lumber puncture appointment has come, fealing worried.

Hi everyone, as you all know I was in two minds weather to go through with the lumber puncture or not, yesterday my appointment come in the post, for the 13th of this month, the letter said a nurse will be calling me on the 9th of this month, just wondering what that is all about, the letter said I’m going to be a day surgery patient under a pain management speciality. I’m so confused I thought it was a normal in out job. Any advice would be appreciated. Lisa

Hi Lisa,

You could always ring the hospital to ask what’s involved. This might just be the way they do where you are, and may be completely normal, but if you can’t wait 'till the 9th, why not ring?

I think my letter probably put me down as a day patient too, I think its just the way they catagorise you. You will be in there a couple of hours though probably, as they like you to lie flat for a bit afterwards.

Best wishes


Hi Lisa,

I’m presuming that you neuro wants you to have this to help confirm a diagnosis, as not everyone has one?

From what I can recall of mine, I had to have my bloods done just before my LP, so the nurse may be calling to arrange that and/or also go through the procedure with you (they know how scary it can be for us). They use a local anaesthetic to numb your back so that you don’t feel anything, so that may be where the pain management thing comes in.

I was given some excellent advice to drink lots of fluids afterwards (preferably full-fat Coke), and they will probably give you some paracetamol and offer you coffee. Try to drink plenty the night before so that you are well-hydrated on the day, but bare in mind (especially if you have an MS bladder!) that it can take a while to do the procedure, and that they will want you to lay flat for at least an hour afterwards so that they can monitor you. Also, just in case you were thinking of going alone (I mulled it over), please take someone with you. I was only allowed to go when my lift came in to collect me. :wink:

My lovely MS nurse was there when I had mine done, and constantly kept an eye on me. It didn’t hurt and bit, and I had no headache afterwards, which was a relief.

Hope it goes as well for you as it did for me hun.

Mags :slight_smile:

Hi Lisa, It usually is an in and out job maybe an hour or two, depending on the policies they have at your hospital for the aftercare of LP patients. Some request that you lie flat for 30 mins after, other specify more. But don’t worry about the term day case. It simply means that the department closes and that patients are not kept in there overnight. You won’t be there for the whole day day, hopefully. :slight_smile: The LP is nothing to worry about. They will position you, usually on your left side and bring your knees up to your chest and chin to your chest, like an exaggerated fetal position. They will feel around the area first and maybe mark out boney landmarks with a pen. They will then clean you with some antiseptic and place a sterile towel to isolate the newly sterile area, this will reduce the chances of infection. They will inject a little local anaesthetic into the skin, this stings a little, but it’s not excruciating. Once the area is numb they will put the catheter in your back which will collect the fluid. All you should feel is pressure, but no pain. Please avoid reading stories of bad experiences, they are few and far between, but there will always be people out there that prefer to scare than to help you. After the LP, you will lie flat for a while to avoid a headache through drop in pressure. They encourage you to drink caffeine drinks and remain well hydrated. Rest as much as possible for 24 hours Maybe take analgesia before the LP, give it time to kick in just as a precaution and pre empting a headache. You will be fine, I promise. If I can do it, so can you. Good luck! J x

Hi Lisa,

“Day Surgery Unit” really does mean an in-and-out job. A lot of the more modern (or modernised) hospitals have created a dedicated “Day Surgery Unit” or “Day Case Unit”. Often this means a dedicated nurse for each patient, probably a private room, (maybe even en-suite) and a team that are used to handling a big patient throughput. You might even find that there is a dedicated car-park for the unit.

You have had all the advice on what will happen when you are in. Now take a few minutes to get the travel plans right.
Go to the hospital website, find out where the unit is, where you can park (or where the bus stop will be) what the parking charge will be (ask the nurse how long it will take when she rings) so that you have enough pound coins (and about 5 more spare), and get yourself quite confident that you know what will happen. If you are going by car, drive over this week and actually look at the route to the right carpark and from the park to the unit. The more you have under your control, the easier the whole thing will be.

We expect a post from you on Monday evening saying how well it went.


Thankyou you everyone for your advice I’ve taken it all on board and feel a bit better about it all. I received another letter today from the hospital telling me I have to see my neuro on Wednesday this week in two days, I haven’t a clue to why she wants to see me. It must be important because you wait months to see my neuro, and I only see her in December, so that’s more stress, tryed ringing them today but couldn’t get through.Im hoping it about my injections for rebif, but I think that’s my nurses department, not neuro. I will let u all know what’s going on and the out come of the lp. Take care everyone lisa.

