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Spinal Tap (aka Lumbar Puncture) to Diagnose Headache Disorders

A common headache diagnostic tool, the thought of a lumbar puncture (often called a spinal tap) may terrify you. The length of the needle used is surprising, but the procedure is not that bad. At least, it wasn’t for me and I was needle-shy at the time. Many people have shared similar experiences with me.

Why Lumbar Punctures Are Used
Lumbar punctures are used to check for an underlying condition, like meningitis, hydrocephalus or subarachnoid hemmorage. They can’t diagnose migraine or tension-type headache, but are used to rule out other possibilities.

What the Procedure is Like
Before the needle is put in, you are given local anesthetic. The anesthetic will sting or burn initially, but you’ll be grateful for it during the next step. After the anesthetic takes effect, the needle to draw the fluid will be inserted. You’ll feel a hard pressure in your back when the needle goes in and might have a few seconds of pain as it goes through the tissue. You may feel pressure while the fluid is being drawn.

The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes, but the part where the needle is in your back only takes a few minutes.

The Dreaded Lumbar Puncture Headache
I’d be lying if I said that spinal headaches following a lumbar puncture are uncommon. However, they are usually gone within 48 hours after the procedure. They are easily treated with pain relievers, lying flat, and drinking a little caffeine and lots of water and are usually gone within 48 hours.

If the headache lasts longer than 48 hours, most doctors will recommend a blood patch. For this, blood is drawn from your arm and then injected in the lumbar region. The blood then forms a clot to seal the puncture hole.

Nearly everyone has relief after a blood patch. Because I’m so special, I became a baseball fan during the three weeks following my lumbar puncture. The odds that you’ll have the same trouble are so low that I’ll spare you the details.

Tips For Your Lumbar Puncture

  • Schedule the procedure for a Friday so you can rest over the weekend.
    If you can send the kids to stay with Grandma and Grandpa, great!
  • If you can stomach it, ask the doctor to explain each step as you go along. Knowing what to expect relieves some of the fear.
  • Have someone drive you to your appointment so you don’t have to drive home. Even if you’re not in pain, you may feel woozy or “off” from nervousness.

Learn More About Lumbar Punctures

49 Responses to Spinal Tap (aka Lumbar Puncture) to Diagnose Headache Disorders

  1. baldsue says:

    I had 4 spinal taps in 6 months last year. Never did I get the dreaded “spinal tap headache.” Instead I got a severe backache after each tap. Each backache lasted about a week. Would I trade the backache for the headache? I don’t know. The backache was no fun and the only remedy was time.

    ******
    Four in six months??? The backache sounds horrible.

    Time is such a frustrating remedy. :)

    Kerrie

  2. Leslie says:

    I was surprised at not seeing PTC or IH (pseudo-tumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension) mentioned.

    My 3 LPs were to determine if my head pain was attributed to IH, which is characterized by a high level of cerebral spinal fluid pressure. The only way to diagnose this is via an LP.

    My LPs were uneventful. I did feel pressure but no pain. I did not experience spinal headache nor a back ache afterwards.I now take a CSF diuretic to combat my slightly high CSF pressure.

    *******
    Thanks for pointing out pseudo-tumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension. They skipped my mind, but are so important for this topic. They certainly deserve attention in their own right, too.

    Kerrie

  3. Approximately one in four patients develop a spinal headache. The risk of developing a headache can be reduced by using either a thinner needle or a needle with a rounded tip. However, thinner needle does not give accurate prssure measurement which is needed to diagnose intracranial hypertension.

    ******
    Thanks for the information. It’s good to know the trade-offs.

    Kerrie

  4. Kim says:

    I had a spinal 2 weeks agot today to determine whether I had MS or Guillian- Barre Syndrome (thankfully its was GBS!). Anyways, got the most terrible spinal headache afterwards that was only barely lessened by the patch. the headache is finally gone after 2 weeks and more percocet than I’d like to admit, but it does go away. Let me tell you, i would take the backache over the headache any day!!!

  5. authorgirl says:

    Thankfully, I escaped the headache after my LP but I have a harsh backache that’s getting worse…

    There’s varying info on the ‘net about having a warm bath, due to the puncture site becoming infected. Is this safe?

