Can Getting An Epidural Cause Long
While its very rare, having an epidural procedure can lead to some long-term complications, including:
- Permanent neurologic deficit due to spinal cord or nerve root damage from the epidural injection.
- Chronic pain due to due to spinal cord or nerve root damage from the epidural injection.
- Permanent paralysis from a hematoma that occurs when theres a buildup of blood between the dura mater and the spinal cord.
Back Pain After An Epidural
For many women, an epidural is something opted for during their childs delivery. It can be a helpful aid, but it can also leave you with low back pain in the aftermath that lasts for weeks or even months. Heres what you need to know about back pain after an epidural, what you can do about it, and how your chiropractor can help.
Complaints After an Epidural
After an epidural and delivery, some women experience these symptoms:
- Pain at the injection site
- Numbness or pain in the back
- Issues rotating the body
- Sharp pains when standing or sitting for long periods
- Unstable back or hips
The truth of the matter is that the relationship between back pain and epidurals isnt something that is well studied. But what has been found is that about 33 percent of women experience back pain after an epidural. The cause or mechanism of the pain isnt clear, but that doesnt mean the pain youre experiencing isnt legitimate.
You have to keep in mind that pregnancy and childbirth also take a toll on the body, especially in the lower back and pelvis, plus weakened muscles in the core due to the expansion of the uterus. Weight gain, hormone changes, and looseness of the ligaments and tendons in the joints can also all contribute to pain after you have a baby.
How the Chiropractor Can Help
What You Can Do
- Extension exercise
- Stretching routine
- Core building exercises
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Have a think about any questions you would like to ask your doctor before you decide whether to have an epidural spinal injection or not. Here are some example questions you might like to ask.
- What other treatment options do I have to relieve my pain?
- What can I expect to happen after Ive had my epidural injection?
- Will I be able to exercise after the injection? Are there any types of exercise that it’s best not to do?
- Should I have physiotherapy or other some rehabilitation after having my epidural injection?
- How can I tell if my epidural injection has worked? How long will it take until I know if it’s worked?
- What is the likelihood of the procedure working? How long will the effects last?
- How will you reduce the risk of complications?
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When Is An Epidural Steroid Injection The Best Choice For Managing Your Back Pain
Back pain is tricky business. It can stem from a variety of causes and result in an array of symptoms. Sometimes your backs just achy from overuse, and a gentle massage or a warm bath can relieve your pain. But if your back has been bothering you for more than six weeks, or if youre pain is so extreme its debilitating, its time to seek professional help.
Here at the Premier Spine Institute, Bonaventure Ngu, MD, specializes in helping people manage and even eliminate their back pain through a series of conservative, noninvasive, minimally invasive, and surgical treatments, including epidural steroid injections.
Perception: None Of The Medication Used Reaches The Baby
Reality: “Any medication that you take to relieve pain will reach the baby,” Grant says. “However, with an epidural, the amount that enters your bloodstream is quite small, and with a spinal, it’s even smaller.” While further studies are needed, the small amount of medication absorbed by the baby is not known to cause harm, says Cynthia Wong, M.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
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New Back Pain After Epidural
Many people receive epidural injections when giving birth or when undergoing specific types of surgery that allow or require them to be awake, while still enjoying complete pain relief. Others must undergo an epidural injection for some diagnostic purpose, such as a lumbar puncture, to ascertain specific criteria about the cerebral spinal fluid.
These people might not have any back pain before the injection, but statistics show that a fair number will have lingering pain after the injection. 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.
Doctors will rarely concede that the injection is the cause of said pain , but it is obvious that in epidural recipients without a history of back problems, the injection certainly does seem to be the most logical cause of the persistent symptomatic complaint.
How Long Does An Epidural Nerve Block Injection Last
This type of injection doesnt always bring pain relief. But if it does, the benefits can last up to a few months. Doctors may also use epidural injections to find the source of your pain. In this case, the injection will target a specific nerve. If it helps your pain, your doctor will know shes found the right nerve.
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Sedatives And/or Anesthetic May Be Used
If necessary, a relaxation medication may be given through an intravenous line in the patients arm, but the patient is usually conscious during this procedure. The treatment area in the lower back is numbed with a local anesthetic injection before the epidural is given, so the epidural injection procedure is usually painless.
