Lumbar Puncture

Good evening everyone, this is my first post although I’ve been reading the forum for several months now.

I’ve had both MRI and CT scans. Both showed lesions on my brain and spine.

I’m going into hospital for the day tomorrow for a lumbar puncture and evoked potential.

Can someone please give me advice about the lumbar puncture. I don’t know anyone who has had this procedure and I’m a little nervous!

What questions should I ask? Should I lean forward or on my side? What side affects should I be prepared for? How long will my recovery take?

Thanks everyone in advance!

Avril :slight_smile:

Hey there Avril…I was anaethetised for mine and remember nothing I’m afraid. However its late and just in case you don’t get any responses I am conscious that you are having the procedure done tomorrow. So…if you look in the top right hand corner of this page you will see a search box…type in lumbar puncture and click on “GO” right next to the box and it will bring up some info for you to read. I’m sorry you have lesions, it’s not very nice news, though sometimes it does make sense of things. Anyway, hello and try not to be scared I had no after effects so hope the same goes for you. Big hug and keep us posted on how you go. No need to be lonely, people here are kind and understand. Gill xx

Avril I have had the LP replied on your other thread Take care Gray. Xx

Thanks Gill, I’ll do the search now x

Thanks Gray, sorry I didn’t realise my thread posted twice - silly me!

I’ll read it tonight x

Hi Avril

I had a Lumbar Puncture, and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

The Neurologist carrying out the LP explained everything calmly and clearly as he was doing the LP, he was also assisted by a nurse. I think there was maybe a mild local anaesthetic applied to the area, but I’m not sure. I felt mild discomfort for a short while, but certainly no pain.

Something else that did help was a lovely Nursing Assistant who stayed in the room throughout the procedure, facing me, holding my hands, and being very calm and reassuring - this was great.

After the procedure (which took about 30 minutes all in) the main thing is to lie flat for a good hour, but drink PLENTY of water and other fluids, this really does help you to avoid the apparently horrendous headache you can get if you don’t do this. I drank all the time, and I didn’t have a headache - big relief!

I felt absolutely fine after the LP (all I had was a small sticking plaster over the LP area), and can say quite honestly it really isn’t too bad a prodecure at all - just make sure everything is explained to you - that really does make a difference.

You’ll be absolutely fine Avril.

Hope this helps.

Fran x


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.

I wasn’t under any anaestisia for mine (they said that in order to administer the anaesthetic, they’d have to stick a needle in exactly the same place, so they’d rather just stick me onece), but it wasn’t much worse than taking blood. I thought the worst thing about it was what’s happening in your head, because you know where they are sticking that needle and it’s scary. But ideally, there should be a nurse or another doctor there who can distract you. However, I think it is much more painful for others than it was for me, my cousin said it was the worst bit of testing for him (there may also be a differnce in pain between men and women). As far as risks go, the neurologist will explain, but from hat they told me, the headache is the most common one. But even that only happens in about 20% of cases. All the other stuff is incredibly rare!

It’s really not that bad!

Good luck and good nerves!

Hi Everyone! You were right, thinking about the lumbar puncture is much worse than the actual procedure.

Lay on my left side to start with but after 3 attempts had to sit up and bend over, was told my bones were too close to get the needle through. Had a fabulous nurse with a great reassuring approach.

Woke up at 5am this morning with a headache from hell so had to take the day off work. My headache has gradually improved so hopeful I’ll be much better tomorrow and can go back to work. I’m drinking plenty including coffee and coke, it does make a difference!

Now it’s a waiting game because I don’t have a return appointment yet.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post, I really appreciate it!

Love to everyone, Avril x

Glad it’s over and done, yes, I can imagine the fear - It was so wrong but I was just relieved my when consultant used the word “undoubtably” when I asked “is it definitely MS?” and I didn’t have to have one done. I found the idea really scary, so well done! :smiley:

Sonia x

Hi Avril , im new here and by no means educated on the MS front as its all scary to me at the moment to , but i had my lumbar puncture in Feb and was really worried and panicking , but i gotta be honest im good with pain always have been but it wwasnt the most unpleasant thing ive felt , a little wierd but afterwards i remember thinking to myself how i was worried about that it was no where near as bad as i was thinking , it will be good for you to be done then you can move forward knowing steps are being made to help you , i wish you all the best of luck with it


Thanks everyone for the fabulous support and words of wisdom.

I was off work again today, really struggled to shift my headache and neck pain. Much better tonight so will be fine for work on Monday.

I’m not very patient so waiting to hear from my consultant will be torture, I’m a wants everything done yesterday kinda girl!

Well no matter the outcome, fingers crossed I get diagnosed and start getting the right treatment x x x