Lumbar puncture journey home


I have a LP at 10:30am tomorrow, the University of Cambridge has asked if they can take more fluid for research which I’ve agreed to. As far as I understand this may prolong the recovery time but does not increase any risks.

Unfortunatley the hospital is a 2 hour drive from my home, is there anything you advise to make the journey more comfortable? My husband will drive so maybe I should lay down in the back seat, what do you think?



H Chaz,

Here is what I usually advise.

The actual procedure is not painful; in fact the only thing you feel is a scratch when the anaesthetic goes in. The actual removal of fluid is just a feeling of pressure if done properly. I must stress if done properly; do not let anyone practice on you insist on someone who is experienced.

It’s after you MAY get something called ‘the headache from hell.’ To cut down the chances of getting this you should lay flat for at least 3 hours do not even get up to go to the loo; use a pan. Drink at least 2 litres of classic Coke, not diet; it’s the caffeine that aids replenishment of your CNS fluid. Being your drinking a lot take one of those bendy straws otherwise the bed will get more Coke than you. If you want a change of drink very strong coffee.

These things will drastically reduce your chances of getting a headache that could last about 8 days. If you have a couple of days off work and rest if you do not get the headache, if you do 10 days off work.

If the headache last more than 10 days you could need a blood patch; especially if there’s a wet patch on the bed in the area of the spine after a night’s sleep; this is rare.

So as you’re having more fluid taken out definitely lay flat; do not move for 3 hours after.

Good luck.


Hi Chaz, From my own experience of a LP I didn’t really feel any pain till the next morning, so found travelling to and from hospital ok. I would recommend drinking some full fat coke straight after though, read that it could stop a potential mega headache and seeing as I avoided it may have some truth in it. Good luck though! :slight_smile:

Me again Chaz,

As you’re doing them a favor; ask them if they will give you an ambulance home.