An epidural steroid injection procedure may take about 30 minutes to administer. A tingling or mild burning sensation, or the feeling of pressure may be experienced as the medication enters the epidural space. When the injection is completed, the irritation and discomfort usually disappear within a few minutes. Patients typically return home after a few hours. Specific post-injection precautions are followed over the next few days.
Can Getting An Epidural Cause Back Problems
Theres a common belief that getting an epidural will lead to back pain, but its very rare for an epidural to cause long-term or chronic back problems.
Its normal to experience temporary back pain or tenderness at the site of your epidural. This usually goes away within a few days.
This belief likely stems from the fact that many people who go through childbirth experience back pain after labor and delivery whether theyve had an epidural or not. This is because the bones and ligaments in your pelvis are shifting back into their original positions from before your pregnancy, which can cause back pain and discomfort.
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Perception: The Needle Used Is Gigantic And It Hurts When Inserted
Reality: The epidural needle is left in place for only a minute or twojust long enough to insert a skinny, flexible catheter the size of a pencil lead into the epidural space. The spinal needle is much smallerthe width of a thick piece of hair. But before this happens, the injection site is numbed with a local anesthetic, at which point you will feel a pinch and sting for about 10 seconds. You’ll feel pressure, but not pain, when the epidural and/or spinal itself is given.
How Do You Know If Your Nerve Damaged From Epidural
Like every other medical procedure, epidurals are usually safe but sometimes come with side effects or complications. One of these includes temporary or permanent nerve damage.
Although uncommon, the puncture needle can damage the injection siteâs nerves, which causes a loss of feeling and movement in your lower body.
There may also be some numbness in other areas with normal body movement and strength. Permanent nerve damage could lead to numbness in one or both legs and can result from the following
- Infections that have spread to the epidural site or around the spinal cord
- Pressure in the spinal cord from bleeding in the epidural area
- Administering the wrong injection into the epidural catheter
- Direct damage to the spinal cord from the epidural catheter or spinal needle
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Is Increased Pain After Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection Normal
Epidurals are one of the most effective ways of treating pain and other issues in the spinal column. As a minimally-invasive method of delivering drugs and medication straight to the body, these injections play a vital role in keeping many back-related conditions like spinal stenosis and sciatica manageable. Epidural steroid injections have seen marked success in treating acute and chronic pain, with long-term results.
But what if theres increased pain after a lumbar epidural steroid injection? Typically this indicates post-injection pain or sensitivity. This is a mild side-effect that should subside within a day, and shouldnt be too painful for you. Any deviation from this characteristic should be taken as the beginning of a serious complication and reported immediately to a doctor.
When Epidural Steroid Injections May Be Used
Lumbar epidural injections are typically used in the treatment of conditions that cause irritation and/or inflammation of spinal nerve roots with associated lower back and leg pain. Most common lower back conditions treated include1:
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It Started A Couple Months After Her Birth And Has Only Gotten Worse
I remember a nurse/assistant holding me while I sat on the table, telling me to bend slightly forward. It didn’t happen the first time but after a few tries, I started to feel my lower body go numb.
It wasnt exactly painful, but it was uncomfortable and strange. Little did I know the pain would come afterwards.
My daughter is now two years old, and my back pains are so severe sometimes that I can hardly even turn or move at night when in bed.
Some days, the aches are so intense I dont even know how to sit or stand. It started a couple months after her birth and has only gotten worse.
Treating Back Pain After Epidurals: What To Do
Pregnancy often comes with a lot of pain and aches, including back pain. This is usually a result of postural changes, loosened joints, and overstretched muscles. However, some women may not even have any serious back pain until after delivery. Sometimes, preemptive steps like epidurals may not even shield you from pain after childbirth.
Do not fret!
Theres a way to manage the pain. In this article, wed talk about epidurals what it is, if it really causes back pain, and how to treat it.
Read on to find out!
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Why Moms Complain Of Backache After An Epidural
A recent study revealed that epidural analgesia is to blame for backaches. The study argues that when moms go for days without sensitivity, it is practically impossible for them to know when their posture affects the spine. Poor positions for prolonged periods are reasons for lower backache. Lower back pain could also be a result of muscle and ligament trauma during the insertion of the epidural needle.
Lower Risk At Spinal Levels L4 And Below
In general, epidural injections administered for spinal levels L4 or lower carry a lesser risk of complication compared to higher levels.10,11 The injections are typically performed under fluoroscopy with a contrast dye. Fluoroscopy helps guide the needle to the accurate location and helps prevent nerve and/or artery damage.1
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What Is An Epidural
Formally known as epidural anesthesia, this is a regional anesthetic thats administered through your lower back. Its designed to block pain in the lower half of your body.
