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Readers Respond: Experience with lumbar punctures and advice for others

Responses: 144

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Updated July 30, 2009

Have you ever had a lumbar puncture (aka “spinal tap”)? For most people on their way to an MS diagnosis, this is one of the tests performed. What was your lumbar puncture like? Was the procedure better or worse than you thought it would be? Did you get a headache afterwards or have any other side effects? Do you have any advice for people going in for a lumbar puncture to make the experience a little more pleasant? Share Ideas and Stories

my o.k tap experience

I had my Lumber Puncture aka 'tap' yesterday. The procedure was virtually painless. I had read the horror stories and expected the worst, but the anaesthetic taking effect was the only sensation I felt. 24 hours later, I do the 'the headache', but it is not painful if I remain laying down. My lower back is aching but that is more to do with laying down than the 'tap' I think. Everyone has their own experience, maybe I was lucky and it's early days, but if you try to relax; it helps.
—Guest eve graham

I had Lumbar Puncture 2 days ago

I am 17. I got the procedure Thursday it wasn't that bad but it did hurt. The shock in my left leg was extreme. After I had back ache. On Friday back pain was gone but now I have excruciating head pain it is Saturday night and my head is literally killing me. I don't want a blood patch because it will hurt so I need this headache to go away! Any suggestions ? I'm all caffiened and hydrated up. I'm constantly laying down.
—Guest Kayla

LP and blood patch

24 hours after I had LP developed a terrible headache when I stood up. I had blood patch and it was a miracle. Need to take it easy for about a week. Sitting hurts otherwise feel fine.
—Guest Cecilia

I don't know what to do

I received the spinal a few months ago. I was told it would not take long 10 min at best and i would only feel pain from when they numb me but only till it was numb. I felt a horrible streak of pain from head to toe throughout the left or right side of my body (depending on what side the needle was going in) at least 8 or more times. I know he had to start over, i don't know how many times. I haven't been much able to walk sit lift or do much of anything since. my neuro suggested a nerve test and concluded I have a pinched nerve and when reviewing an mri it showed i had a bulging disc. I had bad leg pain since my ms (optic neuritis) was first found and i thought my severe leg pain was somehow related to ms but i didnt have back pains till after spinal tap. He has chalked my leg and back problems up to a pinched nerve and is sending me back to same dr that did my spinal for the pain but hasnt himself helped me at all with the pain. my dr had me on percocets 7.5 that didn't take away all
—Guest Aidrakard

LP

I had one done about 4 days ago and I'm in excruciating pain my head feels as If it's going to explode I can handle pain but this is unnatural pain it brings me to tears the only way I feel okay is to lay down but I have a toddler I can't be in bed all day so I suffer a lot. And the doctor whom performed this procedure on me told me that I will possibly have a headache from two weeks to ONE MONTH! Terrible! I NEVER want to have another LP done again ever.
—Guest Jusmarlay

LP while having tumor removal surgery

I had an LP diagnose MS while undergoing brain tumor removal surgery. So I cannot tell you whether the pain and headaches were from the tumor or the LP.
—Guest Ken

lumbar puncture

had lumbar puncture on 20/12/12 unsuccessfully,tried again on 21/12/12 again unsuccessfull,the third attempt was on 21/12/12 evening in theatre which was successfull. this was after about ten attempts,apparantley my back was too muscular and caused problems for the procedure.it is now the 23/12/12 i have been discharged with medication but have severe headaches even with the painkillers. lying down does ease the pain. how many days this will last is my concern can anyone tell me how long it will take to get back to normal. thanks
—Guest paul

lumbar puncture

had lumbar puncture on 20/12/12 unsuccessfully,tried again on 21/12/12 again unsuccessfull,the third attempt was on 21/12/12 evening in theatre which was successfull. this was after about ten attempts,apparantley my back was too muscular and caused problems for the procedure.it is now the 23/12/12 i have been discharged with medication but have severe headaches even with the painkillers. lying down does ease the pain. how many days this will last is my concern can anyone tell me how long it will take to get back to normal. thanks
—Guest paul

My experience was ok...

I went in with fear and realized it wasn't that bad.(oh I have MS) the procedure was discomforting but being naked waist down was the weird. I remember the anesthetic was painful at first and after that just a little discomforting because of how still I had to be. laying down after all was done in the hospital bed was a pain in the butt but it had to be done. the thing that bothered me was being bed ridden for five days after the procedure. I had flu like symptoms and a constant headache that wouldn't go away. finally on the fifth day I was feeling alright and went to see my doctor,he told me that some people have different reactions to LP. I hope this helps anyone who is having trouble deciding on wether they should have the procedure done or not,it's not that bad at all and hopefully you don't get as sick as I did.
—Guest Shon

It is true what they

I went to the hospital because the right side of my body numb. They did a MRI on me to check for MS and then they told me about the spinal tap...I was pretty scared at first but I wanted to find out Wat was wrong wit me!! The procedure wasn't bad but the side effects was horrible I couldn't walk my head was spinning I felt horrible. The next day they let me come home but I still had a bad headache off and on espically wen i was in the sun. The way I felt better is if I laid down
—Guest Richelle

Should I get a blood patch?

I had a lp on Tuesday and started feeling sick ever since. I still had headache on Friday so I went to the ER, they said lets see for another 24 hours with some caffeine and IV. The headache stopped after the IV, and it is now over 24 hours I have no headache but it is aching through my spine. Should I get the blood patch?
—Guest Angie

2 and the same effect both times

Just left the hospital after having a blood patch for the massive headache I got from a spinal tap on Monday. This is the second spinal tap and the second blood patch. They are trying to figure out if I have Ms. the only thing I say is if you have no chose then thats fine, but if you have a chose I would have said no to the second one. All the way around hurt like hell
—Guest gatorsindixie

lumbar & blood patch

Had lumbar done next day took headache, so horrible a 10. Layed in bed fluids & caffeine no help. So said blood patch, have no ins so they didn't want to do it unless I pages 150.00 up front , waiting to hear about disablilty have no money. Had to beg to get money what has come to this world???? Thank god I got it done pray it works. Doctors are all about money not helping.
—Guest Robin

first puncture

just recovering from blood patch to stop leaking. woa that was the worst exprnc. crawled to bed crawled to bathroom for three days. if anyone knows any secrets to feeling better sooner let me know. 24hours after patch and im terrified to resume normal activities because i still feel very abnormal .
—Guest guest Becky

Lumbar Puncture

I went to the hospital for headaches that I was having for about two weeks. The Dr. was very young so I kinda freaked out but I trusted him either way. He punctured me literally 8 times and hurt me on my left leg nerves several times while doing the procedure. So I left the hospital with the negative results. The very next day I was having terrible headaches that I went to another hospital that time cause of my terrible experience that other day. they found that I had a leakage due to the punctures they did to me, so they did me a blood clog to block the leakage and they told me that I have sclerosis and that is why at the other hospital they couldn't do it right..funny thing is that the other hospital never new that I had sclerosis talk about negligent. now I suffer from lower back pains and left hip pain.
—Guest Karla

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Experience with lumbar punctures and advice for others

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  5. Lumbar Puncture Stories from People with Multiple Sclerosis - People with MS Talk About Spinal Taps (Lumbar Punctures)

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