After a lumbar puncture (spinal tap)


My doc wants me to get a standard spinal tap. I'm okay with that, except for what my doc told me to do after the procedure.

I was told that I need to be driven home by someone, lying in the car on my side, and then lie down in bed for 24 hours, and then after a day when it's time to get up, I have to put a pillow under me and lie there for an hour or two, then put another pillow under me and lie there for an hour or two, and keep doing this until I'm upright and can get out of bed and can walk around.

My doc is an elderly person, and I suspect perhaps speaking in terms of patients who are normally much older than I am. I'm 32, male.

Nowhere on the Internet so far have I found discussion of this much hassle following a spinal tap. What I have seen has been that after the procedure you have to lie there for a couple hours, and then just try to be careful, and lie down if you have a headache.

The issue is, I live alone, and I'd really rather just drive myself home and take it easy. I don't want to bring someone into this, and I don't want to lie in bed for 24 hours.

Can I just schedule the appointment, do the procedure, and then go home, my way? Is the doc trying to get me to be overly careful? Obviously I don't want to do any damage to my spinal cord or spine, either, so that's why I'm asking around rather than just planning on being a rebel without telling anyone.

Showing comment 1 to 15 from a total of 6 comments

I've been through 2 spinal taps (lumbar puncture) and they will not do this unless you have someone to take you home.

It is absolutely necessary to lie as flat as possible in a vehicle as the fluid that is removed from your spine removes fluid from your brain and trust me you do not want a spinal headache; it is like a migraine x's 100. And to fix that one must go in for a blood patch.

Lying down for 24 hours is about right. The pillow thing I am not familar with but it would not surprise me. Maybe this is something new.

You may want to check with the radiologist about after care for such a procedure.

One thing that is important is to drink plenty of fluids.

Might I ask...why are you having this procedure done?



The purpose of the procedure is to diagnose potential MS.


Both of my taps came back negative for 'bands'...some individuals who have MS will not have these. However some neurologists believe that no bands ='s no MS.

These are also done to rule out other potential diseases that mimic MS and visa-versa.

Stimpy77, I wish you the absolute best and if turns out that you do indeed have MS; just remember that is managable...attitude is key Smile


Zig, you are my horse if you NEVER win a race! You always know what to say!


Well if I happen to break one of my horse legs...don't do the norm...just put me in a cast so I can keep on going...

You're a hoot F*GM Smile Love ya!


Stimpy, I had a spinal tap for a pain infusion pump-whether it was they got me up to quick I don't know but I ended up witih a 24 hr spinal headache that I had to have a blood patch done to stop..Do whatever they tell you..I hope the very best for you..

Post A Reply
Must Read
How can you tell if a headache is serious, or not? What types of headaches are there? Get started learning the facts about headache here....
Do you know when to seek help for headache symptoms? Learn more about symptoms of the four different types of headaches...and when to go to a doctor here....
Headaches can be caused by various medical conditions. Learn which tests doctors use to diagnose problem headaches...and who you should see to start diagnosis....