What Is A Spinal Headache: Symptoms, Treatment And Causes
What Causes A Spinal Headache?
Spinal headaches are often caused by the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the puncture site in the membrane (dura mater) during epidural or spinal tap. This causes a decrease in fluid pressure around the brain and spinal cord. This drop in pressure can trigger various symptoms characteristic of a spinal headache.
Spinal Headache Symptoms
Common symptoms of spinal headaches include:
- Worsening headache when upright or sitting and improves when lying down.
- Throbbing or pulsating pain, often localized to the back of the head or neck.
- Neck stiffness or pain.
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Where Are Spinal Headaches Located?
Spinal headaches are often located at the back of the head or neck.
How Long Does a Spinal Headache Last?
Spinal headaches can last for several days or even weeks. However, with proper treatment, the majority of individuals experience relief within a few days.
Spinal Headache Relief And Treatment
Here are some common spinal headache relief options:
- Epidural Blood Patch
- Resting in a horizontal position and drinking plenty of fluids
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, like Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Caffeine. Be warned that caffeine may cause migraine symptoms for some of us.
Spinal Headache from Epidural
Spinal headaches can be caused by an epidural procedure. An epidural involves the injection of medication into the space surrounding the spinal cord to provide pain relief. If the needle used during the procedure accidentally punctures the dura mater (the protective membrane surrounding the spinal cord), it can cause a spinal headache.
Spinal Headache Treatment at Home
While medical intervention is often necessary for spinal headaches, home treatment for spinal headaches include:
- Hydration. Hydration is good to prevent dehydration headaches too.
- Applying cold or hot packs
- Resting in a quiet and dark room
Are Spinal Headaches Dangerous?
Spinal headaches are generally not considered dangerous. However, they can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, causing severe pain and discomfort. In rare cases, complications may arise, such as infection or bleeding, which require immediate medical attention. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance.
Diagnosis Of Spinal Headaches
Sometimes the provider will recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose your spinal headache and rule out other causes of your headache. During the exam, a magnetic field and radio waves create cross-sectional images of the brain.