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October 13, 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Anesthesiology, Huron Road Hospital.

JAMA. 1951;147(7):657-658. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.73670240021006k

Headache following spinal anesthesia is a perplexing problem to the anesthesiologist. Sometimes it presents itself even in patients in whom no spinal anesthetic has been employed. Recently a patient who had received only a local anesthetic for the removal of a superficial tumor was glibly informed by a forgetful physician that his headache was the result of the spinal tap. It is so easy and convenient to use spinal anesthesia as the scapegoat for all postoperative headaches, that we find the nursing staff, the floor attendants, and even the patient in the next bed making authoritative diagnoses.

ETIOLOGY  Headache of this type has been of clinical interest since the technique of lumbar puncture was introduced. A survey of the literature over a period of 30 years discloses that the theories of its causation are practically legion and frequently contradictory. Such a multiplicity of theories points up the lack of knowledge