Difference between Meningitis Headache and Migraine

… Continued …

Neck stiffness

It is a very common symptom in people with meningitis. Your neck can be very stiff and sore because of extra pressure from your inflamed meninges. For in-depth information about this symptom, see also where does your neck hurt with meningitis?

More sensitive to light

An intense pain with light, also called photophobia, is another classic symptom among those who have meningitis. It is more common in adult patients, and less common in young children.

More sensitive to light can also be triggered by lifestyle factors such as seeing a computer for long hours. For such a case, the problem will improve with rest or other lifestyle measures. But if it doesn’t respond to any home remedies, it’s much better to see a doctor!

Unusual skin rash

Certain types of meningitis (such as bacterial meningitis caused by the bacterium called ‘meningococcus’) can lead to unusual skin rash as a result of when the infection spreads to the circulation (bloodstream). This rash can form anywhere, including face. Typically, it doesn’t fade under pressure – see more in this post!

Meningitis skin rash could turn into serious if not immediately treated! So it’s much better to NOT wait for a rash to appear. Get medical help immediately if you’re seriously worried about your symptoms or someone who is ill!


The disease can also cause seizures, a condition of when you have abnormal electrical activity in your brain. Depending on the severity of your seizure – you might have loss of bladder control, convulsions (muscle spasms), or even loss of consciousness during the attack. But if you have a personal history of seizures (such as epilepsy), meningitis might not be the culprit of your seizure.

Unfortunately not all people with meningitis have these classic symptoms, depending on the cause and the disease severity. But if your headache is associated with meningitis, you should experience one or some of them.

If your headache doesn’t come with the presence of other common symptoms of meningitis (even though if it’s severe), it may be caused by something else. See also other meningitis symptoms in this section!

What else?

Sometimes migraine that has nothing to do with meningitis can also cause some classic meningitis symptoms such as neck stiffness and sensitivity to light, as written earlier. But whatever it is – see a doctor promptly if it is severe, followed with any unusual symptom, or worsens!

The intensity and frequency of migraine attacks can vary from person to person. In most cases, they occur occasionally. But some people can have the attacks up to several times a week.

For people who regularly have signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, it’s recommended to keep a record of the attacks and how to cope with. So when the pattern changes, they understand when they should seek immediate medical help!

Article sources:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20202434
  2. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/meningitis_in_adults/page3_em.htm