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Back Pain After Epidural: This May Change Your Mind

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Although there are benefits of the epidural, there are just as many risks we often rarely hear about: numbness, headaches, and nausea to start.

However, in this article, we’ll be focusing on back pain after the epidural.

Epidural anesthesia is without a doubt the most popular method of pain relief during labor in the US. With over 50% of women opting for this approach, we can say that it does help giving birth a far easier and less painful experience. However, it is important to understand the complications of any medical procedure before giving birth.

Unfortunately, upon discovery across the blogosphere, we’ve read an astounding amount of complaints regarding back pain post epidural. Pain may persist for days or weeks and then slowly fade or may become a real chronic concern, creating suffering that does not diminish with the passage of time.

One woman reached out for answers on spine-health.com who after two epidurals have been experiencing ongoing pain for five years. She wasn’t sure how long she should wait til it gets worse because according to her back specialist, she couldn’t be taken seriously.

Another woman has experienced a pins and needles pain in her upper and lower back. More alarmingly, during her epidural, she felt an intense electrical current shoot down her right leg down to her foot.

While further looking into the after effects of anesthesia, there’s not a lot of information on a resolution for these women who are affected by it. Also, doctors avoid the subject by denying the possibility that an epidural can be the cause of these life changing issues.

Epidural in a Nutshell

Let me quickly break down what an epidural is. The goal of an epidural to remove pain relief in by way of losing total feeling in a particular region of your body. The epidural blocks the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segment. So for the most part, the lower half of your body will experience some level of numbness.

According to americanpregnancy.org, A small area on your back will be injected with the local anesthetic to numb it. Next, a needle is inserted into the numbed area surrounding the spinal cord in the lower back.

After that, a small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space. The needle is carefully removed with the catheter in place and taped to the back to prevent it from slipping out. For more information on epidurals check out Epidurals: 6 Things You Need To Know

Back pain commonly occurs after epidural anesthesia 18.9% of the time. Nineteen percent of women had a long-term backache after epidural anesthesia. It results from a combination of its effects on the nerves and extreme postures and stretching that occurs after the epidural during labor. It isn’t for the faint of heart, and more importantly, it isn’t appealing if you’re interested in a non-interventional natural pregnancy.

Back Pain After an Epidural

The Back Pain Authority explains causes of back pain after an epidural,

Epidural injections penetrate the skin, muscular tissues, connective tissues and then enter into the central spinal canal.  Some epidural injections are directed into specific intervertebral discs, while others are directed into the deepest layers of the dura mater.  The goal of the procedure will determine its specific anatomical target.

Since the spinal canal contains nerves, the spinal cord, blood vessels and other sensitive and vital tissues, the possibility for injury exists to any of these structures.  Additionally, discs can suffer annular tears from needle placement and this might create the ideal circumstances for intervertebral rupture, nucleus extrusion, nucleus migration and/or nucleus sequestration. Any of these circumstances can result in an acute or chronic pain problem.

Keep in mind that the back pain after labor is different from the pain post epidural. Pain related to an epidural should come from the place where the needle was injected.

However, you may experience any of the following if you do experience any back pain post epidural:

  • Your back pain is getting worse rather than better.
  • Tenderness or bruising is to be expected, but it should interfere with your everyday activities.
  • Any redness or swelling develops around the site where the needle was put into your back.
  • Any discharge or pus in the area where the spinal needle was put into your back.
  • Any change in sensation, numbness or pins and needles in your back, legs or feet that you did not notice while you were in the hospital.
  • Any backaches, headaches or neck stiffness that is accompanied by a fever, worsens when you sit or stand up or does not go away after some time

How to Treat Back Pain After an Epidural

For those experiencing any ongoing pain would have to see a neurologist. A panel of tests such as nerve conduction studies, MRI and CT scan would be facilitated to help figure out the root of the damage. Following the trial, the patient would then follow a treatment plan including physiotherapy and exercise.

Is it Normal to Have Back Pain After an Epidural?

I feel like we should be asking is it normal to have an epidural or any medical intervention during the birthing process? Granted there are risks even with giving birth the natural route and there are a lot of internal and environmental aspects that can deter a mother from giving birth naturally. But by eliminating these sketchy methods of pain relief, we are giving our body the chance it deserves to give birth the way nature intended it to be.

More Great Information on Epidurals

5 Dangers of Epidurals

3 Powerful Pain Relief Alternatives

Will You or Will You Not Get An Epidural

Sources:

Epidural Anesthesia

kemh.health.wa.gov.au

healing-arts.org

spine-health.com

patient.info

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