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spinal tap side effect?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I'll start off by saying hi, this is my first post ever. :) I have a long history of various and somewhat random health problems.

Some backstory: I have scoliosis. I was told until up to the age of 12 that I had one leg shorter than the other and that was the cause of my ankle pain, so I wore a shoe insert. At 12, I went to a chiropractor, who told me my hip was out of place or something of that nature. The did an adjustment, and my ankle never hurt again, all was right with the world. However, 12 years of walking crooked isn't good for the spine, but my scoliosis isn't horrible. It causes some minor pain in the neck here and there, mostly dependent on how I sleep. So I use a good pillow and a good mattress and take care when sitting in the car and my office chair and do just fine.

Earlier this year I noticed I knot at the base of my back, above my bum. It kept growing and my lower back would get somewhat ache'y when I sat for periods of time. As it turned out, I had a pilonidal cyst. I thought it would be a cinch...a basic spinal tap, an incision, and some wound packing.

The pilonidal cyst has really turned out to be the least of my problems.

I was bent over the operating room table (loopy as hell) , got an injection of lidocaine in my back, and felt the pinch of the needle for the spinal tap. Then a sharp jolting pain went through my hip and right leg.

Then, the anesthesiologist did this at least 5 more times within minutes. It hurt so bad and I remember moaning. I felt like someone was removing my insides. I had my face buried in the nurses shoulder. I screamed, I cried, and they kept doing it. Through all the needles I've had stuck in me in my life, this was the worst thing I've ever felt. My leg muscles kept drawing up and clenching and I had no control over the right side of my body. THe surgeon came in and asked what was going on. He asked for a new anesthesiologist. The next one came in and had me lay on my side. It took him two tries, but I didn't feel any sharp pains. I was laying on the table on my stomach and asked the original anesthesiologist how many times he tried and he told me "enough" and that my scoliosis made it difficult. Then I passed out. I heard the nurses in the recovery room talking about it ( they thought I was asleep)....so I take it that it's not normal for someone to experience pure hell with a spinal tap.

Anyways, for the next week I was on Percocet for the open wound. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my right hip and leg hurting and aching, similiar to what I felt everytime the needle went in my back for the spinal tap, but not as severe. A few nights I would wake up and try to walk to the restroom, but my right leg would give out and I had this feeling as though my leg was being shoved into my hip with excess force.

I didn't really have any problems for a long while, an ache in my right hip here and there. Then, a month ago, I was in the hospital receiving IV fluids and meds for a completely unrelated illness. I was very sleepy and went to roll over in bed, and I felt the pain shooting through my hip and right leg all over again. I felt paralyzed, I couldn't move. Now, gradually, I can't lay on my right or back without waking up with ache-y pains. Sometimes I'll get up from my office chair and it's as if the right side of my hip doesn't work, and I almost collapse. My right hip is aching as I sit here and write this.

I don't know what to do. I'm 23 and I'm covered in medical bills that I make monthly payments on. My medical bills this year have cleaned out my savings, even with decent insurance. I don't even know where to start, but it keeps getting worse. I don't have the time or money to get 10 opinions. What type of doctor should I see regarding this? Would they even do anything? Could this be damage from the spinal tap?


  • I'm sorry you had such a difficult time. Were you at a teaching hospital and was this a resident who was trying to do the spinal tap? It sounds like he hit a nerve and I know how much that hurts!! I couldn't say whether the continuing pain is related to the spinal tap, but it does make one suspicious.

    If you need to see someone about this, find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon whose practice consists of back and neck patients only. Of course, probably the first thing the specialist will want is a MRI.

    Since you have scoliosis you might want to look for a spine specialist who specifically mentions scoliosis or spinal reconstruction as a special interest. It is possible that this enters into some of your problems.

    The other possibility would be a physiatrist, or Doctor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. This specialty is very good at diagnosing problems. From the NIH website: "Rehabilitation physicians are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. By taking the whole body into account, they are able to accurately pinpoint problems and enhance performance without surgery."

    I wish you luck. I hope the needle just caused a small flare and that when it heals up, the pain will subside. I think your problem is probably rather unique.

  • I had a lumbar puncture approximately 6 years ago. To this day I still have issues with this. It was only after my spinal tap that I first felt the pain you are describing. I spent the first 2 weeks after my tap feeling this and then suddenly it went away. Pain in my lower back that depending on how I'm standing or walking radiates from my lower back down through my right hip and runs all the way down my right leg. Sometimes if I try walking during this time the pain gets so intense that my leg simply gives out and I hit the ground. It is a debilitating thing. It never had happened to me even once b4 I had the lumbar puncture. Now, it comes back and happens again every so often. I am experiencing it right now which is what led me here. The last one was about 2 years ago. They have no pattern to their occurrence.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 10/03/2015 - 9:49 PM
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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