Urgent Care Stories: Spinal Headaches

Urgent Care Stories: Spinal Headaches

Urgent Care Stories: Spinal Headaches

Everyone who’s had a headache–which is to say, pretty much all of us–can attest to the fact that these little medical challenges are bad enough on their own. However, sometimes a headache isn’t just a headache. After spinal procedures, unique and specifically severe headaches can occur, known as spinal headaches. If you’re wondering how–and why–this happens, our urgent care experts have all the details.

What are Spinal Headaches?

Spinal headaches are extreme headaches caused by changes in the pressure of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This can occur during procedures where the fluid is disturbed, like spinal taps, spinal anesthesia, or epidural block used in childbirth. In such procedures, “passages” are created which allow the fluid to leak out, and, when too much fluid is lost, the normal pressure is disturbed, and the result is an unrivaled headache. Now for the good news: because of the way modern spinal needles are designed, spinal headaches are becoming rarer, although they are still likely to happen when the spinal cord’s covering (called the dura matter) is accidentally disturbed.


What do you need to know about spinal headaches? Our urgent care experts have the answers you’re looking for!

  • Symptoms. The main symptom of a spinal headache is unrivaled, almost-indescribable pain. This extreme discomfort is unlike that involved with a regular headache and is especially unmistakable since it usually occurs directly after a spinal procedure. In most cases, the pain is most severe when sitting up, and can recede or improve when lying down.
  • Treatment. Immediate treatment for spinal headaches includes getting plenty of fluids–sometimes with the help of intravenous fluids or highly caffeinated drinks–and even more rest in bed. After about two days of little activity and lots of hydration, most spinal headaches will cease.
  • Extra measures. In some cases, treating a spinal headache requires an anesthesiologist to create a “blood patch.” This is done by removing a bit of the patient’s blood, placing a needle in or next to the site of the original spinal procedure, and injecting the blood to create a block against the leak.

Interested in more information on spinal headaches? Looking for experts in urgent care? Contact us today!

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