Lumbar puncture


I have been booked in for a lumbar puncture in a couple of weeks time.

I am a bit nervous about the whole thing and wondered if anyone could tell me

  • what the possible outcomes are and what this means (will it be definitive or just another part of the picture?)

  • how long it is all likely to take

  • anything that would help it not to be toooo bad an experience!

I have to admit to a bit of a wobble when the appointment came through as it made everything seem more real. And it came through with a booklet “your hospital admission” which shocked me a bit but have since found out they don’t normally admit you unless there is a problem (I was too scared to ask what sort of a problem!)

many thanks xx

Hi Ali I think mine took about 15 or 20 mins including the local anaesthetic. It was absolutely fine…I only felt a small scratch when the local went in. Despite all my fears and protests about having it done !! I was such a wuss…honestly. Please don’t worry, it’s nothing like you build it up to be. And I had no after effects either. Xx

Hi Ali, Mine was fine too. Just a sharp scratch for the local - no other pain or discomfort or any after effects. I lay flat for an hour, then went home! Hth, Teresa xx

Same as above

Though I had to lie flat for what felt like forever, so maybe take a book to amuse yourself

All the best


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 nights sleep; this is rare.

Good luck.