Feeds

What is a post-lumbar puncture headache?

Spinal tap blues

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Also in this week's column:

What is a post-lumbar puncture headache?

Asked by Liz Downes of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

There are all sorts of unusual forms of headaches that most people have never heard about. The post-lumbar puncture headache is one of them. This form of headache occurs after one has a spinal tap (lumbar puncture).

According to the Mayo Clinic, headaches of this kind are often accompanied by stiffness in the neck, ringing in the ears, light sensitivity, nausea, and hearing impairment. The headache generally develops within a week after the spinal tap and typically resolves within a week. Such a headache can be debilitating.

A post-lumbar headache may start when one stands up and stop when one lies down. There is some debate as to what percent of patients who have a spinal tap also develop a post-lumbar puncture headache.

An article by Heidi Moore in Pulmonary Reviews in December 2000 estimated that the figure was "[N]early a third or more". But a more recent review by Dr R Gaiser of the University of Pennsylvania and published in Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology in June 2006 suggests the figure is "approximately 50 per cent".

Males are less likely to suffer post-lumbar puncture headaches than females. This is according to a team of doctors from Johns Hopkins University, led by Dr C L Wu, and published in Anaesthesiology in September 2006.

The lumbar region is the lower back. Anatomically, it is located at the back between and the thoracic vertebrae and the sacrum. The lumbar region is sometimes referred to somewhat inaccurately as the loins. "Lumbar" is from the Latin lumbus and means "loins".

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.