April 02, 2007,
N.O. asks from Park Ridge, IL on March 30, 2007
Has Anyone Had an Epideral Headache?
Just wondering if anyone has had an epidural headache and if so, what did you do?
I delivered our son last Wed. The labor and delivery were very easy. I left the hospital a day early I felt so great. Although sleep is a luxury these days I've still been feeling really good and pacing myself.
3 days ago I started to get what I thought was a migrane (I get these randomly and usually around my period so I thought it was hormonal). After discussing with my docs office over the phone they say I'm describing an epideral headache. They recommend I drink more fluid (I drink water until the cows come home already), add caffine to my diet (I'm nursing and not crazy about that idea) and ride it out for the weekend. If I'm still showing symptoms they will send me to the anethesiologist (sp) Monday. I was sent home with a narcotic and perscription ibprophen so I've tried both of those and nothing is helping. My head literally feels like it's going to explode and I'm nauseous when I get a wave of this "headache". I'll take any suggestions.
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone who responded. It got much worse and then it dissapeared as quickly as it came. I'm so glad I didn't have to go for the blood patch...sounds not pleasant at all!
P.D. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
K.T. answers from Chicago on April 01, 2007
Hi. I also had the same exact thing when I had my daughter. It's awful. The doctors and nurses told me the same things and gave me prescriptions. Nothing worked. Finally they gave me an IV of some caffeine and it was gone in hours. I was also breastfeeding and it did not affect my daughter at all.
S.K. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
First of all, congratulations!
Unfortunately having a terrible headache like this can really put a damper on your joy and excitement. While I have not experienced this personally, I am an L&D nurse and have had several pts with spinal headaches after getting an epidural. A week does seem a little late for initial onset of a spinal headache, but I supppose not impossible. The surefire way to tell a spinal headache from any other kind is -- a spinal headache will disappear if you lay completely flat in bed. Any elevation of your head will cause it to return. If this is not the case with your headache, then it is not spinal related and you should follow up with your health care provider.
When pts get spinal headaches at the hospital the anesthesiologists initally prescribe what was reccommended to you, fluids, meds, caffine, and laying flat (all of which is fine when you are breastfeeding, especially on such a short term basis). If the headache has not resolved in a couple days they will discuss the blood patch as described by previous posters. The blood patch is not necessary, the leak of spinal fluid will resolve on its own eventually (time varies from person to person), but it would expedite the recovery.
Good luck with everything, hope you feel better soon.
K.C. answers from Chicago on April 01, 2007
I had this after giving birth to my daughter. It went away about a week and a half after I delivered. It was especially bad when I would bend my head down (ex: while looking at my daughter while she breast fed, or bending over to pick something up, etc...). Caffeine really did the most to help - none of the pain relievers helped. Dont worry about the caffeine in your breast milk. Its fine for the baby, but if your baby is sensitive to it the only thing that happens is it makes them a little cranky.
P.D. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
although you are breastfeeding the cafeine is OK..... i hope it helps/ its sounds as if you will have to go back to the anesthesiologist... push to do so sooner tahn later so you can start to feel better.
P., RLC, IBCLC
Pres. Lactation Support Group, Inc
J.N. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
N.~ When I had my first epidural with DD the doctor went in too far and hit spinal fluid which caused a slow leak of fluid...he then did a second epidural which went okay....6 hours after I had my DD I could not move my head or sit up without feeling like my head was going to burst! The nurse was able to give me some meds for a little relief so I could BF but I had to have a blood patch done the next morning...a third epidural and then they take your blood and put it into the area of the spinal fluid to clot and seal the area from the first (and now third)epidural....I won't lie this hurt like a SOB and was the worst pain I have ever felt (L&D was NOTHING compared to this!) You then lie flat for 8 hours so the blood can clot.....not fun!
If you had you son over a week and half ago I don't know if it would be the same type of thing I had since my headache happened w/in 6 hours of delivery....I would really try the caffine (should be fine while BF)and ask for meds that will not effect your son or supply....
Congrats on your new baby and good luck with the headaches....I know how bad they hurt and hope you can beat yours quick!
C.S. answers from Chicago on April 01, 2007
I had the same problem after having my Daughter by C-section. I found that if I added small amounts of caffine at least an hour or so before feeding my Daughter it did help. Now when I say small amount I'm talking about A cup of 1/2 caf coffee, or a small glass of sode (Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc.) I also found that if I could take a relaxing HOT shower it helped also. I spoke to other people when it was happening to me and some say that Cold helped them. Take a ice pack and place it over your eyes for 5 mins or so, or on the back of your neck.
Trust me they will go away soon. I think mine lasted about a week to 10 days and I have never had them since. (I do how ever get Migraines...)
Hope this helps.
N.D. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
Congratulations on the birth of your son. I had my daughter 8 weeks ago and we too are on cloud 9. While I have not had this, I just wanted to say "hi" and congratulations.
Hope someone can help you and soon!
J.R. answers from Chicago on April 02, 2007
I had a spinal with my c-section and the headache was HORRIBLE! I have never had a worse one in my life. My Dr called for a 6 pack of Pepsi and had me dring it all within 2 hours. I hated it, but the headache left!
I was also breastfeeding and the baby was fine even with the caffeine.
R. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
I'm prone to migraines and when I had my epidural, the staff warned me that I might get some headaches as a side effect. I had three migranes about a month after birth. When it happened to me at first I knew what to expect (as I have experience with them). I would drink an entire can of coke and lie down in a dark room. Caffiene really does work--I breastfed too, but wasn't as concerned with that. I've thwarted many migraines by catching it early enough with some caffiene(I typically get numbness on one side of body or face which clues me in to what it about to happen). Congratulations on your newborn and I hope the headaches naturally subside the way mine did.
A.K. answers from Chicago on March 30, 2007
I had an epideral headache and had to get a blood patch. Where they actually take some of your blood and put it in the spine. For some reason, when they were putting in the epideral it made a small hole in my spinal column and some fluid leaked out. I got the blood patch-which HURTS, but after 15 minutes of getting it, I had no more headaches. I tried to caffeine and a narotic but the blood patch was the only thing that helped me. It was so bad though that I couldn't sit up to nurse my daughter because when I did I felt like it was going to explode and I felt like I was going to get sick. But I had the headache from the time I left the hospital and it was consistent.
S.B. answers from Chicago on March 31, 2007
I had to have an epi with my first daugher who is 11 because I was ready to push, no dr was there and it all happened so fast, so I did not want it, but they wanted me to not push etc. Anyhow, they warned me it could happen because of something punctured in my back that does not happen much. Anyhow, the next morning, 24 hours later, they had to take me down for a blood patch, where they take blood out of your arm and put it in where the epi went. And also, lots and lots of caffeine is what they wanted me to drink.
S. Bailey CLD