ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Headache After a Spinal Tap

Updated on September 11, 2018
Bridget F profile image

Bridget is a life-long writer, runner, researcher, cat-lover, yogi and traveler. She is also a social worker and voracious reader.

What is a spinal headache? A spinal headache typically causes pain in the back of the head/neck and the forehead areas. It's also known as a "post lumbar puncture" or "post-LP" headache. These develop within 7-14 days of a lumbar puncture (but 90% begin within three days after the procedure!)

Home Treatment for a Spinal Headache

About 25% of people who get a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) experience the post-LP headache. The headache gets worse when sitting or standing, and usually feels better when the person lays down. Scientists aren't sure exactly why this is, but there are theories that it has to do with the leakage of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) after the tap and a reduction in the amount of pressure in the spine after the tap.

Treatments and remedies include:

  • Over the counter pain relievers are one option to relieve the pain from the headache.
  • Laying down as much as possible to increase spinal pressure does help people feel better in the moment, but this has not been scientifically proven to make a difference in the length of the headache long-term.
  • Caffeine has been found to help the pain in many studies by constricting the blood vessels in the area, so grab a cup of coffee or a soda for your bedside! For instance, a 200 ml cup of brewed coffee has 160mg of caffeine, and a cup of tea contains 40mg.
  • Staying hydrated! By drinking water you are increasing the fluid available for the spinal area, which will replenish the CSF in your spine. This will help to balance out the pressure and help you to get rid of the headache.
  • Relaxation has many overall benefits and dimming the lights while listening to soft music may be both distracting and relaxing.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

A post-LP spinal headache can be terrifying! The pain after an already overwhelming procedure is the last thing that anyone would want, and it can be hard to tell when it is time to call the doctor about the headache. Typically, if the headache lasts longer than 24-72 hours and/or it does not get better with rest or over the counter pain relievers, it is best to call your doctor or neurologist or to go to your local emergency room. At the emergency room, they are able to do a procedure called a blood patch, which involves putting your own blood back into the opening where the cerebral spinal fluid is leaking and this usually immediately resolves the headache!

About 85% of post-LP headaches will resolve within six weeks, and many resolve within a few days to one week!

Other symptoms that are associated with a spinal headache include: lower back pain, nausea, vomiting, vertigo and tinnitus

Sources

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03006274

http://www.oaa-anaes.ac.uk/assets/_managed/editor/File/Guidelines/PDPH/Kitching%20Stevenage%20PDPH%20guideline.pdf

https://treatingpain.com/pain-management/5948/spinal-headache

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2660496/#ref6

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)