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Article: Headache from Spinal Fluid Leak


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"He had been going to the gym for maybe a week when he developed severe neck pain. He figured it was a sprain or even a slipped disc and treated himself with heat packs and lots of ibuprofen. The neck pain eased but it was replaced by strange, intense headaches, which came on suddenly, when he moved his head a certain way. Leaning over caused the worst pain. The headaches lasted minutes, sometimes a couple of hours - but that morning on the golf course, the pain had struck like a clap of thunder and lasted for days."

The doctor explained what he thought were the most likely causes of the headaches. First, they could be migraines.

Another possibility was what is known as a rebound or medication-linked headache.

A third possibility was suggested by another finding on the scans not commented on by the first doctors - an unusual condition known as intracranial hypotension - low pressure in the skull - which can also lead to the formation of tiny fluid pockets. It is most commonly seen after a spinal tap or an epidural, procedures in which a needle is inserted into the sac. Normally, the sac heals, but occasionally it doesn't repair itself and fluid leaks out, causing a drop in pressure. Typically, intracranial hypotension causes a postural headache - one induced by a shift in position.

<I have made snips to give the gist of the article>

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/magazine...agewanted=print

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