Health Conditions:

Lumbar Puncture Side Effects

What are Lumbar Puncture Procedure Side Effects?

A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap is a procedure where a hollow needle is inserted into the space surrounding the spinal column in the lower back. There are three reasons this procedure is typically performed:

    1. to withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for testing or diagnostic purposes.
    2. to test the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
    3. to inject medicine.

In a small amount of cases, there can be side effects from this procedure such as headaches, pain and stiffness in the neck and in the shoulders.

What causes Lumbar Puncture Procedure Side Effects?

Doctors are somewhat uncertain to the pathophysiology of headaches after lumbar procedures. They believe that there is a link between the hole that is left in the dura once the needle has been withdrawn. Spinal fluid continues to leak, and as a result intracranial volume and intracranial pressure is increased.

They also believe that this change in pressure can affect cranial structures, making the head more susceptible to the force of gravity and movement.

Factors That Contribute to the Development of a Headache after a Lumbar Procedure:

  • Needle Size. The smaller the needle, the smaller the diameter of the tear in the dura. This minimizes the potential for spinal fluid leakage.
  • Direction of the Bevel. Dural fibers run in a longitudinal direction, parallel to the long or vertical axis of the spine. Incidents of headaches following a lumbar puncture increase if the bevel is not parallel to the way the dural fibers run.
  • Needle design. Evidence suggests that incidents of headaches are reduced when atraumatic needles are used.
  • Number of Lumbar Puncture Attempts. The more times a doctor attempts to do a lumbar puncture procedure, the larger damage is done into the dural area. This can increase the chance of fluid leakage, increased intracranial pressure, and headaches.

What are the symptoms of Lumbar Puncture Procedure Side Effects?

If you are dealing with this type of headache, the pain you experience will likely be full or throbbing. It will start at the front of your head and later become generalized. Some will experience pain and stiffness in their neck and in their shoulders.

There are certain actions that will increase the intracerebral pressure. These include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Straining
  • Ocular Pressure

In addition to the headache, you may experience symptoms that include things like:

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Diplopia
  • Cortical Blindness

Treating and Diagnosing Lumbar Puncture Procedure Side Effects

If you are dealing with the aftermath of a lumbar puncture procedure and you feel like your headaches are getting to the point where you cannot stand it, know that you are not alone, help is available, and we are here to support you until you get the needed relief.

Our entire pain management system revolves around treating your specific pain. We do not offer you a one-size-fits-all treatment. Instead, we offer you a pain management system that has been designed to uniquely meet your pain needs.

Our program is designed to provide you with short-term and long-term pain relief. We work with you to make sure that you understand all of the procedures we will follow and what is required of you every single step of the way.

Dealing with a postdural puncture headache is painful. It can rob you of your joy and minimize your quality of life. Let us work with you to help you manage your pain and get back to living the type of life you deserve.