I was admitted to hospital on monday 16th for having a continual headache for 10 days at that point, they questioned stroke, meningitis, blood clots, pressure problems etc, they did a ct scan early tuesday morning which came back clear, then about 2:00pm on tuesday they decided to do a lumbar puncture (are you supposed to sign a consent form?) there was a dr there and a student dr, they did it on the ward i was on and had to lay curled up in a ball on the edge of the bed, they gave me some numbing stuff but it didn't numb my back very well (by that i mean it numbed the surface but no deeper) and they inserted the needle, i screamed my god it hurt!! and they got no where, so they took it out gave me more numbing like loads!! and inserted another needle, the dr who was training was doing the needle insertions and the other dr was kind of guiding her, any way again 2nd time no luck she couldn't get the needle in the right place, 3rd attempt no luck, 4th attempt no luck 5th attempt no luck, so they get me to sit up and lean forward with a pillow over my lap! at this point im in excruciating pain from this darn lumbar puncture, and they try again and keep assuring me "your doing really well, "don't worry this wont take long" (wont take long yeah ok?! by this point it had already taken too long) so 6th attempt nope!! 7th try still couldn't get it in properly (seriously?! how many attempts should this procedure take?) 8th try...... nope still didn't get it, then finally the other dr takes over and gets it hooray!!! all be it, it was the 9th attempt that he finally got it in!! all be it upon getting it in my fluid pured out of my back and they had to get me from sitting to laying with the needle still in my back before they took any fluid? shocking i know!! im sure this isn't how the procedure should go....... right? oh and i must add it took well over an hour to do the procedure?!
any way following the procedure they adjusted my bed so i was laying down but they didn't lay it flat, and within and hour a nurse came round telling me she needed to change my bed so i had to get up..... anyway that night i got up to go to the toilet and oh my god! my head it was the worst pain ever, i couldn't sit without being violently sick, this happened every time i got up from tuesday night - friday night, i was told about drinking extra fluids and in fact i wasn't able to because i was being sick so much, on thursday my dad questioned why i wasn't on a drip for fluids as i hadn't been able to drink or keep anything down since tuesday, they were like we can give her some if you like but she should really drink?! even though they had seen i was unable to drink, any way thursday they finally attached a drip for fluids, which did stop me being so dehydrated. on friday they let me go home even though i wasn't really well enough to go home (still being sick and unable to sit or stand) this tuesday the headache finally went enough for me to sit for any length of time which was nice! but my back is causing me excruciating pain, so much so that any movement is really limited and i've been signed off of work this whole week because of my back being so bad!! im still in so much pain and not only where the lumbar puncture was done it radiates further, its debilitating me...... is it normal to be in so much pain following a lumbar puncture? my main concern is has there been any damage caused by the amount of needles they inserted and the amount of times they attempted it? i'm so worried this pain isn't going to go away any time soon and its upsetting me so much!! i've been off work for 2 weeks now and i cannot take any more time off!! im so concerned that this back pain isn't going to diminish!! if someone could please give me any info on typical procedures? (i'm sure mine wasn't a typical procedure?) has anyone else had this kind of problem following a LP? did your back pain go eventually? should you get back pain? thanks to any one who answers this question, any help or info or personal experiences are appreciated, and sorry for such a long winded question but i just wanted to give as much info a possible!!
As you guessed, you had a very unfortunate attempt at a lumbar puncture, and your experience was not at all typical. I would even suggest that it might be worth reporting to the hospital administrator when you are feeling better and won't be going back to that hospital any time soon.
I am enclosing a link about the procedure from the sister site to Health Boards so you can read how it is normally done.
It generally takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes it is done under fluoroscopy (live X-ray) so the doctor can see exactly where he/she is inserting the needle.
Sometimes the first place the needle is placed is like a "dry hole" and it does not result in the collection of fluid, so they have to move it slightly...but what you went through was just plain torture.
