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Headaches After Spine Surgery

Headaches After Spine Surgery

If you’re experiencing headache pain after your spinal surgery, you may suffer from a post-surgical complication called low cerebrospinal fluid leak, also known as CSF. Although this side effect is not immediately life-threatening, it is a severe complication that can cause worsening headache pain and other symptoms, such as dizziness, confusion, and more. If you’re experiencing any type of headache pain or adverse side effect after your spine surgery, it’s imperative you alert Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine of these symptoms right away.

For obvious reasons, symptoms that go unreported can lead to life-threatening health problems that can impact the quality of your life in the long term. Don’t be shy, embarrassed, or try to tell yourself it’s just a temporary thing. If these symptoms last longer than a day or two, call NeuroMicroSpine right away to schedule an appointment. If your symptoms become debilitating, don’t hesitate to visit an urgent care facility or emergency room.

We don’t mean to frighten you – we just want our patients to understand that even under perfect conditions, adverse reactions and complications can happen. Sometimes the body doesn’t react the way it wants to or should, which can cause supporting organs to go into panic mode. Anyways, let’s get back to the issue at hand – post-spine surgery headaches. Patients often want to know how or why this phenomenon occurs.

To put it simply, CSF can happen spontaneously or after a spine surgery, and if the fluid is leaking from the spinal cord faster than it’s being replenished, it can cause intense headaches that worsen when standing up. If the volume or cerebrospinal fluid becomes increasingly low, the brain will sag inside the skull, causing progressively worsening symptoms. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to remedy this unfortunate side effect.

Sometimes, conservative measures, such as bed rest, good hydration, and increased caffeine intake can help with symptoms and allow the CSF leak to heal on its own. If these conservative therapies fail to provide adequate relief, it may be necessary for the patient to undergo surgery to repair the leak. The most common treatment for this condition is an epidural blood patch. This minimally invasive procedure takes the patient’s own blood an injects it outside of the dura where the leak has developed. If the epidural blood patch is unsuccessful the first time, it can be repeated until the patient experiences relief.

If these measures continue to fail, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. It’s important to talk to Dr. Giovanini about your options pre- and post-spine surgery because he will ensure you get the care you need. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a CSF leak, please do not hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment.

We hope to see you soon!

For more information on whether spinal surgery is necessary for your condition, or to make an appointment with the doctors at NeuroMicroSpine, please call (850) 934-7545 or click here to request an appointment. We hope to see you soon!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician's advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.