Lumbar Puncture Update

Hi all, So I posted a few weeks ago asking about how long the usual wait time is for getting a lumbar puncture appointment. I have now been given an appointment, which is a weight off my mind. I just wanted to ask if anyone has any tips for the procedure and afterwards? They also want to do a blood test before the lumbar puncture, is this normal? Thanks!

Hiya, I took some full fat coke with me which I sipped through a straw afterwards. You’ll have to wait a while and lie flat whilst the nurses monitor you etc. That helped me avoid the headache that some get afterwards. The actual procedure went really well for me. I had some lower back pain once the local anaesthetic wore off but I took it easy and recovered well. The LP was the final piece of my puzzle and I was diagnosed shortly afterwards (within 2 weeks) so it was very much worth it for me. The do a blood test at the same time too, to check it against the spinal fluid. Good luck with it. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Hi Summer, 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 lasts 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 nights sleep; this is rare. Good luck. George

Hi. I had LP almost two weeks ago. Went ok. Worst bit was anaesthetic needles. Actual procedure of removing spinal fluid - didn’t feel a thing. Had to lie flat on back for an hour after and told bed rest, flat on back for 24 hrs . This definitely helped prevent the headache from hell. I just had a bit a backache for a couple of days. Hopefully get results in next few days.

Everyone needs to learn, however I really have to strongly echo and agree with this. My first lumbar puncture was conducted by a student and after 55 minutes of multiple entry attempts and pain they had to abandon the procedure. I re-attended for another go a few weeks later and because of the first time they gave me someone who has done it for donkeys years and within 10 mins and no feeling other than the scratch for the anaesthetic the procedure was done. Really complete polar opposite experiences.

It’s one of those things I think where if you can, maybe let them practice on someone that isn’t you!