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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Why there is pain in neck and arms after taking medication for lumbar puncture?

My 26 year old daughter was diagnosed with a Complex Migraine after a brain scan and Lumbar Puncture came back normal (Friday). She returned to the ER on Saturday with severe neck pain - unable to move up/down or left/right. After IV pain meds, she was told that possible fluid leaked from puncture. Today (Monday) she is still in much neck pain and is now experiencing pain in her arms. Do I take her back to the ER for a third time? The pain meds she is taking is not helping with the pain. Are these symptoms normal post lumbar puncture? Thank you very much.
Tue, 10 Sep 2019
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Neurologist 's  Response
Hello,

Yes, fluid leaks after LP's are not uncommon and as a result, acute pains as you describe can occur although typically they are localized to the LOW BACK (so long as that is where she received the tap).

If on the other hand, she is running any type of FEVER (>100 degrees F), experiencing stiffness in the neck where no pain or stiffness existed before, becoming sensitive to noise and light, or having headaches of a significant variety that are different from the ones you normally see, then, I believe a visit to the ER is definitely warranted.

If she doesn't have the signs of a bacterial or meningitic infection with normal temperature, heart rate, BP, and so forth then, put a call in to her doctor who did the puncture and get advice.

Also, she should HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, reduce up and about activity for the time being and you should take a look at the area where she had the LP performed if it looks unusually swollen, red, feels hot, or EXQUISITELY TENDER. If any of those are true then, BACK to the ER.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care

Regards,
Dr Dariush Saghafi, Neurologist
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