Spinal Tap

Question:

Did you receive a spinal tap? Please describe your experience. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Headexplode, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 19

I am a 25 year old male in a perfect physical condition. I had an awful experience after spinal tap. Doctor inserted needle 6 times and couldn't find liquid. After 6 failed attempts another doctor came into the room and did it in the 1st try without a problem. Day 8 now after the tap and I still can't stand or sit straight up for more than 30 minutes. I have a light headaches throughout the day. Tip: if doctor fails to tap in 2 times just decline another try and ask for another doctor. This happened in Slovenia.

Comment from: Anon, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 02

I was about 8 or 9 years old when I received a spinal tap to diagnose if I had bacterial or viral meningitis. What is supposed to be a 10 to 15 minute procedure, took around 3 or 4 hours, multiple student doctors and countless needles. The procedure was unsuccessful and a nurse stepped in to tell my mother that it was okay to tell them to stop. Since the procedure I have experienced back pain and tingling in my legs if I apply slight pressure to the site and I am now 21 years. Moral? You can say stop.

Comment from: AngryBob, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 02

I had a spinal tap after a mini stroke. Originally I was going to have it due to migraines, but the MRI revealed the stroke, so I was admitted to the hospital. I metabolize pain medication very quickly so I was worried about the procedure. I'm terrified of needles, and have to watch them go in. So a giant needle in my back is pretty much my biggest nightmare. The team that worked on me was friendly and professional, and made every effort to comfort and ease me. The procedure was very quick, about half an hour. I felt the pinch of the lidocaine, but not much after that. Maybe a little bit of pressure. The doctor humored me and let me know everything he was doing, as he was doing it, including when he stuck me with needles. They used an x-ray to guide the needle in, but I had taken a pregnancy test at admittance, and it was negative. Afterwards, I was on my back for an hour. Then I was slightly raised for an hour. I was able to use the bathroom, and spent another hour mostly reclined. I experience no headache, but I did have some soreness in my lower back. Not sure if it was due to the procedure, or just having had to sit in a hospital bed for so long. Pretty sure it was from the procedure. It didn't last long. I wouldn't say it was a pleasant experience, but it wasn't unpleasant.

Comment from: Happy, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 02

I had a spinal tap today, 29 July 2016; which makes it 2 unsuccessful and 2 successful in five years. I suffer from idiopathic intracranial hypertension and just recently began having symptoms. I went to my local neurologist and was sent to my local hospital for the spinal tap. I was taken to radiology because the methods of leaning forward over food tray and lying in fetal position were both unsuccessful. Upon arriving I was told to lie down on x-ray table and the nurse adjusted my clothing and prepared the location by cleansing and dressing it. I waited about 5 minutes for the doctor who explained what he was about to and to let him know if I start to feel different than I did then. He asked to roll on my right side and slightly raise my left leg and hold this position throughout. He injected lidocaine and advised of the sting associated which I felt about 3 times. Then he proceeded to inject the needle which was like a pinch, then he checked my opening pressure which was high 39. Then he began to fill the tubes which fluid having to adjust the needle once and changed my position by raising the bed with my head in the air. Once all fluid was received he brought me down and lowered my pressure by 16 1/2. Then he removed everything, cleaned the area and added a bandage. The nurses covered me up and had me lie in that same position for 30 minutes. Then I was able to sit up, stand, take a few steps while they watched, and then released me. But I was advised to get up only to eat and use the bathroom, and to lie down as much possible today, and no lifting for 72 hours.

Comment from: cats&dogs, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I took two Valium pills prescribed by my doctor 45 minutes before to lessen anxiety, but they did not do a thing. The testing doctor says ok, the lidocaine will take effect so you will only have to get through the first needle then it will be numb. Wrong, the lidocaine did not work either. I am apparently immune to most pain easing drugs and I really needed them because I am very anxious about medical procedures. The slight pressure as the spinal tap is done is very misleading if you are feeling all the nerve endings screaming. It was a deep ache that made me almost nauseous and every time they moved or relocated the needle it was agony. I told the doctor at one point it felt like he hit my left kidney and he seemed to think it was humorous and just said 'gee, I hope not!' It didn't seem to matter that I was extremely upset with the whole thing. I guess I'm just very unlucky in that neither Valium (my sister says it does not work on her either) or the lidocaine is effective on me. I have had IV Valium for dental procedures before that did work beautifully, so never dreamed the pill form wouldn't do just as well. It was the longest 1/2 hour of my life.

