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Headache. 1990 Feb;30(3):122-8.

Headaches associated with low spinal fluid pressure.

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Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


Post-lumbar puncture headache (PLPHA) and spontaneous hypoliquorrheic headache are both associated with low spinal fluid pressure. A dull or throbbing occipital ache characteristically worsened by sitting or standing and eased by lying down is peculiar to both. Additional symptoms and signs may accompany the headache. In PLPHA the pain is triggered by leakage of cerebrospinal fluid through the dural rent, but the cause of the pain is probably due to intracranial arterial and venous dilatation. The same mechanism probably applies to spontaneous hypoliquorrheic headache in which the site of leakage is rarely found. The majority of cases subside without treatment over several days. Those that persist may be treated with epidural blood patch or saline infusion with good results. A simple, innocuous, yet underutilized form of treatment is caffeine sodium benzoate. This review will discuss the incidence, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of these headaches.

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