9 doctors weighed in:
Are epidurals and spinals the same thing?
9 doctors weighed in

Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree
In brief: Similar
Both are neuraxial blocks that prevent nerve transmission.
The space that the spinal goes is placed in is adjacent to the epidural space. It is typically a single shot that wears off in a predetermined time. A small catheter can be placed in the epidural space and allow for a variable length of activity. That is why epidurals are more useful for labor. The needles are also a little different.

In brief: Similar
Both are neuraxial blocks that prevent nerve transmission.
The space that the spinal goes is placed in is adjacent to the epidural space. It is typically a single shot that wears off in a predetermined time. A small catheter can be placed in the epidural space and allow for a variable length of activity. That is why epidurals are more useful for labor. The needles are also a little different.
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Thank
Dr. Alan Ali
Psychiatry
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Epidural/Spinal
Spinal is injecting anesthetic into the Subarachnoid space.
Epidural is in the space around the dura mater of the spinal cord.

In brief: Epidural/Spinal
Spinal is injecting anesthetic into the Subarachnoid space.
Epidural is in the space around the dura mater of the spinal cord.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali
Thank
Dr. Megan Bird
Obstetrics & Gynecology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
While they may feel the same to you, they are a little different.
An epidural puts continuous medication in a sac around the spinal cord, providing longer, lower level numbness. Spinals put the medication in the fluid directly around the spinal cord just once. Epidurals numb a little less but longer, spinals numb a lot but only last a shorter period of time.

In brief: No
While they may feel the same to you, they are a little different.
An epidural puts continuous medication in a sac around the spinal cord, providing longer, lower level numbness. Spinals put the medication in the fluid directly around the spinal cord just once. Epidurals numb a little less but longer, spinals numb a lot but only last a shorter period of time.
Dr. Megan Bird
Dr. Megan Bird
Thank
Dr. Julian Goldman
Anesthesiology
In brief: They are different
Spinal and epidural injections share many characteristics.
But, the spinal needle is inserted a few mm deeper than the epidural needle so that it punctures the dura (one of the membranes that cover the spinal cord) and rests in cerebrospinal fluid (csf). Local anesthetic injected in the CSF produces a fast, dense nerve block that numbs all the way to the toes.

In brief: They are different
Spinal and epidural injections share many characteristics.
But, the spinal needle is inserted a few mm deeper than the epidural needle so that it punctures the dura (one of the membranes that cover the spinal cord) and rests in cerebrospinal fluid (csf). Local anesthetic injected in the CSF produces a fast, dense nerve block that numbs all the way to the toes.
Dr. Julian Goldman
Dr. Julian Goldman
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Board Certified, Neurology
48 years in practice
55M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors