I don't even know where to start? Last Monday I had a hysterectomy. My doctor wanted me to have a spinal so I wouldn't be in pain after. I'll try to keep it short lol... Anesthesiologist made me very nervous...when he inserted the needle he kept asking if it felt like it was to much to the right or left. Well, Wednesday the spinal headaches started... Wednesday and Thursday were bad. I went to the ER and they gave me Cosyntropin and told me to go and lay flat...lots of caffeine and water. Thursday was my last bad headache. But I stayed in the hospital Friday and Saturday in fluids and bed rest... Just had a dull ache those day. The last few days I haven't had headaches but just a dull throb here and there but my biggest problem today is my back. My back has been sore since Wednesday but today was unbearable. Went to the doctor CBC was good... No signs of infection blood wise or no redness on my back... I do have some swelling on my back and weird sensations that feel like something cold around the spine... Still a dull throb once in awhile head wise but I have felt weird pressure in my head today. I was given a pain shot and told to ice my back and go home. This doesn't seem normal and I am miserable... What is going on?????

Hi Marianne Thanks for the question and SORRY for your experience.

I will do my best to answer as well as give some comments first:

The provider asking if you felt things to the right or left is doing something pretty common. That helps us determine where to redirect so we get it in correctly ;) So no worries there!

What you experienced with the headaches is a known possibility when getting a spinal or an epidural, you got the name right it is a spinal headache. This happens when enough of the fluid in your spinal canal leaks out. It can be treated with bed rest and caffeine or with a blood patch (which is injecting your own blood into the same general area as the spinal was placed), both are reasonable treatments. These headaches will go away with time, if they do not go away after 7 days I would goto your family practitioner (which you already did) to make sure there are no other causes.

As for the back pain it is extremely rare that a spinal placement could cause that. It is much more commonly the act of laying on a hard table for a couple of hours for the surgery. Checking to see if you had an infection as well as if the area was inflamed was the right thing to do ruling those out nearly eliminates the spinal as the culprit.

If the pain does not resolve or gets worse I would certainly return to your primary care provider. I would also consider calling the anesthesia provider to discuss the symptoms so that they are aware.

I hope this helps, it certainly sounds like a self limiting situation. I hope you feel better soon!  


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Mike MacKinnon MSN FNP-C CRNA


I am a former Trauma Flight RN now a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs). I can help answer questions on the CRNA profession and clinical anesthesia. I work full time as an independent practice CRNA and have a special interest in regional anesthesia, particularly peripheral nerve blocks. I also teach ultrasound regional anesthesia and lecture all over the country. If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you.


I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist who works as an independent/autonomous practitioner. There are often questions about my profession and I would like to offer the service of an actual CRNA. If you did not know, there are about 40000 of us which equates to 50% of the anesthesia providers in the USA today. I also lecture and teach ultrasound regional anesthesia all over the country.

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