January 18th, 2024

Have You Suffered From Spinal Headaches?

Have You Suffered From Spinal Headaches?

When the membrane around the spinal cord punctures, the cerebrospinal fluid, also known as CSF, pours out, leading to a spinal headache. This leak reduces the CSF's ability to support the brain, resulting in headaches physically. A lumbar puncture, a diagnostic procedure in which a doctor uses a small instrument to remove a sample of CSF from the spinal cord, frequently results in a spinal headache as a side effect. Following this treatment, a spinal headache may result from some CSF leaking out in the location where the needle punctured the spinal cord. A spinal headache, sometimes known by medical practitioners as a post-dural puncture headache, occurs in about 25% of lumbar puncture patients. Well, doctors know how to deal with such cases, so it  is better to consult with the doctor on time if you feel the following symptoms mentioned below:

Signs and Symptoms

 A dull, throbbing pain that ranges in intensity from mild to extremely severe is one of the symptoms of a spinal headache. Another sign is discomfort that usually worsens when you sit up or stand and gets better or disappears when you lie down. The following symptoms are frequently present with spinal headaches: dizziness, tinnitus, and hearing loss.        

  • Double or blurry vision      

  • Photophobia, or sensitivity to light     

  • Emesis and nausea

  • Stiffness or pain in the neck     

  • Seizures 

Causes of Spinal Headaches 

It would help if you first comprehended why and when epidural anaesthesia is administered to understand how headache discomfort may develop following one. An epidural is intended to numb lower body pain to minimize the discomfort associated with labour and delivery. The procedure involves giving an anaesthetic agent (or a combination of medicines) through a catheter inserted into the epidural space, a tiny pocket in the lower back that lies close to the spinal cord.

 First, a needle is inserted into the back to put the catheter. There is a very slim risk that the spinal cord and the cerebral spinal fluid it surrounds will be punctured by the needle when it is inserted. A headache could arise from a temporary change in the dural sac's internal pressure caused by fluid seeping out of the microscopic puncture. The probability of such a condition occurring is one in a hundred that this may occur during an epidural procedure. 

Are Headaches Dangerous?

In general, spinal headaches are not regarded as serious. Nonetheless, they can cause excruciating pain and discomfort, substantially negatively influencing a person's quality of life. Occasionally, problems like bleeding or infections could occur and call for emergency care. Seeking advice and a correct diagnosis from a healthcare professional is crucial.

Identification Of Spinal Pain 

To identify the source of your spinal headache and rule out other possible explanations, your healthcare physician may occasionally advise magnetic resonance imaging or MRI. Radio waves and a magnetic field are used to produce cross-sectional pictures of the brain during the examination. 

Proper Treatment

Best pain doctor in Dallas can recommend the following techniques from low to severe according to severity of situation to get rid of spinal headaches. 


Bed Rest

Your doctor could advise you to relax for a few days to see if your symptoms go away because, in contrast to many other chronic headaches, spinal headaches frequently go away on their own. 


Hydration

To help your body produce more CSF after surgery, most medical professionals advise you to consume a lot of fluids. You can overhydrate, so pay close attention to what your doctor tells you. 


Analgesics

Many individuals find that over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, paracetamol (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin) can successfully alleviate minor headache symptoms. Even prescription drugs may create health issues. Therefore, you must talk to your doctor about anything you take.


Caffeine

The exact cause of caffeine's potential pain alleviation for spinal headaches is unknown. Tablets containing this caffeine may be used. However, readily accessible forms like coffee or soda might work as well. 

    Epidural Blood Patch

    A more severe kind of treatment for spinal headaches involves injecting the individual's blood into the canal of the spine. More fluid injected into the spinal canal slows or stops the spinal nerve's loss of CSF fluid; blood should coagulate over the opening to allow the wound to heal. Additionally, it reduces the chance of spinal headaches by partially reversing the negative pressure resulting from previous fluid loss.      

    • Epidural Non-Blood Injections 

    Some researchers have attempted to give patients saline or dextran 40 instead of their blood. While there isn't enough evidence to support their efficacy, these alternatives are useful in reducing CSF loss and repairing rips.

     • Surgical Intervention

     If non-surgical measures fail, your doctor might decide to do surgery as a last resort. The surgeon will physically seal the dura mater opening to stop additional CSF loss. 

    When to Consult a Physician 

    A person should follow the doctor completely if they have a problem with a spinal headache. This is because, with therapy, the symptoms of a spinal headache may no longer interfere with their day-to-day activities. Additionally, a person should see a best pain physician in Dallas because persistent headaches could indicate a more serious illness that needs medical attention. If someone develops any of the following symptoms, they should get medical attention right away:

    Have two or more headaches per week:    

    • A sudden, intense headache combined with a stiff neck        

    • Have a headache associated with convulsions and dyspnea   

    A strong headache unrelated to another illness along with:         

    • Fever         

    • Vomiting           

    • Nausea   

    Headache that is accompanied by weakness:          

    • Confusion       

    • Double vision           

    • Headache along with a loss of awareness 

    Experience a headache that worsens over several days or weeks or alters in pattern or behaviour over time; if you experience a headache with weakness and lack of sensation in any region of your body, this could indicate a stroke.

    Have a history of cancer, HIV/AIDS, or both, and experience new nausea and vomiting;

    Have a persistent headache even though they haven't had one in the past, especially if they are older than 50. 

    In Summary

    Spinal headaches are different from other types of headaches. Headaches can occur in anyone for various reasons. 

    Notify your physician if you get a significant headache following an epidural or spinal tap. An epidural blood patch may be necessary to treat spinal headaches, even though most of them go away on their own.

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