    Also, at what point should I seek medical attention?

    Thanks!

    *******
    I’m not sure about the warm bath. I’d definitely contact your doctor ASAP.

    Kerrie

  6. Jill says:

    I had an epidural injection 3 wks ago, back ache from that no headache. 3 days ago had a mylerogram done (injected dye in the spine) wow I got the spinal headache and the back ache. Yesterday had to go to the er for the blood patch and IV of caffine. It worked, but didn’t take it 100% away. My back is hurting and my head is feeling better. I’ll take the back pain over the headache.

  7. Laura says:

    My daughter had a spinal this past Monday to check for psuedo tumor cerebri. On a good note, she does not have it. On a bad note, she does have the horrible spinal headache. Two days of hydrocodone afterwards and she was incapacitated with the pain and had to taken to the ER. They did a blood patch, but now a little over 24 hours after the patch she is still in terrible pain. The patch helped some of her back pain issues, but the headaches are still uncontrollable even with oxycodone this time round. The neuro suggests just waiting it out, but I’m sitting her with a child who is crying in night almost 24/7 and don’t know if I should take her back to the ER. Can any of you give me an idea how long this took to heal on its own for you?

  8. Megan says:

    Laura – You might want to post your question in the forum part of the site. People with this experience are more likely to be able to find your question there than here in the comments. I sure hope your daughter’s spinal headache clears soon! I had one after an epidural, but mine only lasted a few hours. Good luck!
    – Megan

  9. Alohagirl says:

    I was diagnosed with swine flu in 1971, I was 21 yrs. after having a spinal tap, diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Lindry Syndrome, recovery was 9 months, suffered massive headaches for 3 yrs. thereafter, then diagnosed again as meningitis, headaches lessened only when lying in bed, got released onto emergency flight, diagnosed again for spinal headaches, the blood patch worked. It is now 2008, Mother of 3 and Grandmother of 5. This is m story.

  10. Steve says:

    I just had a lumbar puncture done yesterday. Let me say this. I HATE needles! That being said, the procedure was no sweat.

    I lied down on my belly and the doctor took an X-Ray of my lumbar area to look for a possible injection site.

    Then they mark the area on your back where they are going to insert the needle and apply Betadine to clean the skin.

    The puncture site is numbed with Lidocaine first. Lidocaine burns a bit when it is injected, but the burning lasts less than 10 seconds. Almost immediately you can feel a numbness spread around the area as your muscles absorb the drug. It’s a pretty neat sensation actually.

    After that the needle is inserted through your skin and muscle, between your vertebrae, and into the dura to extract the CSF. This procedure is absolutely painless. I am a big wuss, so when I say painless, I mean it. I felt NOTHING during the entire procedure.

    My procedure took about an hour because, for some reason, my CSF just trickled out.

    When the doctor was satisfied with the amount, the needle was withdrawn and he put a band-aid over the injection site. Absolutely painless.

  11. Lynn says:

    I have had several punctures, and my neurologist now prescribes a blood patch with the puncture as one procedure to avoid the need to go back for the patch. I am surprised to read about people saying it was not very painful, mine have all hurt like crazy, especially the last two when they hit a nerve and I felt like I was electrocuted all the way to my toes and dread the thought of another one. My first couple had high opening pressures, so I have been diagnosed with pseudo-tumor cerebrei. There does not seem to be a good prognosis for this, they try to manage the pain, but I have a headache every minute of every day. I would (and have done most) anything that might work. My doc wants to do a shunt, but that is scary. I am on them about trying the occipital nerve stimulator as I have heard this helps. I do know that cranial sacral therapy and traction do help some, but get expensive. My husband tries to do the traction by gently pulling up using the occiputs as a place to dig his fingers in to pull upwards (traction) and that tends to help a little till his hands get sore.