Hello Lisa

Excellent advice from Geoff.

I think its very impressive that your having your Lumbar puncture under the care of a pain management speciality.

If I was you, I would be feeling much more confident because of this.

Its obviously the way this particular hospital works, so be happy about that.

All the best for next Monday

Thankyou blossom I’m still very scared, I wasn’t this scared have my 3 c sections I think I’m scared because it all going so fast, I only found out in December that I have ms, but it people like you that help me feel less alone so thankyou again for listening to me and my

I am wondering if in December they said you definitely had MS why does your specialist want an LP which is purely a diagnostic procedure.

If it’s just so they can say they have done every test refuse it; if you have a diagnosis no need to put you through even the remote possibility of getting ‘the headache from hell’.

Lisa, Please don’t be scared. If you had spinal anaesthetic for your c sections, an LP really isn’t going to be much different in terms if sensations. Xx

Hi Lisa can I just ask, have you been diagnosed with MS or are they still doing tests. As I’ve had MRI scan which has come back ok but have now been offered LP?


hi there I had the mir scans done twice as well as a lot more other scans, my neuro send me a letter saying that i have ms and the tests confirmed it, they found a number of lesions on the brain as well as white dots and 3 cysts in other areas on the spinal cord. I see the Neuro doctor in December and she said I had rrms and that she would like a lp done just to rule out anything else, I was then sent to see a ms nurse who was lovely, she talked me through the rebif injections and told me they are must as I am very young, I asked her if I have to have the lp done because I was scared and she Said to me if I decide not to have it done she would back me up, she said we have a diagnosis which Is clear enough, and that I have ms. So I’m just in the dark about having this lp, I’m due to see the Neuro this Wednesday so I will be asking alot more questions this time round. And fingers crossed she might agree with me, I’m to unwell to have a lp done I’m still in this relapse.

Hello Lisa

You need to calm down and relax. Its your choice whether you have a lumbar puncture. Not a doctor or anyone else. Its your body and your consenting to the procedure. If You feel, that you don’t want to have the LP, then don’t…end of story.

Its great that you’ve ben able to discuss this with us guys but its obvious you don’t want to have it done.

If your ms nurse is saying you have a clear diagnosis and that she will back you up…that would be good enough for me.

Lots of people are diagnosed who have never had a LP.

You make the right decision for you Lisa.

Take care, Noreen

Great advice Noreen x

I agree with Noreen, it is your choice, and assuming they only want to do it for MS purposes, why put yourself through it if you already have a diagnosis?

However, a tiny word of caution. Ask what they want to rule out with the LP. I had a cyst show up that they weren’t sure of. The only way for them to tell if it was benign, without major surgery, was to do a LP. I believe there are other things they can check for as well, so I would ask for clarification, and if it’s simply the MS, don’t feel pressured into having it done if you don’t want to!


Hi everyone I see the ms nurse today who said I have to have the lp Monday to clarity what injections to start me on, as well as sorting my head pain out.they need to see why I have so much head pain and what course of meds I can take to stop it. So I said ok, once Ive had the lp done Monday I then have to wait four weeks for results, once they have them In I can then start the injections. It feels like there giving me the run around considering I was ment to start injections today.

I’ve just been diagnosed with ms too. I had blood tests and LP on Friday and then was admitted to hospital for steroids to reduce my relapse symptoms on Tuesday when I couldn’t take it anymore. My results took 4 days but then I have been here nagging them. They’ve used the results to exclude other conditions that mimic MS and I now have a definite diagnosis of MS. For me it was worth the discomfort. Kath

Hiya Lisa

Just one more tip for you. The LP is not too bad, you know, I had mine done in 2002 and the worse thing about it is afterwards and trying to avoid a headache that may go on for a few days. Mine lasted for 11 days. The tips above about lying flat for a few hours are good.

Also there has been research about the needles they used for the LP. The one that has shown to have a better chance of avoiding the headache is The Sprotte needle which is less cutting that the regular Quinke needle they use. Less cutting and less fluid that leaks - leaking CSF causes the headache. Costs 30 times more than the 25p Quinke needle, though.

Take care,