This is a rare complication that may occur if a small hole is made in the fibrous sac and does not close up after the needle puncture. These small holes are only made in less than 1% of epidural injections and usually heal on their own. The spinal fluid inside can leak out, and when severe, the brain loses the cushioning effect of the fluid, which causes a severe headache when you sit or stand. These types of headaches occur typically about 2-3 days after the procedure and are positional - they come on when you sit or stand and go away when you lie down. If you do develop a spinal headache, it is OK to treat yourself. As long as you do not feel ill and have no fever and the headache goes away when you lay down, you may treat yourself with 24 hours of bed rest with bathroom privileges while drinking plenty of fluids. This almost always works. If it does not, contact the radiologist who performed the procedure or your referring physician. A procedure (called an epidural blood patch) can be performed in the hospital that has a very high success rate in treating spinal headaches.
As a skilled and experienced Pain Medicine Interventionalist, Dr. Levin evaluates each patient very thoroughly and carefully to help determine appropriate treatment options in order to provide the most effective individualized care. These treatment options may include: Lumbar, Thoracic and Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections utilizing targeted transforaminal techniques, Lumbar and Cervical Sympathetic Blocks, Sphenopalatine, Facial and Head and Neck Procedures, Discography, Percutaneuos Discectomy or Disc Decompression procedures, precision joint and nerve injections, Radiofrequency Neuroablative procedures, Peripheral or Spinal Cord Stimulator trials and implants, Foraminoplasties and several patented and patent pending advanced interventional procedures.
The following patients should not have this injection: if you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood-thinning medication (. Coumadin, injectable Heparin), or if you have an active infection going on. With blood thinners like Coumadin, your doctor may advise you to stop this for 4-7 days beforehand or take “bridge therapy” with Lovenox prior to the procedures. Anti-platelet drugs like Plavix may have to be stopped for 5-10 days prior to the procedure. Aspirin should be stopped for cervical procedures for 10 days prior, but not for Lumbar.