Spinal headaches are caused by leakage of spinal fluid through a puncture hole in the tough membrane (dura mater) that surrounds the spinal cord. This leakage decreases the pressure exerted by the spinal fluid on the brain and spinal cord, which leads to a headache.
Spinal headaches typically appear within 48 hours after a spinal tap or spinal anesthesia.
Sometimes epidural anesthesia may lead to a spinal headache as well. Although epidural anesthetic is injected just outside the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord, a spinal headache is possible if the membrane is unintentionally punctured.
April 03, 2015
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 22, 2015.
- Miller RD. Miller's Anesthesia. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 22, 2015.
- Post-dural (post-lumbar) puncture headache. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/03_teil2/07.02.01_nonvascular.html. Accessed Jan. 22, 2015.
- Post-lumbar puncture and other low-pressure headaches. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/headache/post%E2%80%93lumbar_puncture_and_other_low%E2%80%93pressure_headaches.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Accessed Jan. 22, 2015.
- Waldman SD. Atlas of Uncommon Pain Syndromes. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 21, 2015.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.