Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is a physiological parameter that has gained considerable attention during the last few decades. The incidence of complications arising from increased IAP, known as intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) or abdominal compartment syndrome in critically ill patients, is high and its impact is significant. The effects of IAP in neurological conditions and during surgical procedures are largely unexplored. IAP also appears to be relevant during neurosurgical procedures (spine and brain) in the prone position, and in selected cases, IAH may affect cerebrospinal fluid drainage after a ventriculoperitoneal shunt operation. Furthermore, raised IAP is one of the contributors to intracranial hypertension in patients with morbid obesity. In traumatic brain injury, case reports described how abdominal decompression lowers intracerebral pressure. The anatomical substrate for transmission of the IAP to the brain and venous system of the spine is the extradural neural axis compartment; the first reports of this phenomenon can be found in anatomical studies of the sixteenth century. In this review, we summarize the available knowledge on how IAP impacts the cerebrospinal venous system and the jugular venous system via two pathways, and we discuss the implications for neurosurgical procedures as well as the relevance of IAH in neurological disorders.