  12. Rose says:

    In the summer of 2007 I had a Spinal Tap performed to rule out MS or infection…It was the WORST headache AND back ache I have ever experienced! I immediately went home but for 5 to 7 days after that I had the dreaded headache and back pain. I hate to sound crazy, but each day the back pain would creep further and further up my spine. Its hard to explain, it was like one day the pain would be in my lower back, then the next day it moved to my middle back, and so on and so on. Horrible! I had a internship in NY that began the monday after my procedure…and lets just say I didn’t make a good first impression! Once I explained to my boss what was going on she sent me home to lay down for the rest of the week!
    So glad its over with….god bless whoever has to get one, I feel for you.

  13. sherry says:

    i just had a spinal tap done two days ago and am in so much pain with my back that seems to be getting worse and even have pain goin down my left leg and through my foot this is horrible i already had the migraine or whatever before they did it and that was their reason for doing it and i felt bad pain during the procedure was i not supposed to be in horrible pain?

  14. Debbie says:

    I had a spinal tap last wednesday, it was not painful to have done, but i did get the spinal headache and returned on friday for a blood patch, it is now Wednesday of the next week and I am having nausia, can’t keep food down. I’m very weak, and tired. Triing to drink lots of water and rest..and eat… Wondering how long this is going to last…?

  15. Stacy says:

    My daughter had a spinal tap and she said it hurt terribly…She cried and screamed.I don’t think her doctor gave the numbing agent enough time to work. She is 18 and I am 49 and I wouldn’t get one of those, they would have to knock me out.

  16. Jean says:

    I had a spinal tap 6 days ago and still have a severe lumbar backache which radiates down my thigh.
    Prior to the spinal tap, I experienced sciatica when walking, but the pain never kept me awake as this does. It is better when I lie down.
    Given the good advice from writers above, I will “lie low” until I can reach my internist tomorrow.
    I wasn’t aware of the actual procedure (having finally been diagnosed with transient global amnesia). It would have been helpful if the medical staff had inquired about my backache prior to discharge. At first I thought the backache was due to lying in a hard hospital bed
    but became concerned as the ache seemed to worsen and awakened me in the middle of the night.

  17. karen says:

    I had a spinal done 3 months ago to test for psuedo-tunor, now I have to have another done because the doctor read the first 1 wrong!! He read a 0 pressure and my nuero says this is IMPOSSIBLE!! I did have a terrible headache for about 18 hours and a backache for a few days but all in all(except for the flub-up) it was’nt that bad!

  18. Ellie says:

    I was dx with PTC and Arnold Chiari in 2007. I have been fit and healthy all of my life and so I don’t fit the typical middle age, child bearing years, over weight patient associated with PTC. Since 2007, I have lost track of how many lumbar taps I have had done, over 30 I believe. Just had one recently and my pressure was over 600. I have two VP shunts and have had to have numerous revisions since 2007. I live with daily headaches that are excruciating and very debilitating. I had to file for disability and left my wonderful career behind because of my condition. Now I have to have decompression surgery for my Arnold Chiari. This is when the brain stem becomes herniated through the opening in the skull. So for me, LPs are nothing compared to all that I have already endured! Sad, there is no cure for this, no amazing fund raising events or foundations that pour millions of money into research. The condition is listed as a rare disorder in the NIH website. Doctors are inexperienced and have very little knowledge on how to even treat the symptoms.

  19. julie says:

    The level of the technologist’s experience makes ALL the diference, as it does with everything.

    Have had 4 spinal taps – the first two went without a hitch. The third gave me a spinal headache that lasted almost 2 weeks. I had to lie down – like everyone else. It just depends on the skill of the person doing it, I think. You just don’t want any leakage. I knew that the third would be bad because they used an intern who took FOREVER to properly place the needle. The other times were done by MDs who had tons of experience. You figure it out. Now I will be very specific when I ask: How many of these have you done? And I would not beashamed or fear “hurting anyone’s feelings” if they have no experience. SPeak up it’s your health!!!

