We’ve all experienced headaches, but have you ever had a spinal headache? Also known as an epidural, post-dural puncture, or low-pressure headache, this condition results from spinal fluid leaks, usually after a spinal tap.
In this article, we’ll review the basics of spinal headaches, including the available treatments.
Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Headache
Usually, spinal headache symptoms start to appear within two or three days following a spinal tap. However, in some patients, it can take a few months for the symptoms to appear.
The most common symptoms of a spinal headache include:
- An intense headache that begins in the front or back of the head
- Dull or throbbing headache pain
- Worsened headache pain with sneezing, coughing, or straining
- Stiffness and/or pain in the neck
Other symptoms can include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Blurred or double vision
- Light sensitivity
What Causes Spinal Headaches?
As aforementioned, spinal headaches are most often caused by spinal taps or lumbar punctures. Spinal taps are used to diagnose specific medical conditions and administer certain medications, as well as anesthesia.
Less often, spinal headaches are caused by a burst cyst on the spinal cord, torn meninges in the spinal cord, or significant injury to the head or face.
How Are Spinal Headaches Treated?
Spinal headaches can usually be treated with conservative methods, including drinking plenty of fluids (including caffeinated beverages), taking over-the-counter pain medications, and lying in a flat position.
However, if these methods don’t alleviate your symptoms, an epidural blood patch may be necessary. This procedure involves injecting some blood over the puncture that’s leaking cerebrospinal fluid. The blood then clots and closes the hole.
If you’re suffering from spinal headaches, migraines, or other types of persistent headaches, reach out to a trusted medical provider in your area.