Do Epidurals Contribute to Back Pain in Some Cases?
Last updated Monday, November 7th, 2022
Ask any mother who has recently given birth about how she feels about epidurals. Many women rave about them, which isn’t really a surprise, considering that giving birth is indeed a very painful process. At the point of intense pain, many women welcome the relief that an epidural can provide.
Not everyone uses this type of pain relief. Some are strongly against it. Others wouldn’t even consider giving birth without one. The question is this…
Could epidurals during labor cause long term damage to the body? Are they worth the risk?
What can go wrong?
Epidurals are administered by either an anesthesiologist or obstetrician during active labor in preparation for child birth. Most often, epidurals are administered by an anesthesiologist during active labor.
As the graphic above shows, to numb the body from the insertion point down, a needle and tiny tube is inserted into the lower back and an anesthetic or steroid is administered into the space around spinal nerves.
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Are Epidurals Known to Cause Back Pain?
Although the risk is small, the epidural procedure is conducted by a human being capable of making mistakes. If administered incorrectly, it is possible to damage one or more nerves during the process, which can lead to permanent back pain, leg pain, paralysis, or other problems.
In the case of nerve damage, usually only one nerve is affected. But just one nerve can cause muscle weakness, skin numbness, or back pain.
Improper Administration of Epidurals can Cause Damage to the Spine
As much as none of us want to think about it, it is possible to cause permanent damage to the spine with the administration of an epidural. The needle or catheter could be placed incorrectly and place dangerous pressure on the spinal cord.
If placed by an inexperienced medical professional, the possibility of injury is obviously increased. Even experienced physicians can make a mistake that causes a lifetime of pain, numbness, and suffering.
Was Your Epidural Injury Caused by Medical Negligence?
After receiving an epidural, if you suffer from pain, numbness, or loss of control of your bladder, legs, or anything else from the waist down, it could be caused by inexperience or downright negligence. You could have grounds for a medical malpractice case if you have suffered unnecessarily due to the improper administration of an epidural.
No one wants to have to bring these cases forward. We all want to have tried-and-true procedures that do what they are supposed to do without causing any long- or short-term harm after the fact.
Can You Sue for Nerve Damage from an Epidural?
Yes, you can sue for damages if you have found that your body is not the same after a procedure and believe that it could have been from negligence or incompetence. After all, when you go to a medical professional for treatment, you have to assume that they know what they are doing.
Contact us for some solid advice on bringing a lawsuit against a medical facility or employee. We can offer some practical and straightforward advice.
How Common is Permanent Damage from an Epidural?
Complications from a routine epidural are rare. In most cases, the procedure goes off without a hitch and child birth ends up with a healthy baby and healthy mom.
What is the Most Common Complication of an Epidural Injection?
Although there are often not complications with having an epidural, not everyone can be so lucky. There are a few rare complications that can arise from having an epidural including:
- Maternal Hypotension – Low blood pressure
- Headache – Called a post dural puncture headache
- Temporary nerve damage – The insertion of the needle or catheter can cause temporary damage to the nerves in the spinal column. This usually gets better a few days after the procedure, but can possibly take months or even longer to heal.
- Permanent nerve damage – Although uncommon, it is possible to damage the nerves around the spinal column to the point of that the damage is a permanent problem where the patient loses all feeling to the extremities. This is sometimes caused by injecting the wrong medication, bleeding issues near the spinal column, infection, or direct damage from pressing upon the nerve or spinal column itself.
- Infection – As with any medical procedure, infection is always a possibility. If left untreated, infection could cause problems that span anywhere from a slight uncomfortable feeling to death.
- Loss of bladder control – Usually this is a temporary issue that resolves itself but there is always the possibility of permanent damage when dealing with the spinal column.
How do you Know if You Have Nerve Damage from an Epidural?
After receiving an epidural, some parts of the body may not feel quite right. For the most part, this is normal. However, if the sensation of something being wrong continues or there is a muscle weakness or loss of bladder or bowel control, this could be a sign of permanent nerve damage.
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