Lumbar puncture: my experience

I wanted to write this for anyone due for their first lumbar puncture.

The name “lumbar puncture” does not sound great, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. But it was a breeze. So if you’re up for one, here’s how it worked for me (and I am a total wimp).

When I arrived at the hospital, the nurse checked me in, he took my blood pressure. I went to the loo, not knowing how long the whole thing would take.

Then they left me in a room and at some point the doctor turned up. Seeing me huddled nervously and new to everything, she took the time to explain everything to me, and I could ask any questions.
She then asked me to lie on the bed. I didn’t have to undress, just adjust my clothes on my lower back/role up my top. I was asked to lie on my side, on one edge of the bed, facing away from the doctor. This means you can’t see anything that is going on, but the doctor talked me through what she was doing so there were no “surprises”. And basically, I hardly felt anything. There was a tiny prick when they must have put in the anaesthetic. But it was far less painful, say, than a flu or covid jab (let alone some dental procedures…). She was very gentle. I think she may have spread some kind of gel on my back. But I really felt nothing after that. The whole thing lasted a few minutes.

Then she told me to lie on my back and stay there for 1 hour. She even asked if I would like the lights dimmed! You could take something to listen to in this time, or just sleep.
At some point a nurse came to take a blood sample. Just the usual blood sample routine.

And that was it. I got up, felt fine, went home.

When I got up, I got no headache and thought I was lucky in that regard. Rather foolishly, I did lots of exercise that afternoon… and got a nasty headache for a few days after. As they say, lying down helps. Be prepared to take time off work for this one. It did last a few days, but then disappeared rather suddenly. But I really recommend you do no exercise for the first 24 hours after the LP - the headache can start any time in the first 24 hours.

That’s all! I hope this will set some people’s minds at rest.


That’s good to hear. I’m glad it went well.


My LP was much like yours, there was no pain at all during the procedure.
Later, at home in my own bed, I got the headache they’d warned me about. It lasted a few days. I stayed in a dimly lit room drinking plenty of fluids, mostly mineral water, and slept a lot. It was nothing like as bad as I had feared.