Meningitis is characterized by a number of symptoms, and each case varies. The classic symptoms include distinctive skin rash, more sensitive to light, fontanel (in babies), or even seizures. Sometimes it may also hurt your neck, leading to neck pain and stiffness. These discomforts can interfere with you daily activities. Even the disease could turn into serious (life-threatening) if left untreated, this is especially true for bacterial meningitis.
How do you get neck pain?
Neck pain can be very bothersome, though it varies in severity from mild (just like a mild nuisance) to more serious (it could be very excruciating that drive you to avoid any excessive movement). The good news, mostly it is mild (not serious) and it often relieves in time.
The answer can varies. But in general, it usually involves some of the following symptoms:
- General soreness, which is often described as achy or tender (not sharp). And the pain is usually in one area or spot on the neck.
- Sharp pain. Many times, this type of pain is stinging or stabbing. It usually affects one spot (locally) – and tends to occur in the lower levels of your part of the neck, though not always.
- Stiff neck, which can make you difficult to move your neck. Your neck can be very stiff.
- Depending on the underlying cause and severity of the problem, the pain may radiate to other parts of the body (such as arms or shoulders) through nerves that line from the neck to elsewhere in the body. It could be searing or burning, and the intensity varies.
- It may also be followed with other symptoms such as headache, fever, pins-and-needles, or difficulty lifting /gripping.
The underlying cause plays a key role on whether or not treatment is necessary. But it’s not always easy to clearly identify the exact cause. In fact, there are numerous different factors or conditions that can lead to neck pain. Here are some of the most common ones:
Neck strains and sprains
A strain is an irritation of muscle or tendon, typically triggered by overextension /overuse. The same goes for a sprain, it is also caused by overextension /overuse, but the irritation occurs in the ligament. These strains and sprains are often to blame for acute neck pain. Luckily, the pain usually relieve within a few days or weeks for such cases.
Some common causes of neck strains and sprains include; sports injury, whiplash (often caused by an auto accident), and any activity provokes poor posture /involves repetitive motions with your neck (such as prolonged sitting in the wrong way, working at computer, or sleeping with wrong position).
In some cases, neck pain can persist longer than usual (chronic). It is considered chronic if it lasts for more than 3 months.
Chronic neck pain is usually caused by problems affecting the cervical spine – the common ones include herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, stenosis with myelopathy, and foraminal stenosis.
Less common causes
Sometimes it can also be caused by the following conditions:
- Infection, especially when the cervical spine gets infected and inflamed. For such a case, meningitis is one of examples.
- Fibromyalgia. It is a disorder that affects muscles and tissues, causing widespread musculoskeletal pain.
- Lifestyle factors, such as emotional stress.
- Spondylolisthesis, which is usually caused by ligament laxity, advanced disc generation, or a tiny fracture in the vertebra. It occurs when a vertebra get slipped.
- Other causes include myofascial pain (a chronic disorder with trigger points), ankylosing spondylitis (a rare type of arthritis that can affect the pelvis and spine), and spinal tumor.
Where does your neck hurt with meningitis?
Your central nervous system is very complex. It runs the whole show, because it’s responsible for lots of ‘vital’ body functions. It includes nerves in the brain and spinal cord, which are protected by the skull and vertebral canal of the spine, and also covered by protective layers of membranes called ‘meninges’. Meningitis starts to occur when meninges become inflamed.
Many times, the inflammation in meningitis is caused by infectious causes such as viral infections (mostly), bacterial and fungal infections. In rare cases, it may also occur due to non-infectious causes such as certain medical conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus), medications, or injury.
Meningitis can cause numerous different symptoms, depending on the type of the disease. Neck discomfort (such as pain and stiffness) is one of common symptoms. See also comprehensive information about meningitis symptoms in here!
The disease can affect your neck, making it painful and very stiff. And the specific location of where the neck hurts with meningitis can vary, depending on part /area of cervical spine that becomes infected and inflamed.
Again, neck pain and stiffness can be attributed by many factors. Though they’re common meningitis symptoms, they can also be caused by something else. Even not all people with meningitis experience these symptoms.
But in general, here are some characteristics of neck pain and stiffness associated with meningitis: