When cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks from the membrane surrounding the spinal cord, it causes a spinal headache. Most people get it with a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). You will experience nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, hearing loss, sensitivity to light and headaches. The good news is that there are many ways to treat spinal headaches, including epidural blood patches.

About 25% of people who undergo a lumbar puncture develop pain in the spine, sometimes known by health care professionals as a post-dural puncture headache. In most cases, these headaches do not last long and do not require treatment. However, if it comes back after 24 hours, you should talk to your doctor.

Causes of Spinal Headache

Spinal headaches are caused due to reduced pressure of spinal fluid around the head and spine. As, during spinal tap, the inserted needles create space in between the spinal cord. This gap may cause the inner fluid of the spinal cord to leak out. It is not life threatening in most of the cases. However, this leakage decreases fluid pressure in the areas surrounding the brain and spinal cord. As a result, an individual may feel a headache.

Spinal anesthesia or epidural anesthesia may trigger the condition. It may be observed within 48-72 hours of anesthesia induction. Some unintentional occasions may also cause rupturing of the spinal membrane leading to fluid leakage.

What are the Symptoms?

Generally, the spinal headaches may be differentiated according to the location of the headache. Most of the individuals feel two types of spinal headaches having different symptoms. The pain may also aggravate while sitting or standing and vanishes as soon as you lay on the bed.

Bilateral frontal headache-pain on both sides of head front 

Occipital headache-pain starting from head base and radiating towards the scalp.

This type of gradual pain shows following symptoms

  • Neck pain
  • Sight changes
  • Hearing disorders
  • Tinnitus
  • Tingling sensation
  • Throbbing and shooting pain

Diagnosis of Spinal Headaches

Spinal headaches may be diagnosed by the healthcare providers through physical assessment and evaluation. When you visit your pain doctor in Dallas, you must be clear about the severity of your condition. You may also write down all symptoms and enlist medications administered. A family member may also assist you while visiting the doctor. 

After proper investigation the doctor may recommend you treatment plan and inform you about the aspects like following

  • What is causing you symptoms
  • What tests you need
  • Other health complications you may have
  • Is it temporary or chronic?
  • Is there any need to take precautions
  • Should you consult other specialists
  • What is the best suited treatment for this condition

Do Spinal Headaches Need Treatment

Spinal headaches may disappear on their own from 2-6 days. The person may try to relax and lay for a few hours in a dark room. But if the individual feels the severeness of the condition that worsen with the passing duration, a customized treatment plan is required for this ailment.

The main points of focus during a treatment approach include following

  • Medications

The healthcare experts at pain management clinics may recommend some medications including gabapentin, theophylline or hydrocortisone.

  • Caffeine Intake

Some caffeinated beverages may also be suggested to get rid of spinal headaches.

  • Epidural Blood Patches

The anesthesiologists try to seal the leakage in the spinal membrane through your own blood samples. It gets clogged at the point of leakage and prevents further oozing out of the fluid material. This procedure is successful in almost 70-90 percent of individuals. Only a free feel side effects including radiculopathy, hematoma and bulbar neuropathy.

Epidural blood patches may develop complications in rare cases. One of these complications is aseptic meningitis.

  • Oral or Intravenous Hydration

This attempt will help elevate the fluid pressure inside the brain and spine improving symptoms of headache. Hydration material  may be inserted both orally and intravenously.

However follow up plans are necessary to keep an eye on the recovery procedure. You must visit your healthcare experts in a routine manner. 

Risk Factors

Spinal headaches are more common in individuals between 18-30 years.Moreover, pregnant ladies having a history of headaches or undergoing through epidural surgeries are at greater risk of spinal headaches.

All the symptoms of spinal headache whenever experienced must be responded shortly and consult your healthcare provider available at pain management in Dallas.

Summary 

Spinal headaches are caused by leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, a protective fluid around the brain and spinal cord.  The leak results in the brain losing the physical support that CSF provides. Spinal cord headaches are commonly associated with lumbar punctures, which are diagnostic procedures in which a doctor uses a needle to collect CSF from the spinal cord to diagnose a condition.

 This procedure can cause some of the CSF to leak out where the needle punctured the spinal cord, causing a spinal headache. So, in case of facing any kind of headache or adverse effect, try to consult a doctor. He will guide you best according to your health condition.