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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Mononucleosis with stiff neck

 mussavcom - Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:21 am

I was diagnosed with mono about two and a half weeks ago, after almost a week of a sore throat. The sore throat, it turns out, was an ulcer back there; it took another week to go away, but there are plenty new ulcers/canker sores in my mouth, rather large and painful ones. Besides that and steadily increasing fatigue (I didn't even realize I was tired before the mono spot test, but after that I got more tired every day), I haven't had any problems. No spleen enlargement or anything as far as I can tell.

Five-ish days ago, I woke up with a very stiff neck. I had to keep my head cocked to the left; I couldn't even make it straight. I figured it was because I slept strangely on it. It got better -- now I can tilt my head most of the way to the right with little pain. But then I saw on all the major medical websites that, if one has mono, developing stiff neck is problematic and should be followed by a call to 911 or an emergency room visit.

So.. I still think I just slept on it funny, because I haven't had any emergencies lately.. but could it be encephalitis/meningitis/some other mono-induced complication?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:46 pm

User avatar Hello Mussavcom,

Your neck pain can be from a few different things associated with mono. Commonly with acute mononucleosis, the lymph nodes in the neck will become quite enlarged. They can cause a sore neck and pain with movement.

Meningitis is also possible though less common. If you have a persisting stiff neck and a severe HA you should follow up with your doctor for further evaluation.

It may also be that you slept wrong and had a sore muscle. If your stiff neck is improving, meningitis or one of these severe complications is much less likely. If, however, your neck pain returns or you are not overall getting better you should follow up with your doctor.

Full recovery from mononucleosis can take 6-8 weeks so hang in there.

Best wishes.

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