Lumbar puncture and headaches

I had my 2nd lumbar puncture as 1st one failed,this time under guidance of x ray. It was done monday, and ive had a horrendous headache since and its now thursday. Is this normal?and is there anything i can do? Im already on a host of painkillers including paracetomol and morthine

Things with caffeine - such as strong coke are supposed to help

I’ve had two lumbar punctures. 1st one was many years ago when you had to lie flat for 24 hours after the procedure. I didn’t have a headache at all that time. Had my second one last year before diagnosis and was told to lie flat for a couple of hours afterwards. The following day I started with the headache from hell. I drank coffee, full fat coke…nothing really helped but it did resolve slowly over about a week. It seems to be the luck of the draw whether you get a headache or not - some people do, some don’t. But it is ‘normal’ and it will resolve with time. Apart from the coke and the coffee the best thing you can do is to lie down - it doesn’t hurt when you lie down. Good luck xx Juls

I had an LP when I was 7 years old. They never told me to drink lots of fluid and lie down for 24 hours. I got the headache from hell too, which was quite scary back then as a child. I’ve refused LP’s since based purely upon that experience alone

I ended up with the headache so we rang the hospital. They advised me to lie flat for 48 hours and assured me it would sort itself out. I can’t remember if I managed the full time but it did go!


It seems asking for a ‘atraumatic spinal needle’ is key to significantly reducing the risk of headache. The Barts Guide is worth reading before having a lumbar puncture.

Hi, My headache following a LP was also horrendous, felt like the hangover from hell. It passed after 5 days. Drink loads of water I was told and stay horizontal . Usual drugs didn’t touch it. All the best.

Oh man, I was ruined after my lumbar punch, I just could not raise my head. I ended up going back to A&E because of the headaches a dizziness, 100% agree with the others, it was truly horrendous. Best advice is just stay laying as much as possible and keep hydrated . My symptoms lasted about 2 or 3 days, but the first 12 hours were a nightmare.

As well as the bad experience I had as a child, my line of thought was that the MRI showed lesions / activity and my evoked potentials test showed I’d had optic neuritis, so why bother with the LP? The neuro didn’t like it but as I told him - it’s my choice

I must admit I’m with Whammel and Bart’s on this and the point (no pun intended!) of it being down to type of needle used. I’ve only had one LP done during my initial diagnosis nearly 20 yrs ago at the Radcliffe - and I clearly remember being made to wait while they found the correct needle. Asking why a particular needle was required I was told it was not like a ‘normal’ injection type of needle but both shaped differently and finer. At the end of the day, based on the stories above, I was lucky - got no headache and returned to work the next morning.

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I had one for 3 weeks after my LP but that was because I was moved too quickly . The only time it don’t hurt was when I was lying flat… was advised to not keep taking pain relief as it would make it worse …I was just about to go back to hospital and it passed … I must say though I think I was the exception and not the rule with most people it passed far quicker …

My lumbar puncture headache landed me in A and E, 7 days later. To be told then that it was hospital policy to do a blood patch after two weeks if my headache was still raging. Thankfully my headache only lasted twelve days, but it was hellish and completely debilitating. My advice…lay completely flat. Take lots of coding. Take tons and tons of fluids. Warmest wishes, Ali

I was only diagnosed a few weeks ago, so am new to everything. I’ve been told that I will need a LP, but don’t like the idea of all these headaches. Why do people get headaches following it…? It seems to be related to the size of the needle. So is it related to the amount of fluid that is taken…?

It does worry me that this procedure causes headaches when the disease itself causes headaches and lesions to the brain…! And its only function is to reclassify MS into further subdivisions…

It takes sooooo long waiting for appointments. Too much thinking time…!!!

Please try not to worry.

when I had my LP, they struggled to get the needle in. They tried eight times. Finally two spare nurses held me in a strange hanging like position. They moved me out of the hospital after one hour and I had a two hour journey home. All not suitable and unlucky.

For so many people the LP is painless and they return to work asap.

So relax as best that you can during the procedure. Lay flat. Drink lots (they say coffee), and don’t get up until you are sure that you are without headache.

You might like to write a new thread. Lots of people will tell ou not to worry. best wishes Ali


The guys at Barts MS do seem to have the whole issue with an LP sorted. I agree with Whammel.(see ) After one LP that was done by the Barts MS team I went to the Paralympics down the road in East London, Stratford, and felt no ill effects.

The hardest part is the idea of a needle being inserted into the spinal cord. Just thinking about it gives me the willies. Got to go for one at the end of January but I’m sure it will be OK.


I had a spinal headache after my lumbar puncture, it is absolute hell! After a week the doctors gave me the option of having a ‘patch.’ This is where they take some blood from your arm and use it to patch up the leak that the needle may have caused in your spine. The headache goes away pretty much instantly. I was in hospital at the time however you could go to A&E and explain how bad the pain is.

I read that the headaches are caused by the removal of fluid, leaving the brain “stretching”. Once the cerebral fluid is replaced the pain goes.

Having had a bad experience of it when I was 7, I flatly refused any further LP’s. My new neuro wanted to do one recently but I said what was the point, having had the diagnosis 8 years ago.