  20. Steven says:

    I haVE JUST RETURNED FROM HOSPITAL WHAT A MESS THEY HAVE LEFT ME IN. I HAD A LUMBER PUNCH TEST TO RULE OUT ANY POSSABILITIES OF BLOOD CLOT AND BIRST VESSALS ON THE BRAIN. IT TOOK THEM (ONE DOCTOR AND 2 TRAINEES) 3 ATTEMPTS TO TRY AND DO THE PROCEDURE AND DID NOT COMPLETE IT AFTER ALL. THE FIRST ATTEMPT THE TRAINEE INJECTED THE ANASETIC INTO A NERVE AND MADE MY LEG GO NUMB AND NOT MY BACK, TOOK 10 MINS TO BUILD THE TUBE FOR THE LUMBER PUNCH NEEDLE TO BE INSERTED, THEN WENT ON WITH THE PROCEDUE WITH LITTLE ANASETIC IN MY BACK CAUSING THE MOST PAINFUL THING I HAVE EVER FELT. THE DOCTOR TOLD HER TO REMOVE IT REALISED HER ERRORS AND GAVE ME MORE ANASETIC AND TRIED AGAIN BUT EVERYTIME THE TRAINEE PUSHED THE NEEDLE IT WAS HITTING MY NERVES AND MAKING ME TWITCH AND MOVE WHILE I WAS JUST ABOUT CONSIOUS WITH THE AMOUNT OF PAIN I WAS GOING THROUGH. THE DOCTOR STOPPED AND WITHDREW THE NEEDLE AGAIN. THE FINAL TIME WITH EVEN MORE ANISETIC THEY MADE A NEW HOLE FOR THE NEEDLE AND I THOUGHT THE DOCTOR WAS DOING IT BUT IT WAS ANOTHER TRAINEE AND AGAIN THE ANISETIC WAS NOT WORKING PROPERLY AND SHE KEPT JABBING MY SPINE BONES WITH THE NEEDLE, I COULD NOT TAKE THE PAIN ANYMORE SO THE DOCTOR INSTRUCTED HER TO REMOVE THE NEEDLE AND TOLD ME TO LAY DOWN FOR 6 HOURS. THE HOSPTIL DISCHAGED ME AND TOLD ME TO TAKE IT EASY FOR 48 HOURS BUT TO BE HONEST I THINK THEY HAVE DONE QUITE A LOT OF HARM TO MY BACK AND SPINE ITS GOING TO TAKE WEEKS FOR IT TO GET BETTER IF AT ALL.

  21. Jamie says:

    I am going into have a LP done in the morning to rule out PTC (pseudo-tumor cerebri). I have had a daily migraine for the last 15 years. I currently have one and I have to have the LP in the morning. I am afraid also getting a spinal migraine when I already have a migraine. I am not looking forward to that part.

  22. Luwana says:

    I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,MN to have them test me. I have a speech disorder. Which is called Dysarthria. I had a spinal tap done before,but this time around it was very painful. I had the worse headache that you could ever imagine in life. And now after three weeks I’m having severe leg pains.It seems to stem from my back all the way down to my right leg. I went to the dr when I got home she had me take another MRI done and now she tells me that there is a tear in my spine. It wasn’t there before the procedures of my spinal tap done at the Mayo Clinic. I too feel like Julie who said that they have no experience the are just experimenting on you. And you put your life in these dr’s hand for the outcome to cause more pain that before you went in. I wonder if I were RICH would they have done the same.

  23. liz says:

    I had a spinal tap done two days ago. The ER doc tried it first and couldn’t get any fluid. He tried 2-3 different spots and then they finally sent me to radiology to have it done there. That was much easier, didn’t hurt nearly has much and I was much more relaxed. The ones that were done in the ER I have a really sore back from. I also have a killer spinal headache. Being a single mom though staying on your back is nearly impossible. I just want this headache to go away I have school to go to in a couple of days and homework to get done. I dread going back to the ER it always seems like doctors don’t take me seriously. I went in for migraines, and my CT came back normal, the ER doc didn’t want to do the tap but I had a lot of the same symptoms a friend of mine had that just had an anuerysm and almost died cause they missed it on her ct scans for years. So I did the tap. That came back normal too now I wait to see my neurologists to see if she can find out what is causing my headaches.

