years (he had such high doses of paracetamol and morphine as a baby and younger child that we were advised to restrict it, and we have got out of the habit of giving it now, and use homeopathic remedies if necessary). He cannot take ibuprofen due to his bowel problems.

I just feel so helpless. I didnt take him to the GP because I know there is nothing he could have done, other than tell me to monitor him and take him to A&E if anything changes.

Has anyone else had this sort of thing with their child?

Sorry for the long post, but I am desperately worried and dont know what to do, or where to turn. DH is now home from work and is just as worried, but thankfully agreed with my course of action earlier. I just feel that I dont know how to help him. He has suffered too much already in his life without this as well. I just hope so much that he can sleep all night, wake with no pain and no other symptoms and we can forget about this. I dont know how I am going to be able to sleep though

blinks Mon 24-Nov-08 23:02:12

i think if meningitis has been mentioned, you would be safer to get him checked at A&E.

dizzydixies Mon 24-Nov-08 23:02:22

oh no, wee soul

could it be as simple as a trapped nerve, they are hellish and take very little for them to happen?

I do hope it isn't something more serious but having never had any experience of this am sod all used to you sorry

would you consider an osteopath? we always go down that route?

good luck

Tiggiwinkle Mon 24-Nov-08 23:04:04

I am afraid I would have taken him to A and E or at least to your GP. I do not understand why you say the doctor could not do anything when you do not know what is causing the pain.

NorthernLurker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:05:43

You need to seek medical attention. You have a child who is in pain you haven't been able to explain or relieve. Take him to hospital.

DelGirl Mon 24-Nov-08 23:05:50

A & E would be my answer just to get him checked over and put your mind at rest. hope he's ok soon

piratecat Mon 24-Nov-08 23:07:01

hmm not sure what to say. very worrying for you.

was the chiropractor one yuo know or have had recommended? Sorry to say but i have know them to be a littel over zealous with diagnostics, to encourage you to part with your cash for a long system of drawn out treatyment.

As ds normally has a high pain threshold, i would be distressed by this pain too. I would take him to the doctors or to a+e, first thing.
Keep him on the calpol and the ibuprophen. Or ring nhs direct maybe too?

Funnily enough, i have a very painful neck toady and have been wondering where it has come form, and have sort of associated with the colds and flus going round, why i don't know, but i can't think of any injury i may have done. It's donw one side and in the back of my skull. v odd thing fro nowhere. My dd has been v poorly so am just thinking i might have couaght some hybrid off her.

anyfucker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:10:11

it is very rare for a young child to have a "trapped nerve or strained muscle", they are very bendy

I think you should have taken him to A+E

meningitis is my single biggest fear

does he have a temp?

eating ok? (earlier on)

any rashes? (btw, a rash is often a pre-terminal sign)

lethargy?

when did you last check him?

sorry if this is scaring anyone

anyfucker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:12:11

ok, I hope the OP is on the phone to nhs direct or on the way to A+E

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:15:58

Thank you for all the posts.

He is sleeping now - and has been for 3 hours. If he wakes, I had already decided that I will take him to A&E.

I didnt take him to the GP before because he was completely fine in himself(except when he tried to move his neck).

I am not one to run the the GP often. I have always used 'mother's intuition' about 'sensing' when someone was ill. And ds seemed completely and utterly fine in himself, which is why I didnt want to put us all through the medical system unecessarily.

I wouldnt be worrying now if I hadnt been on netdoctor.co.uk

louii Mon 24-Nov-08 23:16:09

This happened to me a few times as a child,and once as an adult, neck jammed to one side, keep heat on it and give anti-inflamatories, should loosen up in a few days. (If it is the same thing of course)

Think i would be going to a different chiropracter though as his advice sounds pretty poor.

If your son had a scoliosis(sp) i would imagine you would have known about it before now.

Phone NHS 24, why did you not take DS to the GP before going to Chiropractor?

