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Posted by CCF Neuro MD on July 20, 1997 at 20:13:41:
In Reply to: lumbar puncture posted by Sue on July 17, 1997 at 22:08:02:
: I had a lumbar punture and my doctor said I had to lay flat one hour and I could do anything after that except play football and if I had a headache, I should lay down. It has been 7 days now and I still get severe headaches. Should I have laid flat for the first few days? Should I still be getting these headaches? If so, how long do they normally last?
Sorry to hear you are still having severe headaches a week after your lumbar puncture. Your doctor was correct in telling you to lie flat for the first hour , as well as whenever your headaches were bad after that initial period. No, you did not need to lie flat for the first several days, although that may have helped. You see, headaches following lumbar puncture are related to lowered pressure of spinal fluid because the volume of fluid is reduced. Some of the volume reduction is because of the amount that was taken for diagnostic purposes, and the rest relates to leakage through the small hole left by the spinal needle. Very simply, the brain normally floats in spinal fluid and we believe loss of the fluid allows the brain to sink down and cause traction on structures that result in headache. The headache develops or worsens with upright posture and is relieved by lying down. Many people never develop a headache after lying down for the first hour or so (the estimated time needed for your body to replace the amount of fluid removed by the doctors). The headache that develops after lumbar puncture typically resolves in a few days - lying in bed with lots of fluid intake may help athe person feel better during the recovery phase. Occasionally, the headaches persist beyond a few days , into weeks or even longer. If the headache persists and remains sever, relief can be provided by the application of a
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