CSF Leaks and Low-Pressure Headaches

CSF Leaks and Low-Pressure Headaches

Mississippi Headache Symposium Faculty member Ian Carroll presented this year on CSF leaks and low-pressure headaches. He spoke about the difficulty in recognizing the condition for its many overlaps with other headache disorders. 

Low (and high) pressure headaches are all too commonly misdiagnosed as chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache or sinusitis. The Headache Center has the most experienced team of headache experts in the state of Mississippi focused on correctly diagnosing and treating patients with chronic daily headaches that are refractory to common treatments.

Please take a moment to read this informative article on low-pressure headaches.

Here are some highlights:

  • Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are treatable, often misdiagnosed, and can cause a neurologic syndrome that may include daily headache, fatigue, nausea, and tinnitus (ringing ears).
  • Although CSF leaks may not be readily apparent on imaging, a suspected CSF leak is important to consider because it is treatable.
  • Patients initially may be diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or chronic migraine when a CSF leak is causing their symptoms. It is a tragedy when patients “have a fixable leak and … nothing is done to treat that underlying problem,” Dr. Carroll said.

Whether you, yourself, are suffering from a headache disorder, or you’re trying to learn how to help a loved one who is in pain, understanding the condition is important. See our resource pages to explore a variety of articles and videos designed to provide education about diagnosis and optimal treatment. And remember, we’re here to help.



If you suspect you may be experiencing a headache disorder–whether migraine, low pressure headache, tension-type headache, or facial pain–the best thing you can do for your health is to contact a professional immediately. There is no substitute for evaluation by a qualified headache specialist.

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