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What should I expect after a spinal tap?

After a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), you will be instructed to lie flat on your back, stomach, or side for four to six hours. Your blood pressure, pulse, and puncture site will be checked according to your doctor's orders.

Once you are home, you will need to lie down and rest for the remainder of the day. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably with caffeine.

After lumbar puncture, some patients suffer from headaches. These headaches may be caused by leakage of spinal fluid at the puncture site. That is why it is important to follow your doctor's orders to lie flat and rest. Call your doctor if the headache is severe and unrelieved by acetaminophen (Tylenol) and rest in a dark quiet place.

If you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor or the clinic where the procedure was done.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.