  24. Peter says:

    Recently had a spinal tap 2 weeks ago, honestly men and women out there, if you had an option to not do a spinal tap don’t do it! The headaches are excruciating! After 2 weeks like a vegetable in bed it finally went away naturally with painkillers to help, these are the 2 painkillers prescribed to me and really works! Percocet and naproxen, oh don’t forget anything with caffeine aids the headache, especially coffee tea or coca cola. Sometimes these doctors really bullshyt you and say everything will be healed in a couple of hours. Unless your jobless and on welfare with a wife or whoever living with you, take as many spinal taps u like, unlike me who has a family to take care of and a job I nearly lost because of the headache this will be my first and last time doing a spinal tap! Because I was too uneducated in the spinal tap after effects, my life nearly got fked over! Thank god I’m fine, pheww! Oh and the blood patch rate is only 60%, Soo I denied tht knowing it can cause more damage.

  25. Aparna Espak says:

    I just got an LP done, and it took me five days to be on my feet again. I would collapse or throw up if I tried to even sit.

    Got the mother of all headaches and worse nausea. Need to drink a LOT of water and stay flat in bed. The tylenol and motrin are useless–skip if you can. They could give you ulcers, I learned from my radiologist.

    Absolutely the best thing you can do, is to not to get out of bed and guzzle water. It helps to make the CS fluid (the stuff they took out of your spine) quickly.

    I went through two jugs on the fourth day out of total despair, but it worked! Get up only to go to the bathroom–you’ll need to if you drink so much water.

    If you can, keep your fluid intake really high before the LP. 30% of the patients get the headache and nausea. I wish I had known.

  26. I had a spinal tap back in June of 2010 my life did a complete 180 The doctor assured me I would be able to go to work the next day LIAR I had to quit my job of thirteen years,my internship and school I am in extreme pain ever since I have burning pain in my spine,arms,legs,eyes,head,I am a complete mess I am talking to a great lawyer to press charges on this doctor it was done in the Er and he wasnt even a nuerologist he was an ER doctor I will get my revenge Please I warn everyone out there DO NOT DO IT IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE

  27. lui sosa says:

    DO NOT GET SPINAL TAP DONE!! I ALMOST LOST MY JOB AND. COMPLETELY LOST RESPECT FROM NOT SHOWING UP TO MY MAJOR MEETINGS…IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE, IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE FINE AND HAVE THE OPTION…DO NOT TAKE THE SPINAL TAP. THE HEADACHES DO NOT SEEM TO BE GOING AWAY, I PUKE EVERYDAY IM GETTING SKINNY AND THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THEM IS BY LYING DOWN, SOMETHING I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR.

  28. Gorin Gyurtsak says:

    This is for lui sosa,
    How are you doing now?

  29. Naylor says:

    agree with #27 and #28 completely not worth it! Idiot ER doctor did mine without letting me know of any consequences or to rest after the procedure, exams in a week can not even get up and my last seven days have consisted of puking when standing, headaches, back pain, painkillers, and losing weight!I would gladly chop that docs nuts off!

  30. Richard says:

    I had a LP about a year ago, I still have lower back pain. Resting doesn’t help. Nor does laying down, every breath while laying down hurts, i get pain in my legs after sitting down or standing in a short time. my neck starts to hurt after sitting down in a short time. i cant push or pull anything to heavy or my back just screams. The Doc said its probably just strained your back but it should get better with time he told me that 7 months ago it seems like it getting worse. now my stool is green and its been so for about a week or so. any help would be appreciated.. Rick

  31. mari says:

    my 7 year old was seen in the er for headaches and neck pain and fever they did a spinaltap to rule out meningitis and it was however she has horrible migranes 4 days now and doctors keep saying to give her tyylenol motrin does anyone have any experience on this??

  32. Shana says:

    My partner just had a LP at the ER four nights ago to rule out a brain bleed for her high blood pressure. She has had a headache ever since with a stiff neck.

    She’s lied flat, been drinking lots of caffeine. She can barely get out of bed now. After reading all of these posts, we now regret having this procedure done.

