Meningitis is defined as inflammation of the meninges, protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. It is mostly caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. In response to infection breeching the blood-brain barrier, the immune system causes the meninges to swell which in turn can result in damage to the brain and nervous system. The surrounding fluid, Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), can aslo become infected and cause further meningeal inflammation. Recognition of symptoms and early detection is vital in minimising the affect of the disease. Meningitis can affect anyone but most at risk are babies and teenagers.
Septicaemia, blood posioning, can also be extremely dangerous and can occur with meningitis.
Viral meningitis is the most common and often resolves quickly, 7-10 days, even without intervention. Enteroviruses are the most common cause of viral meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis is far more serious and although the majority of people make a full recovery, some suffer permanent damage. The most common bacteria associated with meningitis include Meningococcal, Pneumococcal, Group B Streptococcal (GBS), Haemophilus Influenzae type B (HIB), E.coli, Listeria and TB.
Physiotherapy is extremely beneficial for children with meningitis. Early intervention is important in facilitating recovery and maximising potential. A detailed assessment will be carried out to determine abilitites and difficulties, and suitable treatment techniques implemented. A neurodevelopmental treatment approach will often be used to assist babies and children with physical difficulties. Specific handling techniques are used to facilitate normal body alignment and movement patterns enabling your child to re-learn skills and move and function as previous. In order to achieve the desired carry over, parents/carers will also be taught specific handling skills and treatment techniques. In some cases, due to the degree of damage, a full recovery is not possible. Physiotherapy will maximise your child’s functional ability, minimise further physical complications and provide the necessary physical support through use of appropriate equipment. Intensive physiotherapy treatment is beneficial in supporting neuroplasticty of the brain and maximising ability.
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