Q. My daughter, who is 15 years old, had viral meningitis in August, and although the meningitis is gone, she continues to have daily headaches. The doctors continue to contribute these headaches to the meningitis and say it will take time. The pediatric neurologist just wants to continue medicating her, which is not really helping her. The doctor does not want her to take Advil or Tylenol due to the chance of rebound headaches. She is on Elavil, 37.5mg daily, and Fiorinal for pain. The narcotics make her sleep 12 hours but do nothing for pain. I do not know what else to do for her. We went to the emergency room two weeks ago with severe pain. The ER doctors put her on an IV of Toradol, Reglan and Benadryl, which after several hours did alleviate the pain. Is there any research regarding post-meningitis headaches and treatments, and is there anything else that can be causing these headaches, or is it truly a migraine?

The brain and spinal cord are covered by 3 thin membranes, the dura mater, the pia mater and the arachnoid. These membranes are called the “meninges”. Meningitis is an inflammation of these membranes and the cause is almost always an infection due to a viral agent or a bacterial agent. Viral meningitis is more common than the bacterial type. Viral meningitis is usually less severe and more benign. Meningitis caused by a bacterial agent can be very serious and can lead death if not treated promptly and properly. The outbreaks of meningitis in young persons in school or college which often make headlines is usually of the bacterial type and hence the concern because it can be a very serious illness.