Before we get into the common causes of spinal meningitis — and rest assured we will — it’s important that you understand the basics of this condition. First of all, meningitis was coined based on what it does and where it does it. As you may already know, any medical term that ends with itis refers to the inflammation of a certain area. In this case, as the name suggests, it’s the meninges.
The meninges are the membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord. There are three meninges. Spinal meningitis can occur in any of the meninges surrounding the spinal cord and will inflame the site which can lead to a myriad of issues. The overwhelming majority of meningitis cases in the United States are viral. Now that you understand the basics of meningitis, let’s have a look at eight of the most common causes.
While it may be surprising to some, mumps can actually cause meningitis. Mumps, like most cases of meningitis, is caused by a viral infection. It affects the salivary glands near your ears. As we discussed in the intro, the meninges affected in cases of meningitis surround the brain and spinal cord.
Viral infections around the ears, such as mumps, aren’t too far away from your spinal cord and brain, thus the virus can sometimes spread to those areas and begin to inflame your meninges — causing meningitis.
This is why doctors tend to treat mumps with urgency as they want to nip the problem at the bud before it can spread to other areas of your body and cause severe problems if left untreated. Fortunately, mumps makes up one of the Ms in the MMR vaccine. To be specific, the acronym stands for measles, mumps, and rubella.