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Chronic daily headache nevers goes away

My wife was hospitalized in January for 2 weeks with viral meningitis.  She had two LP's, the doctor tried a blood patch (no help) and finally released her.  The headache never goes away.  It then maintained at a 4-5 on the ten point pain scale, with daily spikes up to 8-10.  We have been in the ER numerous times as dilaudid is the only thing that brings the headache down to bearable.  They have tried most of the triptans (no help) and percocet and fiorcet does not help.  After her release, she noticed a small area of numbness on the front of her lower left leg.  She was admitted to the hospital again after another ER (and another LP which showed the meningitis was clearing up) visit for pain and they again sent her home with the headache.  Her neurologist admitted her yet again for a DHE treatment, which did not help.  At that point her entire left leg was numb and tingling.  A week later, she's still in the hospital, she's lost the use of her left leg now, and the doctors have said they have done everything they know to do.  I'm trying to get a referral to Duke or Chapel Hill (we live in N.C.) and we have not been able to get anyone to sign a hospital transfer.  I do have an appointment with a neurologist at Duke in April but that's a long time away.  I'd like to get your thoughts on all of this.  My wife is 41 and a school teacher.  Our life has been at a standstill since the first of the year and she's in constant pain.
4 Responses
449909 tn?1233413497
41 F with post viral meningitis headache, probably post-LP headache, not relieved by patch. Left leg numb and tingling.Tried many medications, doctors (Neuro?) say they have done everything they can.

My field is not neuro, but if you are knocking every door for help, I will share my thoughts. Is there any particular time, place, or position (like lying in bed, or sitting or head turned/ tilted to one side) that brings relief? How is her sleep? How is her sadness-happiness scale?

Wish this helps.


Dr.Thomas Antony
Avatar universal

It will help us to know if a CT scan or MRI of brain has been done. If yes were there any positive findings?
It is important that your wife undergoes a complete neurological exam along with tests. Viral meningitis occasionally results in brain edema and raised intracranial pressure which can cause severe headaches and numbness in the limbs. It will be great if you can schedule an early appointment with a neurologist. Good luck and keep us posted.

Avatar universal
During the first hospitalization, it helped somewhat to lie prone.  Her neck was stiff and painful and when she sat upright or stood, her pain increased.  Now however, it really doesn't affect it (other than causing her heart rate to increase thereby increasing the throbbing pain).  She wasn't getting much sleep at all due to the pain; however in the last 3-4 days the doctor prescribed trazadone at night and she is sleeping much better.  She is amazingly upbeat; given everthing she has been through including the pain, I think she's doing great mentally.  I don't think I would be as upbeat as she it.  Thanks for your response.
Avatar universal
She had a MRI with contrast and a CAT scan during her first hospitalization but none since.  She has been examined by two different neurologists.  The exams consisted of bedside exams checking reflexes, feeling in limbs, etc.  None (including her regular physician) seemed to be concerned.
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