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Headache, Spinal

Headache, Spinal Causes

Spinal headaches are caused by leakage of spinal fluid through a puncture hole in the membrane that envelops the spinal cord. This leakage reduces the pressure exerted by the spinal fluid on the brain and spinal cord, which leads to a headache.

Headache, Spinal Definition

During a spinal tap, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn from the spinal canal. During spinal anesthesia, medication is injected into the spinal canal to numb the nerves in the lower half of the body. If spinal fluid leaks through the tiny puncture site, a spinal headache may develop.

Headache, Spinal Diagnosis

Occasinally, the doctor will recommend a magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) exam to exclude other causes of the headache. During the exam, a magnetic field and radio waves are used to create cross-sectional images of the structures within the brain.

Headache, Spinal Symptoms and Signs

Spinal headaches differ in intensity from mild to incapacitating. The pain usually gets worse when one sits up or stands and decreases or goes away when lying down. Spinal headaches are often accompanied by: dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, and visual changes.

Headache, Spinal Treatment

The doctor may recommend bed rest and oral pain relievers. If the headache hasn't improved within 24 hours, the following treatments may be prescribed: epidural blood patch, intravenous caffeine, and epidural saline.

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