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Spinal Headache after L4-5 microdiscectomy

Musicalmedic81MMusicalmedic81 Posts: 1
edited 05/25/2015 - 8:06 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello all, I was curious as to if anyone else has ever experienced the joy of a spinal headache after having a micro. I am 34 and had a micro done on 5/12/15 for an L4-5 herniation I earned from 12 years of working as a paramedic. My surgeon is very well known and respected, came highly recommended which I saw as a blessing seeing as I was at the mercy of workers comp.

The first week after surgery went really well. I was up and walking slowly on day 2. My sciatica was completely gone and I had already regained some of the function back in my left leg and foot. I increased my walking distance every day as I was instructed to do.

This past Friday was day 10. I was feeling great and had been off all my pain medicine since day 7. I went out for my walk around the neighborhood and took my little girl with me in her stroller to give my wife a break, bless her heart she's done absolutely everything since my surgery.

My neighborhood has some pretty steep hills which has been great for building the strength back up in my leg and hip. I went 2 miles pushing the stroller and really felt good the whole time. I had to work a little on the hills but didn't once feel strained or like I was pushing too hard, at least I thought.

That night about 4 hours after my walk, I began to develop a dull headache over each eye. I rarely ever get headaches but I thought maybe I was a little dehydrated from not drinking enough that day or something. Then I noticed the headache would go away completely when I would lie down, and immediately return when I sit up to stand. So at that point I did what every intelligent medical professional would do and then swear they didn't....consulted with google. That's where I learned about spinal headaches.

Friday night wasn't so bad. I still had plenty of percocet left over since I'd only taken them the first week. I assumed a full night lying on my back would take care of the problem, but I was wrong. Saturday and Sunday (yesterday) will quite possibly go down as the worst I have ever felt in my life. I stayed in bed all day both days. Sunday I couldn't stand or walk at all, I had to crawl to the bathroom and pee from my knees. Luckily being 6'1" and male allowed me to do that. I've never in my life felt anything like it. Skull splitting, blinding headaches immediately upon standing, dizziness and nausea persist even after lying down and take hours to subside.

Of course this would happen on a Friday evening, and none other Friday evening than the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. I had the on call Dr paged and he actually called me back rather quickly on Saturday. Basically told me to stay put through the weekend until my follow up on Tuesday as long as the dope is managing my pain and if not to go to the ER where an anesthesiologist could be paged to come do a blood patch. Um on Memorial Day weekend? Yeah right.

So here I am still laying here, staring at the ceiling and wide awake from all the mtn dew I've been drinking. I had a brief period this afternoon where the headache vanished and I felt normal again, but it returned around 9pm tonight so maybe the leak is trying to stop on it's own. Who knows.

So, anyone else ever experienced a spinal headache after a microdiscectomy? I read about a lot of them after LP and epidurals but don't see many that occur after microdiscectomy. Would be nice to know I'm not the only one!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 05/25/2015 - 8:06 PM
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Mountain Dew is full of caffeine. While caffeine is in most migraine medicine, I think too much could possibly make your situation worse. I hope your doctor has answers for you today. Splitting headaches are the worst!
    Baltimore, MD
    L4/L5 and L5/S1 microlaminotomy and discectomy
    Scheduled for 6/16/15
  • tj6285ttj6285 Posts: 8
    edited 06/01/2015 - 3:24 AM
    I hope your appointment went well and you are feeling better.
    Baltimore, MD
    L4/L5 and L5/S1 microlaminotomy and discectomy
    Scheduled for 6/16/15
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