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Child had head injury, hurts to lean head back, neck popping. What could this be?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10343 Questions
My 4 year old fell off of my bed and landed on her head. She said her neck popped and now it hurts to lean her head back. What could this be? I'm borderline on whether or not this could be a true emergency due to spinal injury and she needs to go to the ER tonight or if I should take her to a doctor in the morning if it still hurts.
Posted Sat, 25 Aug 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Head and neck injuries can be external or XXXXXXX If your daughter is behaving fine, not in constant pain, not crying and had not lost consciousness after the fall, then there is nothing serious to be worried about.

Children will exhibit screaming and crying if they feel pain in the neck area due to any serious injury. They may rub at their necks, especially the back of the neck. They may complain of neck pain or cry when you touch their neck. Then other symptoms observed are shallow breathing, trouble taking a breath or trouble taking XXXXXXX breath, difficulty for the child to move his neck, nausea and vomiting, pupils may become dilated or one pupil may appear larger than the other in a serious neck injury.

Children may also become highly irritable or inconsolable. Then there may be unconsciousness and seizures, bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth, feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason and sensitivity to light as well.
From your description it seems to be a minor muscle sprain.
You can wait till the morning and monitor her closely at home.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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