Lumbar Puncture Or Spinal Tap: An Important Treatment Option


The spinal fluid, which surrounds and protects your nervous system, is generally at a specific pressure. If this pressure goes up or down too suddenly, it may cause a headache. In this case, a test known as the lumbar puncture or a spinal tap is required. Done under local anesthesia, the procedure requires the doctor to remove a bit of the spinal fluid from the spinal column using a long, thin needle.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes but the patient must lie flat for several hours afterwards to prevent a headache. This is because if the person gets up too soon, the spinal fluid would not have had enough time to regain the adequate pressure.

Also, if the spinal fluid continues to leak after a lumbar puncture it may result in a headache.

A myelogram, used to detect a tumor in the spinal cord also utilizes a lumbar puncture.