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Infant with a Stiff Neck

Most neck pain in infants is due to either muscle tension or a minor infections. However, in some cases, neck pain can be a sign of more serious infection and could be a sign of meningitis. Here's what to look for to determine if the pain your baby's stiff neck is serious.

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This infant is showing signs of a serious illness. She is not as active as usual, is very irritable and cries when touched. She cannot easily be consoled. It appears that she has a stiff neck with a rigid back. She is unable to bend her head down towards her chest and will not follow the pacifier with her eyes. These are signs of meningitis. If your child has these symptoms, contact the doctor immediately. Three days later, the infant is feeling much better. She is alert and clearly more interested in everything around her. When a light is shined on her stomach, she is now able to bend her head towards her chest so she can see the light. This shows that the stiffness in her neck has improved.