Lumbar puncture

Just the words lumbar puncture make me feel dizzy.

First time on this board. I’m in the process of being diagnosed. I’ve had 2 episodes in the last year. Tingling when I put my head down, numb feet, blurred vision, hyper sensitive skin.

My MRI came back abnormal which they’ve said is in line with MS and to give me a diagnosis I need to have the lumbar puncture. I’m so nervous. I hate needles and just the thought makes me feel unwell. How did it go for anyone else? Any advice?

Thank you x

Obviously the experience is different for everybody but I have to say that my lumbar puncture was no problem at all. It didn’t hurt (local anaesthetic worked), it was done quickly, I didn’t see or feel anything disturbing and I didn’t even have a headache afterwards.

I think that I am a very normal person in my reaction to doctors. I am not a big-butch Bravo 23 type who laughs at pain but I am not someone who faints at the sight of a needle (not that I saw a needle of course!)

The worse thing about the whole procedure was waiting for my appointment as I really did begin to worry about all the horror stories that I couldn’t help hearing and then letting my imagination run riot with them.

I do have a couple of top tips though:

  1. Try and go with somebody. I went with my husband and he held my hand throughout which helped a lot (apart from him cracking jokes throughout

  2. Drink a lot of water beforehand to keep yourself nice and hydrated.

  3. Lots of nice high caffeine/high sugar drinks afterwards (not Diet Coke, the evil full sugar stuff - don’t worry, Jamie Oliver will let you off this once!)

  4. Lie flat (or on your side) for an hour or so afterwards. To be honest, this was the most difficult part of the whole scenario for me - I felt fine and I hate lying down not doing anything.

  5. Nice treat waiting for you when you get home. Cream cakes or chocolates are very good and, of course, medicinal.

Good luck. I am sure that you will come out of it wondering what you got yourself so worked up over.

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The Barts guide is useful and it seems asking for a atraumatic spinal needle is key.