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How are migraines and headaches diagnosed with a spinal tap?

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The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid, which protects them from injury, circulates nutrients, and removes waste from the brain. In a spinal tap, also called lumbar puncture, a doctor removes some of that fluid and sends it to a lab for testing. The test can help doctors diagnose disorders that may involve the brain, spinal cord, or their coverings (meninges). If you have headaches or migraines, your doctor may use a spinal tap to look for signs of infection and/or bleeding in the brain, to measure the pressure around your brain, or to look for other things that could be causing your pain.

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Prepare for a Procedure: Lumbar Puncture.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).”

Mayo Clinic. “Migraine: Diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 29, 2018

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Prepare for a Procedure: Lumbar Puncture.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).”

Mayo Clinic. “Migraine: Diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on August 29, 2018

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