Post lumbar puncture headache: is bed rest essential?

J Assoc Physicians India. 1998 Nov;46(11):930-2.


Headache following lumbar puncture is a well known and well described complication. Various manoeuvres have been tried to prevent post lumbar puncture headache--the commonest being bed rest for 4 to 24 hours following lumbar puncture, though its value is questionable. Randomised controlled clinical trial was done to evaluate the effect of 24 hours bed rest on the incidence and severity of post lumbar puncture headaches. Two hundred and eight patients were randomly allocated to either the ambulant or the bed rest group. Patients were interviewed by a single investigator on days 0, 1, 2 and 7 about the presence and nature of headache. Other relevant clinical and laboratory data pertaining to the lumbar puncture was collected. The overall incidence of post lumbar puncture headache was 17%; 15% in the ambulant and 18% in the bed rest group. Of the patients who had headaches, severe headache was observed in 57% in the ambulant and 12% in the bed rest group (p = 0.02). Other variables did not alter the outcome of headaches. Bed rest does not appear to alter the incidence of post lumbar puncture headaches, but reduces the severity in those who get headaches, after a lumbar puncture.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bed Rest*
  • Child
  • Early Ambulation
  • Female
  • Headache / etiology
  • Headache / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Spinal Puncture*
  • Treatment Outcome