Spinal Tap Procedure


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

Comment from: Unknown , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I got a spinal tap done. Afterwards I was fine, but after getting home and taking a nap I woke up with pain in my neck, back and hips. The pain got worse if I was to either stand or sit up. I was admitted to the hospital for 4 days. They said my muscles reacted to the spinal tap by tightening up. Here it’s a month later and I still get pain in my neck where I can’t move it. I haven’t been able to keep food down.

Comment from: Prici88, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 10

I had my spinal tap on Wednesday and I have severe back pain. My muscles are spasming and I cannot get into a comfortable position.

Comment from: MS in MN, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

Two weeks ago my spinal tap procedure went very well and I experienced no pain or discomfort during the process. I went to a world famous clinic to get a second opinion on my multiple sclerosis diagnosis, which they confirmed. I started getting headaches two days after the lumbar puncture, when upright for more than 10 minutes. It was very severe and lasted more than 7 days. The clinic recommended rest and let it heal on its own. It's now been two weeks and my back still aches after 5 hours of being upright. Hoping it'll go away eventually.

Comment from: Katty129717, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I had a spinal tap done recently. I have not felt sicker from something since I was bedridden as a child. It was almost a week ago. The first 4 days I slept 18 plus hours. Then I went to the hospital and got a blood patch because they found my fluid to be leaking. Since the tap I have gotten a lot of headaches and severe fatigue along with some strange symptoms that would usually improve when I lie down. Now, after the patch, I am getting new migraines that don’t go away easy. I am still very tired and can’t do much.

Comment from: Belinda, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 27

I had a spinal tap done while suffering with a migraine. For the doctor that first tried, it was her first time doing so. So after 4 goes and me being in so much pain another doctor tried and got it. A week later I was in hospital in severe pain, unable to lift my leg, with groin pain. When I saw other doctors and explained what happened, I was sent home. I have been on crutches, over a year has passed and I'm still in pain.

Comment from: Stephen, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

I had a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) when I was 3 years old, due to suspected meningitis. For as long as I can remember I have had back pain in the lumbar region, and I am now 19 years old. I have seen consultants over the years and they have told me that I have spinal stenosis. I have challenged them and asked whether they could be wrong and if the lumbar puncture has caused this, I recall from my mother that the lumbar puncture was quite an ordeal. They denied that this could be related.

Comment from: Caitlin dove, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I had the lumbar puncture on Monday. It's been 3 days since my spinal tap, I cannot sit up straight without being sick, have a throbbing headache, and going dizzy. Wonder if anyone else has experienced this, and if so how they handled it.

Comment from: Lupita, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I had a spinal tap when I was 8 or 9 years old. Now I’m 50 years old. I have so many problems in my back. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I can barely walk. The other day I tried getting out of bed, my back gave out on me and I fell off my bed. I wasn’t able to get up myself. My husband had to help me get up. When it gets bad it lasts 4 days straight. Have to take pain killers and lots of ice roller on.

Comment from: janitrish, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 25

My spinal tap was a little uncomfortable but not at all painful. if you need one don't be frightened, just do you best to relax and let the medical staff get on with it. Honestly, I was scared but it didn't hurt.

Comment from: Stephen , 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 03

I’ve just had a spinal tap, it didn’t hurt at all and the operation was over and done with, in 30 minutes. The next day I felt Ill and have the most horrible sensation down my right side; my hair hurts on my head and beard, and my arm is sore to touch (feels like a burning pain). Just wondering if anyone else has suffered this.


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Comment from: Redkat, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I had a spinal tap at age 18 to confirm that I had meningitis. I was already experiencing massive migraines but I could not stand straight for about a week after. Going on walks around the hospital when I was deemed not infectious had me hobbling around hunched over. I am 31 now and sometimes my back goes out and I am stuck in this same hunched position. I believe that my back issues are related to the spinal tap. Muscle relaxers help but it takes days for me to resume normal activities.

Comment from: Aggie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

I've been experiencing a lot of back cracking since my spinal tap. Wonder if anyone else has any experience with this. Hope it goes away.

