Post Lumbar Puncture Headache

If a patient complains of headache following a lumbar puncture, it is probably related to a loss of CSF secondary to leakage through a dural defect. The headache is often exacerbated in the upright position and relieved with recumbency. The pain has been described as a dull ache that may become throbbing. The headache onset starts within hours to days after the procedure and may persist for 2 to 3 weeks. The symptoms usually subside spontaneously.

Prevention is the key and the use of smaller needles has been recommended to decrease the incidence of these headaches. Treatment of the post-lumbar puncture headache consists of bed rest in the horizontal position. A blood patch to stop the leak may be beneficial.

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