I have a "3 tries and you're out" rule. If a medical professional cannot get the needle in with three attempts, I demand a different nurse or doctor. I suppose in an emergency situation, I would not be able to do that, but in a hospital or clinic setting, that's my rule. I developed nerve damage from a nurse repeatedly jabbing me in an attempt to insert an IV line in my wrist when I was going to be induced for labor. For a year after, my wrist would suddenly let go and "flop" without any warning. If I happened to be cooking, it was very dangerous...and I, of course, had a newborn baby to care for. I had to wear a cast and was going to a hand specialist for a couple years. Eventually it went away, but it took years to get back to normal.
If you are still having headaches from the spinal tap, you need to alert the doctor. It is possible that the puncture never healed properly and you are leaking a small amount of cerebral spinal fluid. There is a fairly easy "fix" for this problem, but the doctor cannot do it if he doesn't know you are still having problems.
We spine patients are used to getting steroid injections and nerve blocks into the spinal area. It is fairly common for the back to be sore afterwards...anywhere from a day or two to a week, sometimes even longer. Assuming you do not have a CSF leak, the back pain should subside soon. Sometimes they nick a nerve when they insert the needle. This too can cause soreness, but it should go away as well.
Did you ever find the cause of the original headache?
Thanks for the reply, didn't think it went to well to be honest they said the 10 day headache could have been migraine or tension but did give me iv antibiotics to treat meningitis just incase, I most certainly will be writing a letter as I'm not happy at all with how it went, and don't feel that anyone should have to go through that much! Epically when you feel so rubbish any way, and the fact I've had to have 2 weeks out of work! So I've let work down and I'm very short on pay this month now as a result! And when this could well have been avoided it's just not on! As for do I have a headache still, nothing like I did have just a small one and when I initially stand up I get this really heavy painful feeling in my head and I'm ok as long as I stand still for a few seconds with me eyes closed it goes away! It's getting better for sure! It's just my back that's causing me lots of problems now really!
Be sure to copy that letter to your state's medical licensing board and medical society, too. If it is a teaching hospital, and the doctor who punctured you nine times was "teaching" the student/intern how to do the procedure, someone needs to look into this!
I assume your blood pressure was OK during this bout with the headache?
Did they tell you about the possibility that your spinal fluid could be leaking and you should call your doctor if the headaches continued beyond a day or two?
I think it is highly unlikely that any permanent damage was done to your back. But when nerves are disturbed, it can take a long time for them to settle back down. Do you have pain in your back or does it also run down into your buttocks and/or leg?
It was the student that tried 8 times before the dr who was supervising took over and got it in on the 9th time, and I was kept in hospital from the Tuesday to the Friday with the raging headache and sickness as a result of the lumbar puncture, the dr explained the bad headache and sickness was as a result of the amount of spinal fluid I lost an that it would ease eventually which it did 8 days later! And 1 stone 3 pounds weight loss later where I hadn't been able to eat or drink for so many days :-( just an overall bad experience :-(
Still, I think giving anyone three attempts is more than fair...especially when it is in such a delicate area where it can be dangerous to lose too much spinal fluid. And with 8 attempts, who knows what else he may have struck that may cause you issues. Hopefully things will heal and you'll be fine, but I really think the doctor should have intervened sooner.
You should request a copy of all your hospitalization records, including notes on the "procedures" you had. It is a good idea to get into the habit of doing this at an early age. It is much easier to already have everything in your own home file than to have to gather everything several years after the time of treatment.
Just make a habit of requesting a copy of any MRIs or CT scans you have, any procedures, surgeries, injections, etc. and keep a permanent file. Hopefully you'll never need them, but things come up where you will appreciate having them.
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: xxxpeplyxxx (01-27-2012)
I just had a lumbar test 3 days ago for a severe headache & it didn't go well. They were checking for a brain bleed, which was negative. About 11 or 12 punctures & the sample was contaminated with blood. It was very painful but he said I was an unusual case & it's normally easier to get a sample. It was done by the head of ER & he said it was difficult to get between my bones, usually happens with heavier patients. do My headaches are gone, but I just developed severe pain in my tailbone area. Am hoping it will go away soon. Anyone experience this??? I am otherwise very healthy and very much regret going to hospital for my headache!