A spinal headache is a headache which occurs after the membrane which surrounds the spinal cord has been punctured, as occurs in spinal anesthesia and lumbar punctures. The headaches caused by the leaking
of spinal fluid through the puncture site, and usually onsets between 12 hours and a day after the procedure which involved a puncture.
Botox is often known drug used to erase wrinkles. But now it is considered a treatment for spinal headaches.
An internal spinal fluid leak and the brain sags often cause low CSF (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) pressure headaches. The headaches are most commonly triggered by a lumbar puncture. They can even make patients disabling. Existing therapies such as medication or a blood patch which is injected over the puncture hole are not fully effective. Thus, lying down has offered the only relief.
The patient in the case study of Mayor Clinic suffered low CSF pressure headaches for 25 years. Every time headache occurs, only lying down and curtailing her day-to-day activities made her better. She consulted Michael Cutrer, M.D., and Paul Mathew, M.D. five years ago. They gave her the Botox because actually, they didn’t have anything else. And she has been injected with Botox three years.
The results have been surprising. The intensity of the patient’s headaches dropped from 8 out of 10 on a visual pain scale to 3 out of 10. After each treatment, improvement would last for three months before pain returned, requiring another dose. While not cured, the patient is now able to live a more normal life.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic have been been using Botox for several years for treatment of migraine and had been successful in many patients. That is also a new hope for patients with spinal headaches.