    Wish I would have read these posts while sitting in the ER instead of reading about how the procedure is performed. Plllffft………

  33. Shana says:

    Oh……the LP was fine…no brain bleeds and the CT scan was fine. Thank God…

  34. tracy says:

    I had lp two days ago in er for the mother of all migraines after CT came back normal. I was told by the nurse you need to lie flat for about 30 minutes. This was the extent of my post lp instruction. I now have the worst backache you could imagine and a 6 month old to care for. How can I give her the care she deserves when I can’t sleep because of the back pain and don’t even want to move enough to shower. Why didn’t the MD tell me any of this could happen?

  35. Brooke says:

    I went to see the eye doctor 2 days ago because I had been having blurred vision and dizziness when I would stand up. When I got there they told me that my optical nerves were swollen and got me in to see a neurologist within the hour. He then ordered an MRI and an MRV. The MRI came out that I have a possible PTC.Which they think is so crazy because I am thin and very healthy. I had a LP today at 1 and am on bedrest for the remainder of the day. I am so nervous that I am going to get this headache that everyone is talking about. I leave for vacation in a week from today and I just really want to have a good time. Is there anything that I can do now to prevent this??

  36. Melissa says:

    My sister has an LP 18 days ago and she is still having to lie flat on her back, if she gets up more than 45 minutes she get a horrible headache! Anyone else experience this??

  37. jt says:

    All I can say is I had a spinal tap done 5with days ago to get the worst headache and back spasms I have ever experienced and 2u days later had to have the blood patch now two days after the patch the headache is back so I would never so this again and wouldn’t tell anyone else to do it either

  38. deidre bryan says:

    Hey everyone…i just had a lumbar puncture today 12 /2/2011…i passed out when they tried to do it on halloween…i took valium this morning which didnt seem to work..i also have a really bad anxiety disorder…my dr. Told me that it was medically necessary to have this lp due to high intracranial pressure…rule out ptc…the procedure wasnt too bad…they did it under fluroscopy (xray) so they would know exactly where to stick me..i thought i was going to throw up the further the needle went in and i had the worse hot flash attack…the nurse fanned me…thanx cindy…i have been home on my back for 12 hours now because im scared of that dreadful headache and throwing up people talking about…yuck..i feel okay so far and im praying that i dont get it…im drinking plenty of water and my kids are looking after me…i guess everyone reacts differently to this procedure so just because someone had a bad experience doesnt mean everyone will…stay positive…and we cant play with our brain..u only get 1

  39. karia says:

    I’ve been reading all of these posts and wanted to add something… If you have disk degeneration in your spine, only let an experienced anesthesiologist perform the procedure! I had a spinal tap a couple days ago and the ER doctor kept trying to dig the needle into my lower spine where the degeneration is but because there was no space between the disks he kept digging the needle into the nerves… he kept repeatedly trying until the nurse actually begged him to stop because I was screaming in so much pain. The anesthesiologist who performed it later told me that he should have never tried to do the procedure on me because of my back problems and he ended up doing more damage than good. I have been in nothing but complete agony since, not even being able to get out of bed because of the horrendous back pain and the spinal headache that feels as if someone is putting an ax through your head if you even so much as try and sit. The blood patch did not work, but I was wondering if anybody knew of something else that may relieve these god-aweful headaches?

  40. Hugh says:

    I recently had several LP’s one after the other in an attempt to draw some fluid. All attempts failed and I am now left with an aweful headache and back ache. Its been 3 days since I have had the failed procedure and there seems to be no releif from the pain in sight. The procedure itself was horrible everytime the needle was inserted I felt it all the way to the core. Very nasty do it only if you really need it.

  41. doisneau53 says:

    I had three LP’s about two weeks ago to test for a brain hemorrhage. The first two were in the ER and were not CT guided. I have never experienced more pain in my life. The first one, they tried for about 15 minutes and could not get any fluid. It was so painful they stopped and gave me morphine and anti-nausea medicine. They went in a second time shortly after that and tried for 45 minutes and still could not find any fluid. Even with the morphine, it was extremely painful. I spent 5 days in the hospital while they ran a bunch of other tests only to finally decide to try an LP one last time. This one was CT guided, and before the procedure they gave me pain and anti-nausea meds. It hurt a little bit, but the pain was almost negligible. The first two I had a ton of electric shocks all over my body. The CT guided, I only had one electric jolt down my left leg and it wasn’t that bad.

