After scientists isolated the cocaine alkaloid in 1855, the medical community was eager to adapt it as a form of anesthesia. In 1884, Carl Koller applied it directly to his eyes so that he could poke them with pins (that's drug use for you.) Dr. James Corning experimented on cocaine by injecting it into the spine tissue of dogs. Since the dogs seemed all right, Dr. Corning tried the same experiment on a man with a weak spinal cord. The subject, who lost sensation in his legs for the next hour, reported no major side effects. Several years later, Dr. Heinrich Quincke, from Germany, decided to study the spinal fluid of patients with diseases like meningitis. Since extracting the fluid directly from a patient's backbone would be extremely painful, Dr. Quincke tried puncturing it using a syringe filled with cocaine solution. The experiment worked, but scientists around the world adapted Dr. Corning and Dr. Quinke's methods observed that the majority patients anesthetized with cocaine reported a "frightful headache" lasting for eight days.
Read the full story in "Cocaine Analgesia of the Spinal Cord"