The Symptoms of Spinal Meningitis

High fever; wakefulness; burning pain in the spine, extending to the limbs, which increases by pressure; spasm of the muscles of the neck and back; sometimes head drawn back; weakness of the lower limbs or partial paralysis; difficulty in breathing; sense of constriction in the neck, back, and abdomen; retention of urine; priapism; obstinate constipation, followed by diarrhea; great prostration, sometimes delirium and unconsciousness.

This disease is an inflammation of the membranes of the spinal cord. It is a very serious malady, but, fortunately, is not very common. The most frequent causes are injuries to the spine, Pott's disease, rheumatism, and exposure to severe cold and wet. Inflammation of the spine also occurs in cerebrospinal meningitis, a disease which is considered under the head of infectious diseases.

This disease sometimes occurs in a chronic form, which may succeed an acute attack, or be developed gradually. The symptoms are essentially the same as in the acute form of the disease, though less marked.

The Treatment of Spinal Meningitis

The patient should be kept very quiet in bed, and should take a simple, unstimulating diet. Fomentations, and alternate hot and cold rubbing of the spine, together with warm applications to the extremities, constitute the best treatment. If the bowels are constipated, they should be relieved by enemas. Care should be taken that the bladder is relieved regularly two or three times a day. In chronic cases, galvanism should be applied to the spine, one pole being placed at either end of the spine, and faradic electricity should be applied to the paralyzed muscles. The two kinds of electricity should be used alternately, each three times a week.