The frequency of physical signs usually attributed to meningeal irritation in elderly patients

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1983 Oct;31(10):590-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1983.tb04599.x.


Nuchal rigidity, which may be a sign of meningitis, was found in 35 per cent of geriatric patients on acute-care and rehabilitation wards and in 13 per cent of younger patients on an acute-care ward. It was significantly associated with cerebrovascular disease, confusion, abnormal plantar responses, and primitive reflexes. Elderly patients who have nuchal rigidity with no history of neurologic or cognitive disorders should be investigated for meningitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Meningism / epidemiology*
  • Meningism / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Muscle Rigidity
  • Neck
  • Pain