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Pain Research and Management
Volume 2016, Article ID 4798465, 5 pages
Case Report

The Relief of Unilateral Painful Thoracic Radiculopathy without Headache from Remote Spontaneous Spinal Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak

1Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea
2Catholic Neuroscience Institute, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea
3Department of Neurosurgery, Chosun University Hospital, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea

Received 7 June 2015; Accepted 29 December 2015

Copyright © 2016 Byung-chul Son et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) caused by spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks produces orthostatic headaches. Although upper arm pain or paresthesia is reportedly associated with SIH from spontaneous spinal CSF leak in the presence of orthostatic headache, low thoracic radicular pain due to spontaneous spinal CSF leak unassociated with postural headache is extremely rare. We report a 67-year-old female who presented with chronic, positional radicular right T11 pain. Computed tomography myelography showed a spontaneous lumbar spinal CSF leak at L2-3 and repeated lumbar epidural blood patches significantly alleviated chronic, positional, and lower thoracic radiculopathic pain. The authors speculate that a chronic spontaneous spinal CSF leak not severe enough to cause typical orthostatic headache or epidural CSF collection may cause local symptoms such as irritation of a remote nerve root. There might be considerable variabilities in the clinical features of SIH which can present a diagnostic challenge.