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A 40-year-old member asked:

Will i have future back issues from an epidural? my mother has severe back issues and a specialist told her its caused by an epidural she had over 20 years ago, is this normal?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Cheyenne Babcock
Anesthesiology 23 years experience
No, : No, it is not normal in that it is not true. Low back pain is a serious problem and causes significant suffering, but the use of epidurals has been shown repeatedly to not increase the incidence of back pain. There seems to be a persistence of this belief among many, including doctors, despite this evidence. Anatomically, an epidural catheter is placed between the bones and through a ligament to reach its destination- the epidural space. Most back pain is caused by the discs, nerve roots, and spinal facet joints- none of which should be contacted by the epidural needle or the catheter. During labor and delivery mothers are flexing their hips and curling their spines in an effort to push out the baby. Then, for months and years afterward they are carrying the baby in a car seat, a fifty pound diaper bag, playpen, etc wherever they go. I suspect that these factors are more the cause of back pain in women than was their epidural.
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology 50 years experience
Highly Unlikely: Unless your mother experienced any of the the highly unusual and rare complications of an epidural (nerve injury, epidural/spinal hematoma or infection), the diagnosis she received is highly suspect. In experienced hands, a laboring epidural is safe and highly unlikely to leave you with future back issues...In the short term, minor muscle soreness and numbness for a few hours may occur.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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