An epidural is considered a local anesthetic because youre awake when its given. Epidurals are usually provided by:
- an anesthesiologist
- an obstetrician
- a nurse anesthetist
If youre considering or already had an epidural, know that theyre extremely common among people who give birth at a hospital.
Theres a common belief that having an epidural will lead to back pain. But according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, theres no credible evidence that having an epidural will lead to permanent back pain.
Even people who dont get epidurals may experience back pain after labor and delivery.
This is because your bones and ligaments especially those in your pelvis are shifting back into their original positions from before your pregnancy. As your body returns to its original alignment, it can cause back pain.
While permanent back pain is unlikely, that doesnt mean epidurals dont have temporary side effects.
In fact, its not uncommon to have temporary back pain or soreness at the injection site where the needle was inserted. The soreness usually goes away in a few days.
Even if your back pain is due to your joints adjusting during the postpartum period, you still deserve to get some relief! There are plenty of ways to ease back pain at home, including the following:
Chiropractic Care For Back Pain After Childbirth
At Glacier Chiropractic in Seattle and Ballard, we can help you find relief from your epidural back pain. Whether you started seeing us during your pregnancy, or are seeking treatment as a new postpartum patient, we will tailor a treatment plan just for you.
Your postnatal chiropractic care will depend on the result of your initial examination and may include spinal adjustments as well as recommended stretches and exercises to help realign and strengthen your spine.
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Potential Benefits Of Epidural Steroid Injections
Most practitioners will agree that an epidural injection can be beneficial during an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. The main drawbacks of the injections are that they are not always effective, and when effective, the pain relief tends to be temporary, ranging from one week to one year. Typically, if the initial injection is effective, up to 3 injections may be given in one year.
When administered in the lumbar epidural space, steroid injections may have the following benefits:
- Reduce nerve pain and inflammation. Steroids decrease the production of inflammatory chemicals and reduce the sensitivity of nerve fibers to pain, generating fewer pain signals.3,4
- Limit oral medication. Pain relief from these injections may help limit or eliminate the need for oral medications,4 some of which may have side effects when taken long-term.
- Continue or re-engage in physical therapy. This injection may provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative physical therapy program.1
- Postpone surgery. Pain relief experienced from lumbar epidural steroid injections may help postpone surgery, and if physical therapy is effective, it may eliminate the need for surgical intervention.4,5
Several techniques may be used to administer an epidural injection depending on underlying the condition, the patients needs, and the doctors preference and experience.
Potential Risks And Contraindications For Epidural Injections
Epidural steroid injections are considered a relatively safe and minimally invasive. Temporary side effects may occur in some cases and include :
- Post-injection pain
- Flushing of the face
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How Long Will The Relief Last
The length of pain relief from an epidural injection varies from one person to another from a few days to many months. You may need periodic injections.
Its also possible that an epidural injection will not relieve your pain, even for a short while. In this case, your doctor will help you explore other therapeutic approaches.
But even if the relief is only temporary, it may last long enough to help you benefit from a rehabilitation program that involves stretching and exercise to promote longer-term improvement.
Causes Of Postpartum Back Pain
The vast majority of women who experience postpartum back pain develop the symptoms due to pregnancy-related changes in the musculoskeletal system that persist after delivery. In some cases, women may undergo bodily trauma during childbirth that directly involves the lower back and pelvic bones, joints, and/or soft tissues, causing additional pain and discomfort. The type of deliveryvaginal, instrumental, or cesarean section may also have a role to play in postpartum back pain.4
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Aftercare For Epidural Injection
Your doctor or nurses will take you to a recovery room after the procedure. The nursing staff will monitor you for a short time before you’re able to leave. Sometimes, theyll ask you to lie flat for around 30 minutes or so. They may check your blood pressure or pulse, and ask if you’re experiencing any side-effects. The nursing staff looking after you will make sure that you can stand up when you feel ready.
You’ll usually be able to go home within a few hours after your injection, and sometimes much sooner. But youll need somebody to drive you home you won’t be able to drive yourself. Ideally, you should also have someone stay with you for your first night at home after your procedure.
It can take several days to feel any effects from the injection. In fact, some people find that their pain gets worse at first. This should settle down within a few days. Try to keep as active as you can, and as your pain improves, you can gradually increase how much you do.