Each day this week, we’ll discuss some of the neurological symptoms and complications related to spinal CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leaking. Be sure to check back with us every day.

Today we discuss the most common symptom: HEADACHE. The loss of CSF volume results in a loss of buoyancy of the brain. The main cause of the headache is thought to be from downwards traction on pain-sensitive structures in the head, exaggerated with upright posture. Additionally, engorgement of venous sinuses and other veins may contribute to pain.

Common features and patterns of the headache:
– Usually positional, arising within seconds, minutes or hours of assuming upright posture and improving within minutes or hours of assuming a recumbent position. Over time, this positional aspect can diminish and even disappear. Very occasionally, this positional aspect can be reversed, improved when upright.
– Location of the headache is most often occipital (back of head) or suboccipital (lower aspect of back of head at base of skull) but may be frontal, temporal or diffuse.
– Severity of the headache varies from mild to severe but is sometimes completely absent.
– Degree of disability ranges from mild to severe but is often underestimated.