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Stiff neck, headache, throat discomfort, fever. No swollen glands. Could it be serious?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
Hi My son has a very sore neck since yesterday; it is stiff when he turns his head left and right. But when he turns his head up and down, it's fine. It did complain of a headache yesterday but not today. Yesterday he also said his throat felt funny, but it is fine today. He does not have a fever. His breath is fine and glands don't feel swollen. His neck is more sore and stiff today than yesterday. Could it be serious? He is 6 years old.
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

Neck stiffness along with sore throat and headache can indicate
Retro pharyngeal abscess
Meningitis(less likely)
Viral infection
Muscle strain (torticolis)

Fever usually accompanies the symptoms in most conditions except muscular strains.

Since his symptoms of pain and stiffness are worsening, the condition warrants a detailed physical examination and investigations like X-ray neck, Complete blood counts, Throat swabs, etc., by your doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

Most musculoskeletal pain in viral illness subside on its own or with proper rest and supportive treatment like antiinflammatory analgesics.

Please do not panic as the situation at present is not an emergency, but definitely warrants an early appointment.

Hope this answer if both informative and useful. Should you have any additional concerns I will be glad to assist you.

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