SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Spinal headache symptoms include:
- Dull, throbbing pain that varies in intensity from mild to incapacitating
- Pain that typically gets worse when you sit up or stand and decreases or goes away when you lie down
Spinal headaches are often accompanied by:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Light sensitivity (photophobia)
- Neck stiffness
When to see a doctor
Tell your doctor if you develop a headache after a spinal tap or spinal anesthesia — especially if the headache gets worse when you sit up or stand.
- Postdural (post-lumbar) puncture headache. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/03_teil2/07.02.01_nonvascular.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Primary headache disorders, including migraine. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Post-lumbar puncture and other low-pressure headaches. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec16/ch216/ch216e.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Guideline summary NGC-4514. National Guideline Clearinghouse. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=8102. Accessed Feb. 7, 2012.
- Boonmak P, et al. Epidural blood patching for preventing and treating post-dural puncture headache (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2010;1:1.
- Basurto Ona X, et al. Drug therapy for treating post-dural puncture headache (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. 2011;8:1.
- Lavi R, et al. Lumbar puncture: It is time to change the needle. European Neurology. 2010;64:108.