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Thread: Leg pain after lumbar puncture?

  1. #1
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    Leg pain after lumbar puncture?

    DD had a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap) today as part of the diagnostic process for her illness. While inserting the needle, they hit what I assume is the sciatic nerve, as she said it was like lightning all the way down her leg. It's been 7 hours, and it's still painful. Anyone know if this is normal? My guess is that it will take a couple of days to settle down. In the meantime, I'm giving her Tylenol regularly. Any other ideas? I thought it woudl feel good to her to get in the pool and just float in the cool water, but I'm afraid to do that with the new puncture.
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

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  2. #2
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    First, I've been watching the threads about your dd and my heart and prayers go out to her and your family. Second, call her doctor! Don't sit and wonder what you can do, call the expert. My fear is that first, tylenol may or may not be the right kind of pain reliever and second, this could be a sign of more damage rather than something that will just subside. The pool might work but I wouldn't do that before asking the doctor.

  3. #3
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    According to webmd....about 1 in 1000 pts who have a spinal tap will experience some kind of nerve damage that will heal on its own in time. They also say that if there is numbness or loss of strength below the puncture site, you should call your physician.

    As for the pool...I wouldn't expose the puncture site to anything foreign until it's healed over some. After all, we're talking about a pathway to your spine - I wouldn't mess with it. I know you're desparate to relieve DD's pain, and I understand, truly I do and hope that she is feeling more comfortable soon. If she's not, you may want to call the doctor to see if he/she will give her something to make her more comfortable in the meantime.

    Good luck...there are lots of us praying for her!
    Terri _A
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  4. #4
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    Let me say, I'm sorry that your DD has to got thru all these test, but hopefully the Dr's will be able to find an answer and treatments.

    Did the Dr have any after procedure instructions? Did they mention what to look for or do if .... arises?

    If not I think I would make a call, there should be an on-call person.
    If this was done at Barrow, I would think that someone should be able ease your worry.

    You could also check on line, perhaps mayoclinic.com, webmd.com.

    And I think your right about the pool, but then I'm NOT medically qualified.

    Good thoughts for DD and family

  5. #5
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    Anne, this one wasn't done at Barrow's; it was done at Banner Health Estrella Mountain. They weren't exactly full of information. Beautiful facility, but we honestly weren't impressed with the staff. We probably should put in a call to the doctor and see if he recommends anything else. I'm tending toward extreme caution, as I've had a "spinal headache" from a myelogram that left me with leaking CSF, and I want DD to avoid that at ALL costs. The only thing they told us to watch for was severe headache and/'or vomiting. We reported her headache before we left and just got a blank look and a, "Oh, lots of people get those." Okay--thanks for the input.

    Terri, I don't know why I didn't think to Google it. She doesn't have numbness--just pain. She also says that her right leg feels heavy. It's hard to tell whether that's from the spinal tap, or one of the weird right-side symptoms she's having.

    Robyn, you share my thoughts on protecting the open wound, as it leads to some very important areas. I think I'll keep her out of the pool--and the tub.

    Now, I'll see if I can talk her into calling her doctor. This was all much easier when the kiddos were under 18 and I got to make all the decisions!
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

    Visit my blogs: Cooking the Books

    For recipes only, visit the companion blog: Cooked Up.

  6. #6
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    Sometimes, when I get blood tests, the nurse will accidently hit a nerve in my arm. It is painful and the sensation lasts for a day or so. Hopefully, this is similar, although I am sure much more intense considering the size of the needle and the nerve that it hit. I'm sorry she has to go through all of this.

  7. #7
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    Cookin4love, I don't have suggestions, just prayers to send along to your DD. She been through so much, I hate to read that she is in pain. This is hard on you, too. I know that I'd rather take on any pain my kids go through than see them suffer. Prayers to you, too.

    Adding: Definitely tell the doc - I have had sciatica, and it is so uncomfortable.

    When I had it, I would lay flat on the floor, with my legs up on the sofa or chair. That relieved the pressure of the pinched nerve. I do not know if it would help in your DD's case, but who knows - it just might relieve the discomfort alittle.
    "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

  8. #8
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    I was told to stay out of the pool for three days and also not to do anything too strenuous....This was in 1994, so I don't know if protocol has changed since then.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  9. #9
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    I would call your doctor and see what he recommends. He can also give your DD pain medicine that will help. If your DD is already taking a lot of other drugs for her condition, tylenol might not be the best choice because it's just another thing the liver has to process. Different pain needs different types of meds. Also, you need to know if your DD needs heat or ice on the area. I also wouldn't get in the pool yet. I would be worried about infection.

    Don't worry about calling the doctor after hours. That's what they're around for. Your doctor doesn't want your DD to be in pain all the time either--it's not good for your immune system.
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  10. #10
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    I would report the heavy feeling -- that could be a slight weakness and better to err on the side of caution there, but I susupect it is just a nerve that got tweaked and will settle down.

    I would also ask the doctor about which pain medication to use. Asprin is generally not advised, and Tylenol is generally safe, but she might be able to take ibuprofen or naprosyn and get more relief from their anti-inflammatory qualities.

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