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Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: May 06, 2018 05:29PM
I'm thinking I might have one concerning this thread:

[forums.macresource.com]

Can you have general anesthesia? I'm not all that squeamish, but the thought of this freaks me out.
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: CW2V
Date: May 06, 2018 05:57PM
Should be OK.

Just be sure that you don't get caught in part of a free-form jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd.

eye twitch smiley

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Good luck!

CW2V
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: May 06, 2018 06:00PM
I'll get this out if the way: Does the pain scale go to 11?
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: May 06, 2018 06:02PM
I don't think you want a general anesthesia for that...
but having had a couple, the thought is worse than the procedure.
Don't sweat it, if you need it, just get it done and be over with it asap. They first give you a shot of local stuff that burns for a few seconds, then you're good to go. All you feel is some weird pressure, and assuming you have a decent practitioner, you should be in good shape. Good luck.
==
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: billb
Date: May 06, 2018 06:09PM
My 4 year old little girl held my hand while she was getting one for spinal meningitis - you'll live.



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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 06, 2018 06:26PM
Naw. Really no sweat. The numbing of the overlying skin can sting a tiny bit, as it can for an instant when the needle first enters the space containing the spinal fluid. They actually do the tap at a level of the spine below where there is actual spinal cord (at that level, it's divided into a bunch of separate nerves, which they wouldn't hit with their needle).

Wife had one, doesn't remember much about it. I had spinal anesthesia (which involves a spinal tap). They'd given me some Versed first (a short-acting "tranquilizer", often used in minor surgical procedures). I remember a teeeny little mosquito bite, and nothing else. (But I was buzzed from the Versed)

There is a risk of a "spinal headache" afterward (in about ~5% of patients, IIRC, after spinal anesthesia, less often after simple spinal tap) which can be a bad headache. But that's well after the procedure. The wife says the idea is much worse than the reality. I would certainly have spinal anesthesia again over general anesthesia.
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: dad@home
Date: May 06, 2018 06:45PM
Quote
pdq
Naw. Really no sweat. The numbing of the overlying skin can sting a tiny bit, as it can for an instant when the needle first enters the space containing the spinal fluid. They actually do the tap at a level of the spine below where there is actual spinal cord (at that level, it's divided into a bunch of separate nerves, which they wouldn't hit with their needle).

Wife had one, doesn't remember much about it. I had spinal anesthesia (which involves a spinal tap). They'd given me some Versed first (a short-acting "tranquilizer", often used in minor surgical procedures). I remember a teeeny little mosquito bite, and nothing else. (But I was buzzed from the Versed)

There is a risk of a "spinal headache" afterward (in about ~5% of patients, IIRC, after spinal anesthesia, less often after simple spinal tap) which can be a bad headache. But that's well after the procedure. The wife says the idea is much worse than the reality. I would certainly have spinal anesthesia again over general anesthesia.

Good advice pdq. My perspective is a little different since being an anesthesiologist/pain specialist nearing retirement I'v performed about 15 thousand "spinal taps" and epidurals (closely related).

The best advice I can add is
1) ask for the most experienced hands (anesthesiologist or senior radiologist). Sorry medical students.
2) ask them to use the smallest possible needle they can and one that has a "pencil tip". These will take the incidence of spinal headache almost to zero
3) if they offer sedation with versed take it. Relaxing the spine muscles will help get the needle to the right place on the first try.

Good luck.

John



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So runs the world away
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: wave rider
Date: May 06, 2018 07:11PM
I had four rounds of "bonus" spinal chemotherapy along with the six round of IV chemo since lymphoma can cross the blood - brain barrier. All the spinal chemo involved interventional radiologists using a fluoroscope to guide the needle. They used local anesthesia for the procedure.

Turns out I have "bus driver's back" with associated thinner disks. First guy went straight in but with some difficulty and my discomfort. As they took a sample, the advise to lay around the rest of the day was a good one since you have to rebuild your spinal fluid level. I did get the headache.

Second one, the different radiologist had trouble going straight in, so he switched to an oblique angle which was better. He did my third one too.

Fourth one involved a third radiologist. I told him about the oblique angle, he studied the notes, and was so skilled that I could barely feel the needle go in. Really like that guy, I try to get him any time I need that kind of work or pathology done. John's advice about about a senior radiologist is spot on.

Overall, it feels creepy but is not too bad. Good luck with this.



=wr=
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: samintx
Date: May 06, 2018 07:56PM
I had spinals for each of my replacement knees. The only way to fly IMO. You wake right up no grogginess. I have had many cortisone shots in my spine. Just had a Neurotomy no problems.
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Date: May 06, 2018 09:02PM
Quote
dad@home
Quote
pdq
Naw. Really no sweat. The numbing of the overlying skin can sting a tiny bit, as it can for an instant when the needle first enters the space containing the spinal fluid. They actually do the tap at a level of the spine below where there is actual spinal cord (at that level, it's divided into a bunch of separate nerves, which they wouldn't hit with their needle).

Wife had one, doesn't remember much about it. I had spinal anesthesia (which involves a spinal tap). They'd given me some Versed first (a short-acting "tranquilizer", often used in minor surgical procedures). I remember a teeeny little mosquito bite, and nothing else. (But I was buzzed from the Versed)

There is a risk of a "spinal headache" afterward (in about ~5% of patients, IIRC, after spinal anesthesia, less often after simple spinal tap) which can be a bad headache. But that's well after the procedure. The wife says the idea is much worse than the reality. I would certainly have spinal anesthesia again over general anesthesia.

Good advice pdq. My perspective is a little different since being an anesthesiologist/pain specialist nearing retirement I'v performed about 15 thousand "spinal taps" and epidurals (closely related).

The best advice I can add is
1) ask for the most experienced hands (anesthesiologist or senior radiologist). Sorry medical students.
2) ask them to use the smallest possible needle they can and one that has a "pencil tip". These will take the incidence of spinal headache almost to zero
3) if they offer sedation with versed take it. Relaxing the spine muscles will help get the needle to the right place on the first try.

Good luck.

John

Hell yeah to the “experienced hands” part. I had a young med student attempt my first one and it was really not fun. She couldn’t get the needle in correctly. Finally had to have it done again, laying in a machine so they could see where they were aiming. A local numbing shot should be fine, just get someone who knows what they’re doing.



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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: May 06, 2018 10:39PM
Quote
Dennis S
I'll get this out if the way: Does the pain scale go to 11?



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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 07, 2018 09:53AM
The modern tap is WAY better than the one when we were kids. I held my brother's hand for the ones he had in the 1960's... he was in agony. And the post tap headaches were horrible.

Now they do a lot better at it.
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Re: Anyone have first-hand knowledge of the pain of a spinal tap?
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: May 07, 2018 07:37PM
RE..the spinal headache..I have had this. I had an epidural for a minor surgical procedure..or, you could just imagine me having a baby..whatever..

Recovery, got home..next day i got up to go to the bathroom and instantly i was overcome by this 'headache'..instantly. And it smashed me..This is not a headache..This was without THE worst pain I have ever experienced in my life..If had to endure it for any real length of time i would have killed myself..zero exaggeration

in 30 seconds i was almost in tears and about to vomit..dove for the couch because i was going down..headache went away very quickly..hmm

got up again after i recovered from the first one...same thing.

Called my doctor and his assistant got back to me (the next day of course) said..'try drinking some coffee'..i was like..'seriously'?

I did this..no difference..going to the bathroom was hell..anything vertical and extended..unreal.

I had to shimmy myself across the floor on my back, crab style to get basics done..bathroom and whatever else i couldn't avoid..for 5 days as the doctor needed to be convinced that it wouldn't heal on it's own..This was hell because wherever i was shimmying to..I eventually had to get vertical.

Went in at the end of the week to solve this..they took blood from me and then created a 'blood patch' by reinjecting my blood into the area where the epidural needle went in to plug the hole...I had to remain sitting up and 'relaxed' and not move freaking inch.. for almost 15 minutes..the pain doctor at the pain clinic in the hospital hugged me the whole time and I was crying uncontrollably from this pain..and Getting from the front door of the hospital to the clinic was brutal..i hit the floor after coming out the elevator and back shimmied-slid" myself on the floor with my Wife next to me..right through the front door of the office..i was lying on my back on the floor giving the front desk person my info.

SO..make sure whoever does this to you is experienced..for real..it is critical that the opening they create in the 'sack'..is clean.

You do not want this spinal headache..



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2018 07:41PM by Kraniac.
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