Viral menigitis

Hi, I'm a 28 year old man, prior to this illness was fit and well.

Six weeks ago I was suffering extremely painfull frontal headache, paracetamol and ibrufen didn't make a difference, my doctor suspected it to be a migraine, however the night after seeing the doctor the pain got a lot worse and I started constantly vomiting, therefore I was rushed to hospital. I spent 5 days in hospital and was diagnosed with viral menigitis after a lumber punch confirmed this. whilst in hospital things weren't to bad as I was on strong painkillers. When I was discharged from hospital, the doctor prescribed me with the strong painkillers and a weeks sick note from work and told to rest.

After two weeks from been discharged from hospital the frontal headache was gone and I was no longer on the painkillers, however now struggling with tiredness and anxiety after about 3 weeks i went back to work, to try and get abit of normality back in my life, however I've been resigned off work due to struggling with low mood and tiredness, plus now getting milder pain at the back of my head/neck I'm starting to wonder if this illness will ever end.

Having two young children time to rest is very limited, however my wife has been extremely supportive,

9 Replies

  • Hey Thomas 86

    I had vm a few years ago now & found the recovery time very slow & difficult to deal with, this made me extremely frustrated & angry.......

    I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting well until I read 'a letter from your brain' which was posted somewhere...... Have a read! U see your brain has been really unwell & unlike other parts of your body it takes a long time to heal.......

    Give yourself a break, nurture yourself, try some deep breathing, sitting quietly, try to turn your thinkin off if you like, give your brain a rest....... Keep hydrated....

    You'll get there in the end

    Take care


  • I agree with Siobahn's reply - give your brain a rest, exactly!.

    It's a very serious illness, and you did well to overcome it. What helped me through meningoencephalitis was to tell myself I was lucky to survive. It is hard and I found the fatigue very challenging. I had a headache for about 3 months after. I felt like I had depression for about a month after my illness.

    You will improve, it takes time though, so try and take the pressure of yourself. BTW, returning to work was difficult, I did a phased return, so I basically did part-time for a couple of days a week and built back to full-time hours over about 6 weeks, my Doctor was very understanding.

    I now know to have just survived the illness is a minor miracle and to have survived it - it does (eventually) give you this "inner strength", just knowing that anything else life throws at you will be a walk in the park. You SURVIVED meningitis and well done you - take a bow.

    Good luck with your continuing recovery, you will get there.


  • Hi Thomas,

    It takes a while to recover. I am 8 months post VM. I was also in hospital for 6 days on I'VE anti rials and analgesia. I have had constant head pain since until 7 days ago so I have been 7 days pain free...wonderful. Now I have excessive tiredness. I have not got back to work yet. The pressure on the front of my head and in my neck caused my neck to dislocate and the chiropractor, in fixing this, has relieved the pain in my head.

    I tried to return to work at various intervals over the past 8 months and tried to get up and about and go about my usual life however VM had other ideas so I have done virtually nothing other than rest ( not easy for a busy, sporty mum) but I realised that the sooner I accepted the illness, the better I would be in the long run. It is about playing the long game. I found more patience than I ever knew I had and mostly I have remained positive with the belief I will recover when my body is ready. It hasn't been easy, it has been lonely as friends and extended family bailed and I found who my true friends are.

    So now I am currently head pain free, my spine is strapped up with very fetching blue sports tape. I have had a gentle walk with my dog and I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

    I have chosen to avoid anxiety and getting depressed as that creates another hill to climb and you don't need that.

    I have contributed to many previous posts advising on nutrition eg take a good multivitamin, coconut oil, green juices and evening primrose oil. All these seem to help. Reflexology helped relieve head pain. And the best thing has been the chiropractor, he relieved the pain by manipulating my neck and skull and he relieved the severe vertigo by manipulating a bone in the roof of my mouth, face and neck....marvellous!

    Three weeks is nothing. It can take upto 12 months I am told.

    So be kind to yourself, listen to your body as you have had a tough illness and rest it out.

    Best wishes. Xx

  • Hi. I went thru exactly same symptoms and situations you went through. Im a 45 yo male diagnosed in sept this year. This condition can take a toll on you. All I can say is that your symptoms will go away, but it could take up to 4 months to fully recover. I still have anxiety and light headaches, but less every day. Dont loose hope!

  • Im 7 months post VM after two weeks of hospital and a truckload of painkillers. It WILL get better, however it's still early days and the exhaustion/fatigue can last a while and anxiety is also normal. I spent nearly 3 months in and out of bed but I too have two small kids and it's been tough. My turning point was having cranial osteopathy funded by meningtis now (I can send the details if you would like) 10 sessions in total free, it's saved me to be honest! As well as lots of rest (listening to your body), lots of fluids throughout the day and if possible weaning off any painkillers as they can cause additional problems (I was nearly addicted two months after) and just allowing yourself to have crap days and cancel plans if need be and a lot of kids TV helps too! PM if need any more support etc it's a horrible disease, very misunderstood by a lot of health professionals but we all know what it is and can try help each other. I can't tell you what a dark place I was in earlier this year but got through it with y'all of the above and a good cry now and again x

  • Thank you all for your eperiences and advice. It really is a horrible illness. With very little support out there. hopefully now I can except it and really take it easy!

  • Hi Thomas, sorry about what you've been through. I'm 26 year old male and had Viral Meningitis at the end of July this year - 6 days in hospital. Unfortunately I am still off work - the headaches for me have eased off day-to-day, but if I try and work or focus on a screen for too long I do get tension headaches and eye strain, would be the only way I can describe it. I'm doing part time work from home - maybe 8-10 hours per week, but it's all I can manage.

    For me the fatigue has been the most debilitating, and unfortunately 4 months on I am still off work as I am exhausted most days before I've even done anything. It is gradually getting better, very very slowly my resilience is building, but I still have crashes and days on the sofa.

    I found it emotionally very hard to accept at first, as I was also told I would be back at work in a few weeks. I found myself getting down and quite anxious which is a first for me. Accepting the time frame is important and will help you not get too frustrated at the setbacks - unfortunately there will be setbacks. It's natural as you test what your body can do, it will show you what the limit is. The first time I tried to do too much (a day of gardening 4 weeks after the VM) I was in bed for a week! And now it's less and less each time I do something mildly active.

    I have tried to support my body by switching to a Paleo diet (caveman style diet) which is nutrient rich and low inflammation which is good after having an infection, and have been seeing a nutritionist to help with that. I've also been going to a trusted Physio to try and get my neck and back sorted out.

    I would recommend chasing your GP to refer you to a Neurologist back at the hospital in a few months - I've not had mine yet but am keen to get a check up to make sure everything is ok.

    It's worth asking the GP for a proper check up/full blood tests too just to make sure nothing else has been triggered as Viral Infections can sometimes prompt other things to go a bit off track.

    Keep posting on here whenever you need advice, it's a great community. Hang in there.

  • Hi again, about 3 months now since I was diagnosed with viral menigitis. Still strugllimg with fatigue and headaches, just recently I've noticed my spine becoming rather warm. Has anyone else experienced this?

  • Hi Thomas,

    It's not something I've had but I've had a generally achy back I think probably due to sitting around for so many months.

    Have you noticed any improvement at this stage with fatigue and headaches?

    Not sure whether you find this encouraging or discouraging, but it was only from December (month 4 or 5) that I started seeing any real progress with my fatigue. Headaches are less frequent now but still feeling fatigued - luckily it's very slowly easing up and I'm back at work part time as of this week. Hang in there - it does take time but you'll get there.

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