    If you have to have an LP, insist on having a CT guided LP and insist on getting valium, or a some sort of pain killer before the procedure.

    Also, after the first two LPs the doctor told me that I only had to lay flat for 1 hour. The last time, my doctor insisted that I lay flat for 24-48 hours. You are more at risk for headache and spinal leakage if you do not lay flat for 24-48 hours.

    Now, it has been two weeks later and I have been suffering from debilitating headaches and back pain. The only thing that helps the headaches is laying flat on my back and not moving. I am about to call my doctor for a blood patch.

  42. leanne says:

    Hi had lp done 3am monday mornin to rule out bleeding on brain due to family history. It went brilliantly didnt feel a thing was told to lie for 4hrs but ended up lying for 5as a doc didnt come to see me untill then. Ive had unbelievable headaches since and cant sit up without feeling like being punched either side of head.. Dont have time to be lying down (only way of pain goin) as have 2babys that neef there mammy. .

    ********
    If the headache hasn’t let up, be sure to let your doctor know. He or she can do a blood patch, where they draw blood from your arm and inject it in the lumbar area, which usually takes care of post-spinal tap headaches.

    I wish you the best!

    Kerrie

  43. Jessica says:

    I had a spinal tap 5 days ago. I remain in bed still with this terrible headache.. I seen my neurologist again on the 4 th day and he didn’t want to do a blood patch yet. Instead he gave me some caffeine pills,antibotics,and steroids.. He seems to think this may help get me well. Yesterday the caffeine pills helped my headache some.. Before, my headache pain would go away when I lie down. But today one side of my head hurts even when I lie down . No one told me the after effects of this.. I had to have it done b/c I had so much fluid around my brain it was causing blindness and they said I might suffer a stroke if I don’t get the pressure released. My question is, can your head still hurt while lying down flat?? This is the first day I have experienced this. Of course it’s Saturday and the dr isn’t in to call him.. Please help!!

  44. Kim says:

    Hi. My 4 year old has also had a LP 9 days ago. And she is still battling with headache above her eyes. Is this normal? And what should I do???

    • Kim,

      Call the doctor. They may be able to do something called a blood patch to relieve the headache. They go away with time (mine took three weeks), but a blood patch can speed it along. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.

      Kerrie

  45. jonathan says:

    I had a lumbar puncture a week ago my spine has a curve they had to do it in the er it took nearly 15 stabs before the fiber was hit. Now I have bad back pain I can’t eat the meds they gave me only worked temporary. I’m still sick feeling and can now eat certain things due to massive throwing up . The pain is almost unbearable.

  46. Shannon "Shann" says:

    In 1985 I was diagnosed with Pseudo Tumor Cerebi. For years this would be my battle. I would go in for the LP which isn’t always a smooth procedure.
    Also having Ehlers Danlos makes it hard to numb me. So that has been an experience and a half. I am one of those lucky ones that leaks. After figuring out they needed to do a blood patch with the last one I. 2010 they struggled with needles etc. however, recovery time was faster like a week a to without it was like 2 weeks to almost month. I get neck pain, lower back pain, and the lovely spinal headache. I just went in last week on Thursday, for another LP and it went smoothly. They are looking to see if I have anything that is tagging along with my PTC like MS or Anthing drastic. As well as read my open and closed pressure. I was impressed; how well this doctor did I have never had one go so well. To her I give props!
    Well, Friday night BAM! Here comes the pain. So I am sending this from the flat of my back in my room. My PTC is out of Remission and it is mad at me; I am hoping that the pain will subside and we can go back to our regularly scheduled program called Life.

  47. sher says:

    Hello, just had Lp done yesterday…had it done buy a neurlogist who trains other doctors on how to do lumbar puntures I havent had a headache at all! Some back pain that seems to be easing up. I think what helped me was that my doctor gave me tylenol#3 s ,with caffine in it, they have 15mg of caffine+30mg of codine. Ask for them they really helped me. Oh and you have 3days bed rest so your body has a chance to heal. Good luck and God bless!

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