Comment from: Patientmp, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

I had a spinal tap in March to confirm a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. I had to get it done by X-ray because the fluid was hard to get. During the procedure I got a really bad pain down my left leg. Ever since, I am having severe pain in my right leg. Not sure if it’s related.

Comment from: Taz2k, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 23

I had a pain pump installed via a spinal tap, 6 weeks ago and I still have the cranial pressure and spinal headache. It’s not as bad as the inset, but will not go away. I even had facet blocks to try to manage the pain, to no avail. I would not have had the surgery if I knew this would happen.

Comment from: Juanita, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

I had a spinal tap in 2015 and it took three days for them to finally stop the leak. I still have severe head and lower back pain along with nausea and head pain. It feels like something is squeezing my brain. I need to get to work.

Comment from: Solo, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 16

I had a spinal tap. The doctors tried 3 times and got it the third time. After that day, I have constant headache and back pain. I can't stand up for a minute because my head feels like it will explode. When I take pain killer, it feels better, but this is day 5 and nothing seems to change much. I wish something can be done to fix this problem.

Comment from: Breffni, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I had a lumbar puncture done Friday and today, 3 days after the spinal tap I have a very bad stiff neck. It eases when lying down but I can’t sit up for long. Wonder if anyone experienced this, and knows for how long this lasts.

Comment from: Gallagher, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 02

I had 15 sites of injection. Apart from the last spinal tap I had excruciating electric shock pain when my limbs shot towards the ceiling. I was told to lie on back for 1 hour. The doctor then instructed I get up and walk, go home and rest. I have never been so ill and was in the hospital 3 times afterwards, before a wonderful surgeon recommended a drip and 3 or 4 days in the hospital.

Comment from: 19942jam, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I have had a spinal tap a few days ago, to help confirm a diagnosis. I have experienced the headache but what is worse is the back pain! I’m struggling to sit up and walk. Just extreme lower back pain. I don't understand why.

Comment from: Lins, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

I’ve had a lumbar puncture done unsuccessfully in both the sitting and fetal position. I have scoliosis in my lower back and the doctor inserted the needle 9 times for my spinal tap. She kept hitting a bone in my lower back, from where the pain would radiate to my hips. I could feel her hitting a bone several times and could feel her moving the needle around in my spine. It was very painful. The 10th time she managed to be successful. Since then I have had daily headaches and a stiff and heavy feeling in my lower back, hips and legs.

Comment from: Anissa , 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 05

I had a spinal tap at the age of 19 due to intercranial hypertension. The procedure was done quickly but healing was awful. I had a blood patch done since I was not healing and after that I was okay, but still, to this day (5 months later), I can sometimes still feel a sensation like when the needle was put in, and I still get the headaches and neck pain from after the spinal tap.

Comment from: looloo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I was recommended to go to the hospital by my neurologist for back pain and twitching. He wanted me to have a LP lumbar puncture). The doctor on shift tried to the spinal tap multiple times unsuccessfully. The head emergency room (ER) doctor tried again unsuccessfully. I must have at least 10 poke marks on my back. First I was made to lean over, then lie on my back. They never got any fluid. My back was bruised and sore. Two days later an anesthesiologist tried and was successful on the first try. Worst experience in the ER ever! Worried if that can cause damage.

Comment from: suffering still!, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 09

Yes, I received a spinal tap on September 16, 2019. The doctor inserted the needle three times to get fluid. I couldn’t walk normal for a week after and still suffering from it with balance and pain issues. I already had back issues anyway! Seems this 'simple procedure' exacerbated my problem more. Never again tapping my back!

Comment from: Nicole, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I had to go to the emergency room because I had an extreme high fever. After half an hour, they sent me off to do a spinal tap. They were unable to get enough cerebrospinal fluid to test for anything, so they had to schedule a second tap the next day with imaging. I was lying down on a moveable table for that. The doctor again was barely able to get what was needed. It was uncomfortable, but not because of what they did. I was forced to lie down for 6 hours after to prevent a headache later. Doctors were great, tap unpleasant.

