Causes of meningism

Subarachnoid haemorrhage [top]

  • Acute headache, very sudden onset 'like being kicked in the back of the head'
  • May be drowsy / unconscious loss of consciousness, vomiting
  • Signs of meningism:neck stiffness, photophobia
  • Acute neurological deficit

Meningitis [top]

  • Acute headache
  • Photophobia, neck stiffness, meningism, Kernig's sign positive
  • Fever, vomiting, seizure
  • Non-blanching purpuric rash with bacterial meningitis