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:18:18

I crossed post with you anyfucker. He has had none of those symptoms (I have checked repeatedly).

I promise to take him straight away if he wakes, or if any other symptoms. I can be there in less than 10 mins.

lovelydear Mon 24-Nov-08 23:20:30

my dd had exactly what you describe (though with no other previous health problems). she woke one morning screaming that she couldn't move her head in any direction. really scary - i thought meningitis as she was a bit warm. we went to a&e in an ambulance and she was quickly diagnosed with wry neck (basically a muscle in spasm). she was prescribed diazepam and was much better within 24 hours. good luck!

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:20:50

louii - bad relationship with GP. If I go anywhere, I would go to A&E (specialist childrens A&E, who I know well).

He wasnt saying he had scoliosis - I pointed out he has had a perfect spine up until this afternoon - but he used that word to describe the shape ds was pulling his body into today, to get comfortable

anyfucker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:21:36

I'm relieved to hear he seems fine in himself naswm

sorry, didn't mean to hector you

I work in a childrens hospital, and you would be horrified at how many people are ignorant of the signs of a dangerously-ill child

please let us know how he is in the morning

I will be checking wink

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:22:57

lovelydear - your post and experience is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to read (sorry you and dd had to go through that dreadful worry though).

I think what I will do now, providing nothing changes in the meantime, is take him to the paed A&E in the morning for some anti imflamatories

NorthernLurker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:24:50

Right naswm - I don't want to frighten you but I have to say this - a stiff neck in a child is a major, major red flag. I've just googled it and scared myself witless - take your son to a&e and let somebody with a medical degree look at him! If he is getting worse he isn't going to wake up and tell you - he will just get worse and you have to check this out.

louii Mon 24-Nov-08 23:26:22

Why don't you go to a different GP? I just don't understand why if your Chiropractor ( who you seem to trust) mentioned meningitis then why wouldn't you get a medical opinion?

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:26:36

thanks anyfucker (great name btw) I didnt think you were hectoring, and I totally understand why you spelled it out like that, and I thank you for doing so. I am general very clued up with health stuff, having nursed dh for 18 years with haemophilia and HCV+ and both ds born with congenital abnormalities. But THIS problem was new to me.

Thanks again for people's advice etc. I havent been on mn for months and months, although have been registered for over 4 years and used to be a regular. And in my time of worry this evening (why does everything feel worse as the night wears on?) mn was the obnvious place to come

Thans

lovelydear Mon 24-Nov-08 23:29:07

i concur with your plan. it was the single scariest parenting moment for both me and dh. he was so upset he had to spend the rest of the day on the sofa watching tv with her while i went to work.... bless.

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:31:11

crossed posts with northernlurker and louii...

Oh dear I dont want to wake him, but I accept what you say about if he got worse he woudlnt wake and tell me.

There isnt a different GP in the practice and I know I have A&E down the road, so I usually bypass them.

The 'M' word was only used in passing, as in 'keep and eye on him for any other symptoms which could be it'.

Worried now, everyone in the house is asleep.

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:33:41

Did I say that he badgered me for GoGos and McDonald's for tea? And ate the lot

anyfucker Mon 24-Nov-08 23:35:22

naswm, he shouldn't wake properly if you turn the light on to check him

if his breathing is light, his skin its usual peachy colour, he doesn't have a temp and is not unusually floppy(even in sleep) he is ok

if anything doesn't seem quite right, wake him properly

lovelydear Mon 24-Nov-08 23:37:08

i think you've already said he's not ill in himself. which is reassuring to me. if you think you'll be able to sleep, then i would, but if you are getting more and more worried (as i always do at night) you could phone for an out of hours gp home visit? or phone nhs direct?

naswm Mon 24-Nov-08 23:37:45

I have been in to him lots already and had the lamp on next to his bed (lifted his PJs up and turned him over to check for rash) lots, but I will go and do now.

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