Anesthesiologist Questions Back Pain

Pain in the back. Is it due to epidural?

I underwent my second delivery a year back. Ever since my delivery I have been having a sharp and shooting pain in my lower back almost where the epidural was administered during my c-section procedure. Is it a side effect of the surgery?

10 Answers

Unlikely, usually due to the pregnancy itself. Should resolve.
Back pain from epidurals is rare. Talk to the person who gave the epidural if there were any problems
More likely from the stretching of ligaments/tendons. May be a spine/ nerve root issue. Pain lasting so long after the delivery is unlikely to have been caused by the epidural

I am sorry to hear you are suffering terribly with back pain. If the spinal/epidural is performed in the standard manner, then you should have nothing more than soreness temporarily. Women sometimes develop back strain during pregnancy or labor that can get aggravated.

Congratulations for your baby.

Dr Ketch
SPINAL or epidural anesthesia do not cause long term backaches. Studies of thousands of women show that many women have their first real backache complaint episodes after childbirth, and this occurs whether or not they had spinal or epidural anesthetics. Sometimes, epidurals cause a sore spot over the injection site, but that usually is like a bruise and it goes away like a bruise. If you had an abdominal delivery, that also does not cause long term backache. If you had a forceps or instrumental vaginal delivery, that can cause injury directly to individual nerves when the baby or the instruments contact the nerves which go through the birth canal. Those type of injuries are usually apparent right after childbirth.

If you are having a pain which really "shoots" or radiates downward into your buttock or down your leg, you may have a spinal disc which has irritated a nerve root. This may require treatment to soothe the irritation. Treatment might include massage, chiropractic care, and/or medications. Most back aches go away within six months with or without treatment. Childbearing, delivery, caring for a growing infant, bending and twisting, prolonged sitting, and aging all are causes of disc "bulging" and nerve root irritation.
Off-hand I want to say no, if you had an uneventful smooth epidural catheter insertion and pain relief was appropriate. If one had long labor and backache during the pregnancy, then one is prone to have backaches even without epidural.
Pain in injection site could be a complication of epidural anesthesia for childbirth.
Typically one should not have pain occurring a year post delivery from an Epidural anesthetic. Other source(s) of pain should be ruled out. A plain-x-ray of the effected area may be warranted initially. If after this nothing is found, clinical exam with an orthopedic specialist may be helpful to further determine the cause of the pain. This may include but not be limited to physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, if warranted clinically a MRI or CT if the cause is not found or the situation resolving with conservative therapy.
Not likely. Provided epidural placement was uncomplicated it is more likely a side effect of pregnancy itself. As the body readjusts after delivery the spine can change in a way that gives this type of pain. You need to be seen and check if there is a muscle or nerve issue which can be treated but you do need to be seen by a doc.
There are no clinical studies that suggest that epidural injections during delivery or cesarean section causes chronic back pain.
Many times pregnancy itself whether from the weight of the baby, or the hormones that relax for back and pelvic muscles, or poor posture because of the full uterus is the cause of back pain after delivery. Pregnancy hormones sometimes mask this pain while pregnant and as their levels go down after delivery the pain becomes more apparent. Especially for the caring mother that is now carrying the baby.
If the epidural injection was complicated, like many attempts were done, and some of them landed where they’re not supposed to be, it may cause some postprocedural pain, although unlikely to become chronic.