The team here at Frisco Spine is well-equipped to address different kinds of spinal cord issues. This may involve back pain treatments that use surgical or non-surgical approaches or various ways of treating pain associated with spinal cord issues.
We’ve received a number of questions lately about spinal headaches and what those entail. Let’s take a moment right now to consider this matter.
What is a spinal headache?
A spinal headache occurs in people who have undergone a spinal tap or who have received spinal anesthesia. When a spinal tap is administered or spinal anesthesia is given, it’s necessary to puncture the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and the nerve roots of the lower spine. If any spinal fluid leaks into these portions of the spinal membrane that have been punctured, the pressure that the spinal fluid exerts on the brain is reduced. The result is a spinal headache.
How is this different than a regular headache?
Regular headaches originate in the cranial area and are not caused by an issue with the spine. The distinction has everything to do with the root cause of the headache itself.
It’s estimated that roughly 40 percent or patients who are given a spinal tap or receive spinal anesthesia will experience a spinal headache as a natural side effect of the process. Some studies put the number much higher, though. Women, people between the ages of 18 and 30, and people with a low body mass are more at risk for suffering from a spinal headache than others.
Symptoms of Spinal Headaches
Some of the common symptoms of spinal headaches include:
- Throbbing cranial pain of varying degrees
- Pain that’s more intense when sitting up or standing and less intense when lying down
- Stiffness in the neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Ringing in the ears
These symptoms will typically arise around 48 hours after the spinal tap or spinal anesthetic is administered. The spinal headaches may persist for several weeks, though the majority of cases will be resolved after six weeks.
Treatment Options for Spinal Headaches
Treatment options for spinal headaches are generally methods of preventing severe pain and while trying to replenish spinal fluid and restore proper pressure to the spine. The most common early treatments for spinal headaches are conservative in nature and tend to involve bed rest to reduce pain, proper hydration, drinking caffeinated beverages, and the use of basic pain relievers. Proper hydration promotes more cerebral spinal fluid pressure, while caffeinated beverages have been shown to help relieve pain.
If these conservative treatments prove ineffective, it’s not uncommon for patients use caffeine delivered intravenously or an epidural blood patch. An epidural blood patch will involve the creation of a blood clot using a person’s own blood to seal the puncture hole along the spine. This helps increase spinal fluid pressure and alleviates pain.
Speak with the Team at Frisco Spine
For more information about neck pain, spinal cord pain, and what can be done for effective treatment, be sure to contact our team of neck and back pain specialists today. The team here at Frisco Spine will be more than happy to help you relieve all issues with pain and improve your general health in the process.