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Old 02-13-2007, 11:11 AM   #1
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newbrunswick HB User
spinal tap

Ok, I have a spinal tap (I assume lumbar puncture) scheduled for March 8/07 - what can I expect. Everyone keeps saying "it hurts like h*ll" - I had an epidural for my caesaeran - is it the same? That didn't hurt (at least that I can remember).

He indicated my appointment is for 8:00 am and I will stay there for 30 minutes after - said I would need someone to drive me home and would not be able to work for the rest of the day. Does this make sense?

So, once this is done, this means I will have a diagnosis? One way or another - yes or no?????

Thanks!

Clare

 
Old 02-13-2007, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: spinal tap

Hi Clare,
Unfortunately, a spinal tap does not guarantee a diagnosis. Everyone experiences it differently. When I had mine it really didn't hurt. I was really tired after, but that was about it. I have heard many people have a horrible headache after and are very sore. However, it goes away after time
Why are they waiting so long to get you in?
Good luck!

 
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:23 AM   #3
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newbrunswick HB User
Re: spinal tap

Waiting so long????? Umm, here in Canada we do things slowly. Actually, I was surprised I didn't have to wait 3 months. My first app't with a neuro was 4 months, the second appointment for an "emergency" appointment was 4 weeks.

Our health care sucks here - we don't pay for it - its universal paid Medicare - so unless I want to go to the States and pay tru the nose, I have to wait.

Thanks for the input.

 
Old 02-14-2007, 05:59 AM   #4
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Re: spinal tap

Well, your experience will depend on how they do the tap. If they use lidocaine then, from what I hear, it won't hurt much at all. Plus, many doctors use some type of xray to guide the needle. I can't say my experience was pleasant, but I didn't have the benefit of lidocaine either. The procedure itself only lasted a couple of minutes for me and he made me lie flat on my back for 30 minutes afteward. There's a very good chance you'll get the spinal headache afterward, I did. It was probably the worst headache I've ever experienced and didn't go away until I went back in for the blood patch which is essentially the same procedure as the tap only they are putting blood in instead of taking spinal fluid out. If you do get the headache go back in immediately. The patch is an instant fix to the headache.

The result of the LP might not give you a definitive diagnosis, but if the results are positive, then your doctor will that much closer to knowing what is going on and it just might be that one final positive result needed to confirm MS. That was the case for me.

Good luck!

 
Old 02-14-2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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Re: spinal tap

Thanks - hopefully it will go better then yours.

It sounds dreadful what happened for you - no anestesia??? Holy comoly...remind me to never get sick in the Neterhlands.....

Again thanks!

Clare

 
Old 02-20-2007, 07:19 AM   #6
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Thes HB User
Re: spinal tap

I had a spinal tap 5 days ago. I felt a little pain in my left leg during the procedure. I stay in bed for 24 hours, with no pain of course. The 3rd and 4th day I had a slight headache, which was gone when I layed down. Today I am fine.

I was very scared at first, but it is really nothing to worry about.

 
Old 03-04-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: spinal tap

Ok good news that I was terrified too but the procedure itself wasn' that bad. Worse complaint I had was the headache. Neorologist told me to take a day on the couch and alternate coffee and Gatorade. Did it and the next day was fine. Good luck!

 
Old 03-04-2007, 03:12 PM   #8
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Re: spinal tap

I was scared out of my mind, shaking, nervous. I was hurt a bit by the numbing needles, but then the main one had no feeling whatsoever. I did have to be driven there and back and I was told to stay in bed the rest of the day. I did not get a headache of any kind. (Oh, and yes, it was determined I had MS from the tap.)

 
Old 03-05-2007, 06:26 AM   #9
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Re: spinal tap

The only thing I had to complain about was the "headache I might get" turned out to be the one of the longest and worst I have had. But could have been my fault since I went out and played golf the very next day on a HOT summers day. Headache went away after following doctors advice to take a day on the couch drinking as much coffee and Gatorade as I could. Up and about with no return of headache the next day.....good luck- the procedure really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I think the waiting and dreading was the worst part!

