Orthostatic headache and bilateral abducens palsy secondary to spontaneous intracranial hypotension

J Headache Pain. 2011 Feb;12(1):109-11. doi: 10.1007/s10194-010-0262-8. Epub 2010 Sep 30.


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a well-documented syndrome characterized typically by a benign, self-limited course. Patients typically present with postural or exertional headaches that can be temporarily relieved by lying in a supine or recumbent position. A 35-year-old Caucasian male suffered orthostatic headache that developed to a bilateral abducens palsy. We ordered relative rest and the patient improved and completely recovered after 3 months. Although SIH is considered as a benign and self limited process it could also be associated with disabling complications. We should be aware of the possible complications and inform our patients. SIH can present with headache and bilateral abducens palsy even when the headache is improving.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abducens Nerve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Abducens Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Abducens Nerve Diseases / therapy
  • Adult
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Headache / diagnosis*
  • Headache / etiology*
  • Headache / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension / complications*
  • Intracranial Hypotension / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Hypotension / therapy
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology
  • Rest / physiology
  • Rest / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome