Spinal headaches occur in up to 40 percent of those who undergo a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) or spinal anesthesia. Both procedures require a puncture of the tough membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and, in the lower spine, the lumbar and sacral nerve roots.
During a spinal tap, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn from your spinal canal. During spinal anesthesia, medication is injected into your spinal canal to numb the nerves in the lower half of your body. If spinal fluid leaks through the tiny puncture site, you may develop a spinal headache.
Most spinal headaches — also known as post-lumbar puncture headaches — resolve on their own with no treatment. However, severe spinal headaches lasting 24 hours or more may need treatment.
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.