What is spinal meningitis?

Spinal meningitis is an infection of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Once infection starts, it can spread rapidly through the body.

Without treatment it can cause brain damage in a matter of hours and can be fatal within 24 hours.

How common is spinal meningitis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of spinal meningitis?

In adults, symptoms include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Joint aches and pain
  • Muscle spasm
  • Pain that radiates from the spine
  • Seizures
  • Stiff neck and back
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

In children, symptoms may include:

  • A blank, staring expression
  • A dislike of being touched or handled
  • A high-pitched, moaning cry
  • Arching back
  • Fever with cold hands and feet
  • Fretfulness
  • Lethargy or difficulty waking up
  • Pale, blotchy skin color
  • Refusal to eat
  • Vomiting
  • Whimpering

When a child is affected, he or she may refuse to stand or sit because it hurts.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes spinal meningitis?

Bacteria or virus usually cause this condition. The infection occurs 10 days to two weeks before the symptoms appear.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for spinal meningitis?

Please consult your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is spinal meningitis diagnosed?

If bacteria are the cause, examining spinal fluid under a microscope can confirm it. The sooner the condition is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome.

How is spinal meningitis treated?

This disease needs emergency treatment in a hospital. Treatment includes intravenous or oral antibiotics with bed rest.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage spinal meningitis?

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: November 9, 2017 | Last Modified: November 9, 2017

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