As I said in my last post, I was one of the lucky 40% that get to experience skull splitting headaches as an aftereffect of my spinal tap. Basically, either the puncture hole in the dura is still leaking, or they just took out so much fluid that the fluid pressure inside the sack is too low. This includes not just the spinal cord but all the way up to your brain as well. When I laid down, I was fine. But when I would sit or stand, within a few minutes I would have the most intense and painful headache that I have ever experienced in my life. The fascinating thing was that when I would lay back down, the headache disappeared almost instantly. If only all headaches could be relieved so quickly and simply.
After the spinal tap, they suggest that you lay around and rest for 24 hours. With the headaches I was told to take another day and drink a lot of strong coffee. It didn’t work. Several days into it, I was still getting horrible headaches anytime that I would sit or stand for more than a few minutes. Doc Fundamental suggested a blood patch.
I was able to get away with working from home, which meant from bed in this case, without anyone knowing about the procedure. It wasn’t worth having to come up with answers as to why I needed a spinal tap. But I wouldn’t be able to work from bed forever, so I certainly hoped that this blood patch, whatever it was, would work.
The blood patch is pretty simple but ingenious at the same time. First, they stick a needle in your arm to drain the blood out. Then, they stick a needle into the cavity in your lower spine where the dura is punctured and pump your blood into it. This puts pressure on it, stopping the leak. Additionally, as the blood coagulates it forms a patch, sealing up the puncture hole in the dura. Eventually the body absorbs back the blood. Hopefully by then, the dura has healed.
It worked immediately! Like a miracle. I took it easy the rest of the day, but that was the last of the headaches.