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Suffer heacaches and neck pain. Had operation in back. Prescribed tablets for headache. Remedy?

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
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I had an operation on my back to defuse some bones. During the operation the surgeon severed my dura. That was on the 2nd April 2013 since when I have suffered with the most painful headaches and latterly neck aches.
All I am being offered are various types of headache tablets. Although they are getting better, l am having to take 6 - 8 tablets every day. When I don't the headaches return very quickly. Is there anything else I could/should be doing. Thank you
Posted Thu, 18 Jul 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 1 hour later
Thank you for your question.
It would appear that you have a persistant cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak. This is caused when there is a hole in one of the membranes that surround the spinal cord and CSF leaks through caused a "low pressure" headache. The natural course of the hole in the membrane is that it will heal. However, this can sometimes take weeks and in the meantime there may be a severe headache as you are suffering from.
For the short-term, you may have found that lying down helps the headache but it returns when you stand up. Other short term measures that may help are staying well hydrated, so drink plenty. Caffeinated drinks can help. You may even need opiates in the short-term for the headaches and neck stiffness.
It would appear that you have had the symptoms for 3 months. I would suggest you see your surgeon and explain the severity of your symptoms. Sometimes there may be an indication to investigate the extent of the hole in the membrane with scans. Occasionally, a further procedure may be needed to correct the leak and stop the headache and neck stiffness.
I hope this has helped you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr K A Pottinger
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