Comment from: Elijah, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 05

My 5 year old great grandson is having an MRI and spinal tap this very minute. I hope nothing is found and all is successful.

Comment from: Adventist mal pract, 45-54 (Patient) Published: April 12

I was taken to hospital and given a spinal tap without any anesthetic and had something (I don't know what) shoved up me. I was screaming and asking them what they were doing to me while at least 10 men held me down. I signed no papers giving my permission for whatever they were doing. They really hurt me. They tortured me. And yes this happened in the US of A. I just walked out of the hospital with the IV still in my arm a few hours ago.

Comment from: TM, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I originally had to get a spinal tap in the emergency room for suspicion of an aneurysm. It was unsuccessful as they weren't able to get any fluid. About 30 minutes later I was sent to radiology where it was successful. For the next 3 days I had extreme pain in my back. On day 3 I started experiencing extreme pain in my neck that radiated upwards into my head. I am experiencing somewhat of a headache but it's the neck pain that's the worse. It feels like a super bad case of whiplash. Nobody told me about this possibility. I'm glad all of my tests were negative but I wish the neck pain would subside so that I can do the simple things like get dressed. Well that's my story and thanks for listening.

Comment from: myname, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

I received the spinal tap early Tuesday morning, and I am still experiencing a headache and back pain. I have started vomiting now and have a stiff neck.

Comment from: nodxyet, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

In 2003 I had a spinal tap. The procedure itself was very easy. Afterwards was a different story. The transporter set me straight up in bed and as a result ended up with leakage of spinal fluid. After 5 days in hospital due to extremely bad headache, a blood patch was performed; with almost immediate relief.

Comment from: Designsensibly, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 27

I am home from the hospital after anterior hip surgery. I had a spinal tap and was wondering if my stiff neck has anything to do with this. I had a headache 24 hours after surgery especially when I sat up or stood up. Lying flat seemed to help this condition.

Comment from: deedeva75, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I just had mine earlier today and the reason for the spinal tap is because I am experiencing vision loss. This is the worst pain I have felt, this was worse than the epidural when I was pregnant. I will follow up with the doctor tomorrow.

Comment from: Smirk, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

At the age of 22 I was experiencing pain in my neck and shoulder. After several exams by my doctor, no reason was found for the pain. I was sent to a spine center where I was given a spinal tap. After the procedure I could not stop vomiting and my head was pounding. I stayed the night in the hospital and was sent home the next day even though my headache was still severe. The headache continued for 7 days. I could not sit upright and had to lie on my back for any relief. There was never any follow up on the procedure and I was never told of the results. I am now 60 with degenerative disc disease.

Comment from: Ruth, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I went to the emergency room for severe headaches after experiencing several days of high blood pressure, 202 plus, and they took a CT scan and diagnosed me with hydrocephalus. Two weeks later along with blood pressure medication I was given another CT scan which showed no change. Today I received a spinal tap, and I'm still not sure what's next, I do know I'm scared.

Comment from: Capt Bad Dog, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 31

I have had to have this done two times so far. The first time they had to do a double tap because they got blood the first time. The first time I was bent over a medical table and although it was quite painful. It was much more painful to have it done in the fetal position as that was the way I had it done the second time. The second time, I cried the whole time and for about 30 minutes afterwards. It was one of the most painful things I have had done.

Patient Comments & Reviews

Medically reviewed by Joseph Carcione, DO; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology

REFERENCE:

Euerle, B.D., Roberts JR, Hedges JR. "Spinal puncture and cerebrospinal fluid examination." In: Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. 2009: 1107-1127.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors