Last reply 3 months ago
Lumbar puncture

Morning all! Just wondering about the honest experience of having a lumbar puncture as have to have one in 3 months time and although I’m a nurse, I have never liked the idea of this😕 any thoughts are very welcome🙏

Add categories

Browse categories and add by clicking on them

You can remove current categories below by clicking the ‘x’.

There are no categories assigned yet.

3 months ago

@lozza – as you are a nurse there is no real way to sugarcoat this. I have had several and none of them was a barrel of laughs.

The single strongest piece of advice I’d give is become as good as you can at zen type keeping your mind focussed.

Whilst it is happening it takes a pretty strong force of will to control breathing, not move and just focus on something else. It is the classic was of getting through something less than pleasant.

Providing they don’t screw up the results then if it is really bugging you then you might as well chill out pharmaceutically, on the government. Hell, they are tested, pure and dose controlled. That is the way I like my opiates.

It is not painful, just quite uncomfortable., weird feeling and you need to stay as stock still as you can.

There are no medals for suffering so really if it freaks you out too much then make it clear well in advance that you want to be fully stoned cometh the hour.
– Have someone to drive you home and be prepared for one or two blinding headaches in the nest few days. Thewy remove a bit of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and it is essentially the drop in CSF levels that the body will rectify over time. I was a tit and went to work the next day. Living in Oxford I had to pull thye car into a laybay near Northampton, wait for the plain to subside, drive some more, pull in etc. It was less fun and totally self-inflicted. lie down for sevgferal days if poss.

Good luck. It’ll be fine.

3 months ago

The doctor at Kings Hospital who done mine was fantastic and it was the first time on her own….
It felt a little weirded but no where near as bad as going to the dentist.
Take a couple of paracetamol after and drink some redbull as was recommended to me by the nurse.
Worked for me….
Wish you luck.

3 months ago

I’ve never had to have one as even my first MRI was pretty compelling. It sounds like in the US they aren’t very frequently done anymore as part of a diagnosis-

Although it seems there is still a case for it- it has never been suggested for me

3 months ago

I refused to have one and my neurologist didn’t force the issue. I’ve had RRMS since 2009.

3 months ago

Hello @lozza. If you are really nervous, you could request Valium/other beforehand, which would ensure you’re relaxed. As @dominic says, I felt fine the next day too and went to work. By Day 3 the headache became excrutiating. So, you absolutely must rest up and lay flat for a few days at least to minimise potential for headache. That would be my biggest plea for anyone having one. All the best, you’ll be fine.

3 months ago

Only had 1, before Christmas. Yeah, it wasn’t pleasant. BP and pulse dropped during it. Afterwards, I took a couple of days off work but no pain or headaches at all. I drank coke after.

3 months ago

I also refused to have one and was left alone. I am RRMS.

3 months ago

I have had one years ago and just from my experience have a nap after It’s done. I only had the option of numbing cream the procedure itself isn’t all that bad. Just a needle in a odd location.

It’s the headache/migraine you get after that really hit me hard. I was only recently in hospital and not even formally diagnosed yet, I had family visit me in hospital after this procedure so I didn’t get a good opportunity to sleep it off.

so just from my experience plan ahead for some some quality relaxation and sleep because you might need it.

hope this helps.


3 months ago

I had one when I was diagnosed and was absolutely dreading it. It wasn’t pleasant but it honestly was nowhere near as bad as I’d built it up to be in my mind. Take whatever drugs they offer you and try to stay calm and still and it really will be over quickly.

3 months ago

@lozza Hi I had my done a couple of years ago. It was not painful it’s just pressure. I think the worst part of the process was when they wipe your back beforhand, it was bloody freezing I nearly flew off the bed, other than that dont worry you’ll be fine.
Take care, Jo

3 months ago

I recommend to take all medication and numbing agents they offer you. They had to poke me multiple times because they couldn’t get it quite right. Whatever numbing they did originally wasn’t near enough. Super nasty bruise for quite a while after. Also, they try to give you a lot of caffeine after for the headaches. The results that you get from this, though are quite valuable and I would say it’s worth it.

3 months ago

Thanks everyone, very helpful🤗 I just hate the thought of it and will see if I can get out of it x

3 months ago


I’m also a nurse and was dreading mine too but it wasnt that bad. You feel a pinch when they inject the local anaesthetic and a bit of pressure after that. I had a junior doctor do mine and it took her a few attempts before the SpR took over. Even at that it wasnt too bad. Stiff back after and felt a bit woozy but I normally faint if I break a nail 😂 you’ll be fine. Get some pro-plus incase you have a headache after. Best of luck 😊

3 months ago

@lozza , I worried myself so much before I had my lumber puncture and it wasn’t as bad as what I thought it was going to be. I think it is more uncomfortable than painful breathing through it helps aswell. It was afterwards with the headaches that was the worst for me just rest afterwards and drink plenty. You will be fine it doesn’t take long and then it is all done. Keep safe xx

3 months ago

hey @lozza, I had one done in Germany when I was diagnosed – it was a private clinic and they didn’t actually even give me a choice, unfortunately. Anyway, it’s super important to keep still!

