Lumbar Puncture

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 6/12/2009 1:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a sudden onset headache on Tuesday night which kept going until Wednesday, so I went to the ER because my family doctor told me to. I had a CT scan and then they tried to do a lumbar puncture 3 times. The ER doctor couldn't get the needle in, so they made me stay until the next day when they used x-rays to do the LP. The doctor who did the LP told me to expect a headache from that!! I now have a headache and back pain, although I think the original headache has now gone!! The results of the CT scan and the LP are that I don't have any bleeding in the brain and it was probably a migraine. The original headache could have come from anything - the various medications that I am taking, stress, etc. etc.

Anyway, I wanted to know if anyone has had experience with lumbar punctures, and if they got any side effects, and how long they took to go away. Thanks.
44 years old. Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's in April 2005. Hiatus hernia diagnosed in 2008. Had Crohn's under control until March this year when I had a major flare up and ended up in hospital. Diagnosis is now CD and IBS. Getting it under control again.
Currently taking: Prednisone 12.5 mg, Salofalk 2000 mg, Nexium 40 mg, Calcium and Vitamin D, Matamucil, Yogurt for probiotics, Salofalk suppositories as needed.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 6/12/2009 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow. Sorry about all of your troubles. I suffer from chronic headaches, which are probably some type of migraine. I'm surprised they were trying to do a lumbar puncture before doing an MRI of your brain first, unless they suspected meningitis. I have had a lumbar puncture to rule out MS a couple of months ago-which was negative. I had it done at Johns Hopkins, so they do tons of these on a daily basis. I was warned that I might have a headache following the procedure, but didn't have anything other than some minor back pain. I still have a little pinching feeling in my lower back. I have no idea if this is from the puncture or just a coincidence. Headaches can be caused from a million different things. I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which causes a lot of recurrent headaches and pains. Hopefully yours was just a one-time-gig. Good luck to you!
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams. . .
Diagnosed at age 26 with small bowel Crohn's disease; also have enteropathic arthritis, fibromyalgia/myofascial pain syndrome, gallstones and gallbladder removal, kidney stones,erythema nodosum, eye inflammation, hiatal hernia, GERD, lactose intolerant, migraines, Vitamin B-12 deficiency
Abnormal MRI containing 9 lesions-recently discovered this was due to inflammation from Crohn's, sore and swollen ankles, experiencing constant headaches, blurred vision-dizziness, nausea, numbness/tingling, vibration sensation while resting, muscle weakness & stiffness, abnormal liver enzymes and high inflammatory marker blood work, Vitamin D deficiency
Current Medications: Nexium

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2004
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 6/12/2009 1:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi WriterMum! As an x-ray tech, I've assisted in many lumbar punctures. We usually advise people to lay flat for about 12 hours after the procedure to let the hole heal itself and to drink a lot of fluids. Fluids with caffeine are even more helpful if you can tolerate caffeine. Also take tylenol unless you've been told by a doctor not to. If the hole doesn't seal off, you can get a leakage of spinal fluid & get what's called a spinal headache. You'll know you have one as the symptoms are quite severe. If you stand up & get a bad headache & very sensitive to light but feel a little better after you lay down, you should call your doctor. If it doesn't go away after a couple of days, they'll do a blood patch, which is almost just like a lumbar puncture but instead of taking spinal fluid out, they'll draw blood out of your arm & inject it into the space where the puncture was to make the hole clot.
Hope that helps & wasn't too much info! I hope you feel better. From what I've seen of patients who come back for a blood patch, that headache can be a bear!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 6/12/2009 2:49 PM (GMT -7)   
My sister had one done, to rule out MS, she was told to lie flat after getting home, but they also had her lie still for an hour after the procedure. She had daily headaches before they did this, due to what they thought at the time was a stroke. She said she then had the headache from hell for 2 days and ended up in the ER due to the pain. They decided it was spinal cord leakage from the site, so they did another and sent her home. They on the other hand, didnt make her lie still after and when she went home, she lied still for about 8 hrs. She had a headache for another 3-4 days but then it finally left.
Hope you get relief soon.
Diagnosed 4 years ago. been  a helluva ride since.  If there is a side issue to this dd I can find it.  I suffer with Pyoderma Gangrosum and horriffic mouth ulcers that get to the point I can't open my jaws.  Last one was nice enough to create a fistula and  add to my list of fun things to deal with.
Been on all kinds a things, currently on Imuran 50 mgs and it at least give me some confidence in leaving my home.
Allergic to Remicade. Promethius test shows my body fights it.  Also suspected to have PBC or PSC  autoimmune liver disease.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 6/12/2009 6:25 PM (GMT -7)   
God looks after fools! I've always been terrified of even the thought of a needle anywhere near my spine. Sure enough, a trip to ER, they suspected meningitis and wanted to do an LP. I flat out told them I'd hit the ceiling and come down biting, kicking and scratching the minute I felt the swab of gauze and alcohol I was so terrified of a needle anywhere near my spine, that they would have to knock me out via IV to do so.

Darned if they didn't give some Etomidate (??) and I was OUT. I woke up to hear him tell me they had 2 more vials to go. I could feel nothing so I was all right. It turns out I had moved some and a couple of nurses were needed to hold my legs still and keep me in position and the 2nd vial was dropped and spilled so 4 vials ended up being drawn. Hubby was present and told me this. The mess on the floor verified he wasn't kidding me.

No one told me to lay flat, take it easy or anything and I was released some time later. I was aware of the area of my spine near or at the site for a day or two but that is all. I was NEVER given ANY warning about ANYTHING after the LP. My husband was present thru all this so its not like the etomidate confused me or caused me to not remember.

Given the warnings all of you were given it sure sounds rather irresponsible on my ER's part!!! But all's well that ends well and its water under the bridge now. Like I said God looks after fools and I was blessed yet again.
Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

Becoming undone
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 6/13/2009 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Are you still having the headaches? When it happened to me...the headache was constant but became extreme upon standing or sitting upright. about 5 days later I had to get a blood patch They take about 20cc or your own blood and then inject in the area that has a hole. BTW, that much fluid ain't really supposed to go in there. Passed out a couple o times during the injection...
I hope you don't need's not that pleasant....
"The earth laughs in flowers"

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/14/2009 7:02 AM (GMT -7)   
I too was suspected of having mennigitis and had one. Ended up having viral mennigitus and they never told me anything special to do afterwards. A week before my then husband had to have one for the same thing. Both he and I had residual headaches from it, and my back was sore for awhile too. My headaches were the same as Becoming Undone, really bad when I stood up, but better when resting. My daughter had one recently and ended up having to get the blood patch.

Good luck,
Gail *Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 6/18/2009 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Had the worst headache ever AFTER getting the lumbar puncture. I suffered for days, and finally got the "blood patch". Worked instantly!
Diagnosed with Crohn's for 13 Years
First Resection 05/19/09 - Currently Medication Free!

Lupus for Two Years

Tried prednisone, flagyl, pentasa, imuran, and Humira

Accountant and Mom of a 3-year old

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 6/19/2009 5:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I have had both bacterial and viral meningtis at different times and have had multipule lumbar sticks (also to rule out MS 2 years ago), definately not fun. But the head aches are common and I agree if they stay for more then 48 hours then you need a blood patch. Due to having meningtis, I did not want to move anyway. But yeah it is a whopper of a headache. Now I just feel like I have a bb container in my back due to having so many sticks.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586

All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.

The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life?  Has your life brought joy to others?

Make sure your suffering has meaning…

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