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Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Marque D

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Posted January 11 2007 - 04:56 PM

Ok, who's had it and how was it? My back is really weird. I can sleep on my side without a pillow up against it and I can't stand up for long without putting my hand up against my back. It's weird, I start to get a light sensation that unless I put pressure against it, my brain thinks that its going to really hurt.

I'm having this done because I've had trouble walking and I have a limp. I really can't run anymore because I can't keep a stride without tripping over myself every 2 or three steps. I drag my right leg is kinda what happens. I still run on the elliptical, but after a certain point I really just use my left leg to keep the cycle going and with the machine I step through where my right leg isn't working right. And once I get off the elliptical I have trouble walking and my right leg is locked up but it's hard to explain.

The orthopedist and neurologist both said I have strong signs of hyperreflexia. And the MRI on my back was fine, however the MRI on my brain had the bright spots where the myelin has been damaged. I don't know yet if they will end up officially saying I have Multiple sclerosis or not but I guess this spinal tap and the triple evoked potential test will see where we go from here.

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Magnus_M


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Posted January 12 2007 - 12:16 AM

I suppose it might depend on pain sensitivity but I'd say it's not that painful, it's more of an odd feeling of pressure in the lower back while the procedure is being done. I've had at least 4 spinal taps over the years and none of these have been painful (other than the discomfort described above).

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Eric Samonte

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Posted January 12 2007 - 05:11 AM

It may actually depend on the doc that's doing it. Usually first time recepients are quite easy. Magnus who's had it done quite a number of times will have some fibrosis and will be a challenge. Don't worry about it. U'll be numbed up prior to them sticking that needle in. Afterwards, u'll be advised not to sit up or stand up. Do so and u'll have one heck a headache. Good luck to u!

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Marque D

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Posted January 12 2007 - 09:08 AM

thanks guys, I guess maybe Im trying to hype myself up into thinking it will be really bad so that when it happens I'll be fine.

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted January 13 2007 - 06:19 AM

A few years ago it was thought my dad had contracted meningitis and his doctor ordered an immediate spinal tap. All he got was a local anesthetic and a 300lb orderly laying across him to hold him still. As it turned out he didn't have meningitis. But don't fret; I'm sure your doctor/hospital is MUCH better than the one local to our area. (Kind of a Band-Aid station.)

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Bill Cowmeadow

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Posted January 13 2007 - 06:24 AM

Had three of these procedures, no probles with any of them. Just felt like someone digging their nuckle into my lower back. An old friend of mine had an involuntary leg jerk when they poked him and he sent the attending nurse who was holding his legs curled up during the poke flying across the room. but that was not exactly a normal occurance.

#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Phil_L


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Posted January 13 2007 - 12:27 PM

I had one when I was 5 years old b/c i contracted menangitis. I still vividly remember it. I was terrified and it was quite painful. I had two orderlies holding me down to ensure I didn't move. Terrible experience, but I survived! I am sure it was much more traumatic for a 5 year old than for an adult, though. I'm sure you'll be fine.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Chris Souders

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Posted January 13 2007 - 04:52 PM

Actually, the standard practive is only a local anesthetic (and actually in babies, it's a relatively new phenomenon to give local anesthetic). It can be a difficult test to perform, especially on fat people or those who have had it before (as noted before). It's a small space and a long needle that have to meet up. Chris

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   DonnyD



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Posted January 14 2007 - 01:34 AM

Just had a LP this past summer and although I too was apprehensive, but it turned out to be as close to painless as anything can be. Just follow the instructions on lying flat for a few hours and all will be fine. I had been on blood thinners for several months which caused a cord leak which required a blood patch, which is another LP to patch the hole and it too was a breeze..... So don't sweat it.
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#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Brian D H

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Posted January 15 2007 - 07:28 AM

As everyone has said, the tap itself is no big deal. The big problem is the potential of a spinal headache. While it usually doesn't happen, if it does you will be completely incapacitated by pain for a few days unless you can get a blood patch. A spinal headache is caused when you leak too much spinal fluid from the needle hole. Spinal fluid doesn't clot, so there is always the potential of this happening. A "blood patch" is simply when they inject some of your own blood into the same hole. Since blood does clot it fills up the spinal column and seals the hole at the same time. My wife was unlucky enough to get a spinal headache during a spinal tap and she was out of commission for 3 days. Them she got another one from her epidural when she had our second daughter. Getting a spinal headache from an epidural is very rare, only about 1% chance, but they must have punctured a little too deep and she lost some spinal fluid. The blood patch was painless and an instant fix - as soon as the blood went into the spinal column her pain was gone; but the pain was so bad before that that we were in the hospital for an extra day.
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