As a side effect, I had a horrible headache for a week after every time I would stand up, so I had to lie down a lot and drink plenty of fluids. However, when my cerebral fluid level reached normal levels again and the pressure in my brain equalized I was back to normal in a matter of seconds. Best of luck!

3 months ago

I have zero pain tolerance. So with complete honesty it was not painful because the doctor used anaesthesia, just uncomfortable. I did it twice in three months. I recommend having someone with you to distract you. I remember I had a friend and I was telling her about my cute niece. It won’t take long and it is not painful.

3 months ago

Everyone is different i honestly didn’t think it was that bad obviously not nice I had to have 2 to get it right .
For me it’s about challenging yourself mentally before and while it been done I just thought in a few mins it’s done and everything passes.

3 months ago

Hi ya. Honestly you will be fine. It is not
as bad as it seems. You may feel a bit weak when you stand up to walk for a few seconds. This soon passes.
The procedure does not hurt.
Good luck. X😘

3 months ago

@lozza hi ..I had one 2 years ago my neurologist done it . I was bit nervous but it was grand I felt nothing she was brilliant . Had to have plenty glasses coke and solpa extra to stop headaches it done the trick xx best off luck x

3 months ago

I had it done back in 2015, as the other peeps have said, I be lying to say it a doddle, but i found it a very strange feeling, felt like the needle was coming through my stomach. (Not that I want to scare you) I think the post injection headaches are allegedly horrendous, but I never had any at all. My advice would, (if you have it done)to get home and lay in a dark room for the remainder of the day and drink plenty of water.
God luck.

3 months ago

Hi! I’m from Argentina. I had one two years ago. The procedure it’s fine. You won’t feel anything. Just a little pressure. I don’t know in how much time they are going to do it with you, cause there is a trick on how fast they extract it (the size of the needle), and that’s its important (I have only read about this -internet reading 😬) because the aftermath was the big deal for me. I did it a Saturday. Sunday night the headache started. I had to stay in bed until Thursday. It was the worst pain (head) but ONLY when I was standing (no kidding, it has something to do with the LCR and pressure) it was bad, but only because I didn’t knew and I wasn’t expecting it. Of course in my country the procedure lasted like 5 minutes. Imagine the needle. Anyway I’m not trying to alarm. If I ever have to do it again, I will stay at home or book an hotel 😂 for 3 days with food and lots of water and a fine book or music. And guess what! My LCR was clear. I have the disease though so I think It didn’t change anything 😂

3 months ago

Hi @lozza

I see there are so many mixed experiences.
I had my done about 2 years ago at Liverpool but a ‘student’ being supervised. I was dreading it but I can honestly say the worst part was her feeling my spine for the right spot and then using her pen to make a mark! I did feel pressure but not really pain during the procedure. Felt a bit whoozy for a couple of days after and the muscle feels a bit sore but only like a bruise.
I suppose you dont know how it will go as I know my neighbour had quite a traumatic experience but try not to stress about it. Feeling overly anxious will definitely make it worse. Hopefully, it wont be as bad as you think

Don’t let a junior doctor do it!! I’ve had 2 – the first time it was a junior doc, and he had to try at least 5 times before the Consultant took over. Not pleasant.

Second time, much better – done in 1.

Headaches were much worse first time. But still not fun after second. Take lots of paracetamol, it passes in time (couple of days if I remember)

3 months ago

Hi @ Lozza

I struggle with a normal blood test or anything to do with injections so the thought of a Lumbar Puncture was very scary. In the event, I had a very experienced registrar, which helped and the procedure itself was very easy and pain free. I lay down for about half an hour afterwards and only had bearable headaches thereafter. The next two days though I was in a lot of pain – back and torso – and had to have two days off work. Paracetamol with caffeine was the best remedy.

I definitely would avoid another one but it is nowhere near as bad as you might imagine.

3 months ago

For what it’s worth: I had a lumbar puncture myself a few weeks back, and to me it wasn’t painful. It was quite similar to taking blood tests, in that the stress and anxiety before and during the test was much worse than the physical pain.

3 months ago

When I had my lumbar puncture I cried. I felt so much pressure in my spine and body. But it was over within a few mins. I look back on it now and I think I was only crying because I was scared and had built it up so much in my head. I know it’s easier said then done but don’t do what I did and let it scare you…. because in reality it’s over as soon as it started and it wasn’t nearly as painful as what I was expecting! In all honesty it was just uncomfortable really. So try to put your mind at rest for now and go into it with a fighters mind frame ☺️ Xxx

3 months ago

Thanks gang!! Really helpful to hear all of your experiences… I’m pretty good with pain but I remember being a student nurse years ago and being told not to have anyone lower that a SPR do a lumbar puncture and that has stuck with me…. I think I will see if I can go without it unless the neurologist really wants it done, then I will defiantly use all the drugs possible believe me😳

3 months ago

Hello! I’m also a nurse, living in South Africa. About a year ago, I had my first LP, and the whole idea scared me to death. You know all too well that it’s much harder to reveive treatment than to administer it. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the whole procedure was! You’ll be fine, promise 😉

Join to reply to this post.

Become part of the community so you can chat, compare and learn from other MSers.