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Aleksandra Frye
Aleksandra Frye,
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 223
Experience:  Physician at Workwell Medical Group
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Im a 31yo female. Last Thursday 4 days ago I had a c-section

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Hello,Im a 31yo female. Last Thursday 4 days ago I had a c-section surgery to deliver my baby. I had a spinal anesthesia and they also tried to put in an epidural catheter but they couldn't and just kept poking at me and eventually gave up. Told me I had a 'difficult spine' since I have a bit of scoliosis.2 days after the surgery I started getting headaches when sitting up (less so when standing) which progressively got worse and today these headaches are very intense - i cant really stand or sit for long time because the pain becomes too intense. Also what worries me is that when I put my chin to my chest or when i move my head left or right the pain becomes more intense. When i put my chin to my chest i also feel pain in my thoracic spine area.I can only lie down basically and i have a newborn i need to care for.Is it normal to have more intense pain when putting my chin to my chest with postdural punction headache? Or when I move my head left and right? Im worried about this symptom, but i dont have any fever. Can it be meningitis?How long does this pain last? How can I make it better? The anesthesiologist told me not to worry that it will pass but she didnt know about the chin to chest symptom because I didnt have it until today.I feel very sad and distressed and dont know what to do and if all this is normal for a post spinal anesthesia headache.Thank you
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Aleksandra Frye replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** I am Board Certified with 17 years of experience, and I will do my best to help you today. To make sure I don’t miss anything, please give me a minute to review your question. :)

Expert:  Aleksandra Frye replied 10 months ago.

Sorry to hear your problems, and hope you feel better soon. Yes neck stiffness can be a part of spinal headaches, but most of these headaches go away within 24 hours. If yours is this severe this far out you may need treatment. Here is a little more information:

Spinal headaches occur in up to 40 percent of those who undergo a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) or spinal anesthesia. Both procedures require a puncture of the tough membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and, in the lower spine, the lumbar and sacral nerve roots.

During a spinal tap, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is withdrawn from your spinal canal. During spinal anesthesia, medication is injected into your spinal canal to numb the nerves in the lower half of your body. If spinal fluid leaks through the tiny puncture site, you may develop a spinal headache.

Most spinal headaches — also known as post-lumbar puncture headaches — resolve on their own with no treatment. However, severe spinal headaches lasting 24 hours or more may need treatment.

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:

  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Nausea
  • Neck stiffness

The fact that your headache gets worse when you sit or stand is also an indication for treatment, not to mention that you have been suffering with this for so long and you have your little baby to take care of.

Treatment for spinal headaches begins conservatively. Your doctor may recommend bed rest, fluids, caffeine and oral pain relievers. If your headache hasn't improved within 24 hours, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments:

  • Epidural blood patch. Injecting a small amount of your blood into the space over the puncture hole will often form a clot to seal the hole, restoring normal pressure in the spinal fluid and relieving your headache. This is the usual treatment for persistent spinal headaches that don't resolve on their own.
  • IV caffeine. Delivered directly into your bloodstream, caffeine helps relieve spinal headaches — usually within a few hours — by constricting blood vessels within your head.

Please let me know if I can further assist you and if you are satisfied with my answer, please give a 5 star rating (we do not get reimbursed without a positive rating). If not, I am happy to answer your question further! Thank you so very much and see you again soon! For future questions you may contact me at this web site:

Expert:  Aleksandra Frye replied 10 months ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Frye from Just Answers and I am wondering if you still needs help with your question? Thank you very much!