Feeds

What is a post-lumbar puncture headache?

Spinal tap blues

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.