Recovering from a spinal tap (lumbar puncture)

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    Jul 15, 2009 8:09 PM GMT
    Has anyone else been through this? It's been 2 days since the procedure, and I'm fine when I'm laying down or moving around the house. If I get in a car, though, I get an immediate, severe headache/nausea. Something about the body position, I guess... icon_cry.gif
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    Jul 15, 2009 8:54 PM GMT
    Um... tell your doctor? icon_confused.gif

    Anything relating to spinal injury is VERY serious, and something you won't find easy answers for in forums.
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    Jul 15, 2009 9:08 PM GMT
    I had a spinal tap, after which I had severe headaches when I got home. The doctor told me it was a spinal headache, caused by cerebral-spinal fluid leaking out of the unhealed puncture point. It left the brain with insufficient cerebral fluid, causing swelling & headache.

    He wanted to hospitalize me, during which they would give me a "blood patch." That's taking some of my own blood, and attempting to inject it back into the same place where the spinal tap had been done, to cause a clot.

    I didn't want that. So we compromised, that I would remain flat on my back at home, no pillow, for at least 24 hours, with a minimal of movement. I had to drink lots of fluid to hydrate myself, and I was even given a bed pan and urinal bottle to use in bed (I only used the bottle). I was married at the time, so my wife brought me the water and watched after me.

    If the puncture did not heal within 24 hours, and I still had the headache (which was blinding), I agreed to be hospitalized. Fortunately, it worked and I got better at home.

    Ask your doctor if this is a spinal headache due to leakage of spinal fluid. It is potentially very serious, and you need to take immediately steps to deal with it.
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    Jul 16, 2009 3:22 PM GMT
    Good news... I'm feeling 100% better today. I guess it just took longer to recover for purposes of driving than I expected.

    Bad news... the doctor's office never returned the message I left them when I was in pain. We're going to have to have words about that.
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    Jul 16, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    FitExecutive saidGood news... I'm feeling 100% better today. I guess it just took longer to recover for purposes of driving than I expected.

    Bad news... the doctor's office never returned the message I left them when I was in pain. We're going to have to have words about that.

    You may still have had a spinal leak, that took a while to close on its own. If that ever happens again be more aggressive in getting attention, and in the meanwhile minimize your time in an upright posture, to reduce fluid loss, which increases when your spine is vertical.
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    Jul 23, 2009 2:04 AM GMT
    I feel for you one I was a kid and once as a teenager had this down....the headach was so bad I didnt want to move a muscle. last a couple of days each time.

    I think now if the doctor was going to do it, I would ask to kick him in the balls so that he would feel some of pain he was going to cause me.
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    Aug 23, 2009 3:14 AM GMT
    Back in the dark ages when I was on chemo, I got regular spinal taps (monthly). The doctor always had to take out exactly the amount of chemo he was putting in. I then had to lay on my side for an hour so that it would circulate. My doctor was quite good at it and given the choice of spinal tap or in IV poke, I'd take the spinal tap. I didn't suffer headaches or a sore back from it. There was one time when it didn't go so well and it did really hurt, but one bad one in about 50 good ones is not bad. Now checking bone marrow is pain on a whole other level...
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    Aug 23, 2009 3:34 AM GMT
    Sedative saidUm... tell your doctor? icon_confused.gif

    Anything relating to spinal injury is VERY serious, and something you won't find easy answers for in forums.


    INDEED! Sed is right! The symptoms you wrote are NOT normal! CONTACT THE CLINIC AND THE DOCTOR!!! RJ-forum is definately a wrong place to ask for advice for this kind of a health issue! Stay in bed, do not move more than necessary. Call your doctor NOW!
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    Aug 23, 2009 1:38 PM GMT
    TomiR1 said
    Sedative saidUm... tell your doctor? icon_confused.gif

    Anything relating to spinal injury is VERY serious, and something you won't find easy answers for in forums.


    INDEED! Sed is right! The symptoms you wrote are NOT normal! CONTACT THE CLINIC AND THE DOCTOR!!! RJ-forum is definately a wrong place to ask for advice for this kind of a health issue! Stay in bed, do not move more than necessary. Call your doctor NOW!


    Wow! icon_eek.gif I do appreciate the enthusiastic response, but that was dealt with over a month ago. icon_smile.gif

    Just so everyone doesn't think I'm a *complete* idiot... when I wrote the OP, I was still within the 3-day window my doctor had given me ("if you're still having severe headaches 3 days after the procedure, contact us"). The reason I wrote the post was that -- in general -- I wasn't having severe headaches at all, but they hit hard if I tried to sit down in a car. I was wondering about the "in the car" experience...