Cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, can leak from the spine after a surgery or lumbar puncture, which involves inserting a needle in a patient's back to draw fluid from the spine, MedlinePlus states. CSF is a clear liquid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord.
A CSF leakage may cause drainage from the ear or nose, and sufferers often have headaches that worsen when sitting up, according to MedlinePlus. Nausea, sensitivity to light and neck stiffness are other common symptoms. If the leakage isn't serious, doctors recommend bed rest and an increase in fluid intake for several days. When necessary, doctors apply a blood patch to block the drainage site or perform surgery to repair a severe tear.