Comment from: Faust, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I received a spinal tap to diagnose unknown pressure in the eye. It was done guided with the machine. The first tap produced no fluid. Between the first and second tap I dry retched. After the procedure I was lying down for six hours. No headaches at all. My lower back hurt bad the next two days. A month later it's still pretty sore but the diagnosis was worth it.

Comment from: BriannaSmiles, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 31

I received a spinal tap for my daughter almost 7 years ago, I had a C-section, and everything went perfect, the injection and everything. I had no headaches, nothing. Now, almost 7 years later, my lower back randomly hurts, and when I say hurts, I mean badly. Shooting pain in my lower back, sometimes to the point where I can’t even stand up straight. I’m 25, and this is just terrible.

Comment from: Sara cortez, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 26

I got a spinal tap on 1990, the worst pain ever and I still feel like they did it yesterday. And ever since I have headaches and back pain and the area where they put the needle in still hurts. It's even bruised and I have arthritis in my whole body. There are times I can’t get up, can’t be sitting, walking or moving for a long time, and if I move fast the next day I can’t move. My bones are very painful, I am 48 years old and I feel like 80 years old.

Comment from: TC, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I’m a 19 year old female with swollen optic nerves. They did a lumbar puncture and everything went perfect; it went a lot faster than I thought it would. The only part that hurt was the numbing, and I sort of felt the spinal tap go in, but it wasn’t bad at all. But now, 20 hours after my procedure I’m having severe back pain in the area where they did it. No headaches, but I can barely walk due to the pain.

Comment from: Patient, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I had a spinal tap done 10 days ago. I now I can't sit up or walk for more than 15 minutes without being in horrible pain that remains for hours. The surgeon stuck me a few times unsuccessfully, then called in another surgeon to complete the procedure, who also stuck me a couple times. That procedure hurt the entire time it was being performed.

Comment from: KSE, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I received a spinal tap yesterday at the hospital and it was painful from start to finish. I am traumatized from the experience. I am still hurting.

Comment from: Beauty25, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I had a spinal tap done almost two weeks ago and my lower back still hurts. It hurts to stand too long, sit too long, or to bend over to pick up something. I am on my feet all day cutting people’s hair. The only reason why I got one done is to see why I get a headache that makes me sick, after a car accident. Wonder for how long I have to drive to work with a pillow just so it doesn’t hurt. Oh, and they still don’t know what is wrong and why I get these bad headaches.

Comment from: Girl, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I had a spinal tap a couple months ago. My head started feeling like it was going to explode literally and my neck was hurting as well. I stayed in the hospital a week. Doctor said I was leaking from the tap, and had to call an anesthesiologist to patch it with my blood, so had to go back in my back, and I've been having pains ever since in my lower back and legs.

Comment from: unknown, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I have had 3 spinal taps so far. My first was needed due to a case of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). My second, although I had symptoms of IIH, it was not needed as the pressure was really low and so went even lower after, leaving me with migraines and weakness or numbness all over for many months. This is also because they missed the mark many times. My third one was needed due to weight gain and water gain from IIH, and I had no problems as it was done by a specialist, but I still have the problems from my 2nd one.

Comment from: Big Feerty, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 24

I had a spinal tap a few weeks ago and it was agony. They couldn't give any more local (4 injections) as I had reached the limit and the test was abandoned by them. Problem was that as the long needle went in each time it caused intolerable pain in my back. They asked me if I had had any problems with locals before, which I hadn't. I've now got to go back today for another one and I am not looking forward to it.

Comment from: Luke, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I am 29 and got a spinal tap due to a headache which I had for 2 weeks and wouldn't go away. The medical assistant that I had, wiped down my back 3 times and then stuck the needle in (no pain killers). Straight away I felt a really strong pain down my left leg and a ton of pain where the needle was. I was discharged 2 hours later. The next morning I couldn't move, everything stiff, everything sore. Three weeks later I have constant pain in my lower back and can’t work without it hurting.

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: 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: Babs, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I had a spinal tap two days ago, and my neck is so stiff and painful I cannot tilt my head down. Wondering if I should be concerned.

Comment from: Jodi, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 04

My son had a spinal tap done 5 days ago. I wonder if a stiff neck and pain are a side effect.

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: 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: 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.

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