 
Old 03-05-2007, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: spinal tap

I'm Canadian too - luckily I got my spinal tap / lumbar puncture (plus MRI and evoked potentials) in 1 day (was sent to the ER at a teaching hospital that had all the equipment). Had to spend a gruesome night in an ER bed ... but at least it was quick getting all the tests. Y'a ... our health care leaves a bit to be desired! But I guess it's free, so could be worse, eh!

I think I was lucky because my spinal tap was pretty painless. Felt like a sharp pinch and then it was over. They used loads of freezing stuff first, so that must of helped. I was also at that point checked into a regular hospital bed and didn't have to get up afterwards. They did the LP right in the room on my bed and I just stayed there when it was done - so I think that saved me from the headache. The neurologist in the hospital said that when they take the spinal fluid (which also surrounds your brain) it makes your brain sag (literally) and that's what causes the headache. So my advice would be to lie down and stay down as quickly as possible afterwards - that's what they told me to do and it really worked. Maybe that'll help you avoid the headache too.

Good luck!

 
Old 03-06-2007, 04:42 PM   #11
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Re: spinal tap

I have not really read this entire thread but wanted to contribute my $.02. If you have severe headaches after the procedure, you likely have a spinal fluid leak. Sometimes these heal on their own but sometimes you need another procedure called a "blood patch" to seal it up and get it to stop leaking. Speaking from personal experience, I had spinal headaches that necessitated a week-long hospital stay on my back for about a week after a botched epidural and decided NOT to let them go back in for a blood patch. But, to this day I still have spinal headaches and had to be put on Topamax. With the Topamax, I don't have any headaches beyond the normal every once in a while things.

I do not have MS, my husband does and has not had a spinal. But, since I've had 2 kids and had 1 good epi and 1 bad I thought I'd chime in. With the good epi, I had no problems other than the occasional *twinge* in my lower back for a few weeks after, but that could have been in my head because the idea of the needle in the spine really freaked me out.

 
Old 03-07-2007, 02:04 AM   #12
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Question Re: spinal tap

I had a one last Tuesday. I was fine Wednesday until the evening and then it started. I drank lots of caffiene as I was instructed and took it easy the first day.
The headache was not pleasant but what I had was horrible and I mean HORRIBLE pressure in my shoulders and neck up into my brain.
Thursday I went in for the blood patch.
Friday I went back in for another blood patch.
The 2nd one did the trick.
Other than awful back pain from so many needles and bruising from all the IV'S, I'm back to normal.

I'm not a spinal tap fan, by any means. They'll have to find another way to get it cuz it ain't comin out my spine, lol.

How long once they have the fluid, does it take for the results to come in? It's been over a week. The neuro office says one is back but not the ones they are looking for, specifically.

Results thus far:
Abnormal Auditory EEG
Abnormal MRI
Abnormal VEP
Awaiting LP results for diagnosis

 
Old 03-07-2007, 02:18 AM   #13
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Re: spinal tap

why are you getting a LP? very old fashioned diagnostic test that in no way guarantees diagnosis. it is NEVER performed for diagnosis out here - MRI is used exclusively. an invasive and horrible test with genuine potential risks.

 
Old 03-07-2007, 03:59 AM   #14
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Re: spinal tap

Quote:
Originally Posted by henrypig View Post
why are you getting a LP? very old fashioned diagnostic test that in no way guarantees diagnosis. it is NEVER performed for diagnosis out here - MRI is used exclusively. an invasive and horrible test with genuine potential risks.
Um, I don't know. My neuro says he's pretty certain it's MS but wanted the lp because it would protect me and protect him. Insurance, perhaps? I don't know but I won't ever have another one, I can tell you that!
My MRI says there were numerous foci. My VEP says Demyelination so how much proof do they need??????????? I'm at everyones mercy til I can do a crash course on MS. I have no clue what to do/where to go.

 
Old 03-11-2007, 06:01 PM   #15
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Re: spinal tap

I was told my my Neuro that the LP and the blood test they do at the same time is the only way to 100 perent know for sure that you have the MS indicator. Maybe its an antibody or something, I don't know. In any case, I did it after pressure from my husband and Neuro; they wanted me on MS drugs (I take Avonex) ASAP. The LP and blood test I took showed I do indeed have MS. (I was diagnosed about 6 months ago.)

 
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