The Road to Recovery: Life After Meningitis
After a person gets hurt or suffers from a debilitating illness, it may be suggested by a doctor that they try physical therapy in West Bloomfield to speed-up their recovery time.
Meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord, can cause significant damage to a person’s cognitive and physical ability after recovery. This illness, along with encephalitis, is caused by a viral or bacterial infection that the body’s immune system was unable to destroy. There are two types of meningitis that can occur, both of which are potentially fatal. Bacterial meningitis is generally caused by an upper respiratory infection that made its way to the blood stream and subsequently into the brain. Because this can cause blockages in the blood vessels in the brain, stroke and permanent brain damage can occur. Viral meningitis, the lesser of the two evils, is the more common form of meningitis in the United States. It is typically mild and is contracted through saliva, mucus, or feces. Encephalitis can occur after the contraction of herpes simplex 1, a virus that is generally contracted through saliva or skin-to-skin contact. Herpes encephalitis is fatal in 50% of cases and is mostly seen in individuals under the age of 20 and over the age of 40. Those who survive the illness often have significant brain damage. Both of these illnesses may require speech, physical, or occupational therapies following recovery.
Particularly in those who have suffered from pneumococcal meningitis, long-term effects can be seen. In most cases, full recovery is possible. Following a severe case of meningitis, specifically bacterial meningitis, some individuals may experience physical difficulties such as pain throughout the body and difficulty walking and performing certain tasks. After a long hospital stint, patients may experience significant muscle loss and will require physical therapy to rebuild muscle and regain strength. Light resistance training, swimming, stretching, and light cardio have proven to be very helpful for those who are recovering from meningitis or encephalitis. Conversely, most individuals who have suffered from viral meningitis make a full recovery and don’t require physical therapy. Practicing sound nutrition is very important for any individual that has suffered a severe illness, particularly bacterial meningitis or encephalitis. Maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients can help diminish the pain and discomfort in the body during recovery. Foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are greatly beneficial for the brain. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables can boost the immune system and repair damaged cells in the body. Lowering the intake of red meat and high-fat dairy products may also be beneficial for those recovering from illness.
Although illnesses such as meningitis and encephalitis are dangerous and can cause long-term health concerns, there are many treatments available to help those who are recovering. There are professionals that specialize in the emotional, physical, and psychological effects of such illnesses. Professionals including occupational therapists, psychologists, and those who provide physical therapy in West Bloomfield can help a recovering patient get back-on-track with their lives.