Kernig Sign and Other Symptoms of Meningitis

The kernig Sign is one of the symptoms Meningitis and before we can talk about the Kernig sign we must know what meningitis is. Meningitis basically is inflammation in the meninges of the brain. Brain meninges are basically a covering consisting of 3 layers that surround the brain as well as the spinal cord.

Each of this layer has a different name and are known as Dura Mater, Pia Mater, and Arachnoid Mater. In between these layers, there is a fluid that is known as the cerebrospinal fluid. If this fluid gets infected then that is the possible cause of meningitis. Infection in this fluid leads to inflammation of the meninges and that this leads to meningitis.

The word meningitis also means the inflammation of meninges. But it is not necessarily that meningitis can only happen due to an infection but it can also happen due to other reasons like cancer and the drug allergies but they are the least occurring causes of meningitis. Another thing that you need to know about meningitis is that it can be contagious too and can spread from person to person by sneezing, coughing but that only depends on the level of infection and also when the meningitis is due to an infection.

Causes of Meningitis

It has already been established that meningitis can occur due to infection, cancer and drug allergies. There can be a drug allergy and can also be a chemical irritation which is not a drug. Mainly and mostly the infection becomes the cause of meningitis. Infection can be of different types and following are the infections that can cause meningitis.

  • Bacterial
  • Viral
  • Fungal
  • Parasitic

Most of the meningitis cases that were reported in the USA are because of the viral infection but that doesn’t make the other infections less of the cause. And it is infectious meningitis that can spread from person to person.

Meningitis is a very serious medical condition because if not treated on time it can also cause the death of the patient so having it diagnosed and treated on the time should be your main goal.

Signs and symptoms of Meningitis

Signs and symptoms are the two different things and usually, people confuse them as one. A sign is something that appears in that any person including the patient and their observers can observe. While the symptoms of a disease are those that only a patient can understand. Following are some of the signs and symptoms of meningitis which we will discuss in detail later.

  • A severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizure
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Kernig sign
  • Brudzinski

In babies, you can observe signs like

  • Constant crying
  • Sluggishness
  • Bulge or bump in baby’s head
  • Stiffness in body and neck

So, these were some of the symptoms of meningitis and we will be discussing the Kernig sign in detail.

Kernig Sign

Kernig sign is a very important sign that is observed in the Meningitis. Kernig sign basically is the stiffness in the hamstring. The history behind this sign of meningitis is that in 1882 a Russian physician whose name was Vladimir Mikhailovich Kernig noticed that in most of the meningitis patients it was observed that they can move their knees beyond the angle of 90 degrees which means they couldn’t extend their legs beyond that angle, if they did they experienced severe pain, and this then became a proper diagnostic sign of meningitis since then because almost all of the patients showed this sign.

But latest researches in the same area shows that not all the patients show this sign in meningitis and thus physicians can base their diagnosis based on this sign only. But along with other signs, this sign can be helpful in diagnosis.

Test for Kernig sign

This Kernig Sign test is basically not a test but an activity that will make you sure that you are showing Kernig sign or not. This activity can be performed with the aid of any person and you can do it at home too with the assistance of someone. Following are the two steps that will be the judge of your Kernig sign

  • Lie back on your back and lie down straight.
  • Now bend one of your legs in the angle of 90 in such a way that the leg above the knee area is raised and lower half of the leg is parallel to the surface you are lying on. Now the other person may try to extend your leg beyond that point and if you experience any type of pain or can’t move your leg beyond that point then you must see the doctor but only if you have other signs and symptoms of meningitis too.

There is also another sign that you can notice very easily and that is Brudzinski’s Sign which you can know more about in the given details about it.

Brudzinski’s Sign

Brudzinski’s Sign is also another one if the signs in the meningitis disease. Joseph Brudzinski is a physician who discovered this sign in the patients of meningitis. And to check this sign you have to go through the following steps

  • Lie on your back in a flat position.
  • Now the observer r the physician will place one of his hands to the back of your head another on your chest to prevent it from rising with your heat and with raising your hand doctor will try to make your chin touch your chest. If the knees also rise in that process then this shows a Brudzinski’s sign.

Nuchal rigidity

Nuchal Rigidity is another one of the signs of meningitis and this means the person can’t flex the muscles of the neck due to stiffness and rigidity.

Now, these are the signs and symptoms that may appear in the meningitis patients but still a lumbar puncture is what that finalize the diagnosis of meningitis. CT scan and blood cultures can also help finalize the diagnosis of meningitis if the diagnosis is still in doubt.

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