Severe spinal pain and body pain after epidural injection during labour

Posted on 27th Mar, 2011 and filed under Chiropractic, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

I have started to come across a lot of women who have had epidurals during labour. It’s not surprising, I believe I read that one in three labouring women will have an epidural. With 30-50% of labours ending in Caesarian sections, I’m sure that it’s probably more than one in three. The disturbing thing is how this is creeping into the cohort of people that I see for back pain. Suddenly there’s a number of women who have sever and bizzare back pain (stomach pain, body pain etc too) and a whole raft of symptoms that aren’t associated with simple dysfunction of the spinal joints. These women typically present with a history of no previous problems before they had a epidural. Generally the epidural was ineffective or the doctor had trouble inserting the needle and catheter. After their birth they are rocked with symptoms.

One women describes a severe neurological reaction which apparently has a 1 in 10,000 chance of occurring. This, for her, included convulsions and vomiting. She now experiences the feeling of crippling spinal pain from her neck to her low back, constant headaches, excruciating pain when bending forward – yet she is able to perform normal spinal range of motion. She’s been through endless tests by doctors and they’ve all put it down to stress or called her crazy (in their round-about way).

Another woman describes waking at night locked into her body which is raging with pain. She is able to wiggle enough to break out of the locked in feeling, and once she gets moving, is able to dissipate the pain. This has been going on since her first birth, where they had difficulty inserting an epidural needle and no pain relief was achieved. It’s hard not to think that it didn’t quite go in the right spot. She is still able to work and mother but is concerned by this distressing pain.

Other women, say my hairdresser, complains of a funny pain in her back ever since the epidural she had for her 3rd child. Nothing severe enough to prevent her from hairdressing, but enough to constantly bother her directly at the site of the injection, and more than 12 months post partum.

There are several things that can go wrong with an epidural and side effects which you can find on the following website:

Other websites of interest include the ASAM society and an article on medical risks on epidual anaesthesia in childbirth but there are a lot of studies out there saying that the risk of back pain a year after childbirth is the same for women who had epidurals and those who didn’t – what I wonder about is whether they are rally talking about just normal mechanical back pain or this strange spinal pain.

All you have to do is type in “severe back pain after epidural” into google and you’ll find yourself surrounded by women with similar experiences trying to get some answers. Can chiropractic help? In cases where the pain is mainly coming from the joints and cord tension, maybe some scar tissue – well that’s what we do. If there are epidural haematomas (blood clots) or major scarring or true nerve damage or death – an MRI and surgical consult are the way to go. For those who have already been through everything and the surgeons have given up and chiropractic is their last hope – it may not be a fast solution but in my experience increasing the health and movement of the spine and spinal cord through chiropractic is fortunately showing some results.

25 Responses

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    • On July 28, 2014, Stacy said:

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  15. On September 7, 2012, asiya said:

    so…… if i have an epidural should i see a chiro afterwards? am i less likely to have after effect pain should i see one?

  16. On March 9, 2013, Molina said:

    This has been so helpful , Im 21 years old , my son is almost 2 and I’ve been suffering for these severe back pains, . I’ve even contemplated quitting my job because i work on a cay and catching the ferry every morning and evening have been horrible to say the least. I neer thought the epidural would have been the cause. Totally going to see my doc. today to talk about it. And hopefully we will get some results.

  17. On May 22, 2013, Tina said:

    there are times that my back seizes and i can’t move or hardly breath i’ve had 3 epidoral shots and C- Sections with all my kids. all the doctors have done for me is given me muscle relaxers to help with the seizing. could there be something more i should worry about? my kids are 6, 5 and 3

    • On May 22, 2013, ClaireRaggio said:

      I’ d definitely find a good chiropractor in your area. They are specialists in mobilising the spine which will help relax your muscles. It may take a while since it has been many years and there is likely a lot of scar tissue and constrictions in the tissue and limitations in movement in your vertebral joints. Without examining you though the information I can give you is limited.

  18. On February 12, 2014, Juicebox said:

    Im seeing a ciro after a car accident and iv had 3 epies and my back hurts a lot should i tell him and wat can i do for the extreme pain in the mean time…it takes my breath away and its everyday seeming to last all day and nite sometimes i wake up wanting to cry because it hurts so much

  19. On November 4, 2014, Lisa said:

    I have experienced extreme pain after each child birth, had 4. Lasted up to 6 months not all the time.just gave birth 9 weeks ago and this is the worst so far. Hope it goes away soon.

  20. On February 11, 2016, Angela said:

    Very helpful info but what if while getting the epidural you experienced shaking in your leg as if you was having a seizure

  21. On February 12, 2016, Liann Elise said:

    I keep finding articles about pain AFTER caused by epidural but I can’t seem to find Anything about causes during, while epidural is in place while your in labor. For my first born I got the epidural and it seemed to be working fine for a while. The nurse kept having me switch sides every so often to balance, I guess you could say, the medication so it is evenly distributed. I didn’t realize at first how often I was to administer my own medication so I didn’t press the button to pump more for maybe a couple hours after I had initially had it placed. Almost 15-20 seconds after I pressed the button I felt a cold trickling sensation down my back and almost instantly my upper back felt like it was being torn apart. It tensed my whole back and I couldn’t move because if I did it made the pain worse. Even without moving the pain was still excruciating and I felt the numbness starting to leave From only half that was frozen. The nurse argued with me saying it was due to being tense and called the anesthesiologist to come up the dose of epidural medication (she didn’t believe me when I said it was from the epidural) despite me asking her not to. After countless repeats of pumping the larger dose, which increased after every failed attempt, they tried fentynol which still didn’t help but only calmed me down so I didn’t rip off the IV and blood pressure cuffs or fall out of the bed cause one half of me was completely frozen. I finally had enough of the pain I refused any more increased doses as it was causing me more pain on top of the contractions that I could feel on the unfrozen half of me. After they removed the epidural the spasms stopped although still I suffer from mid to lower back pain. When my daughter was 14 months I got pregnant again and the pain in back was far worse then the first one throughout pregnancy and I wasn’t going to get the epidural a second time. When in labor I explained the first experience and the nurses and anesthesiologist both were in disbelief and said they haven’t ever heard of this happening before and reassured me it wouldn’t happen again. So I got it done a second time and it felt so good to finally be out of pain as I had pain every day after the birth of my daughter which seemed to worsen with time. The comfort lasted a very very short time cause just like the first time, I pumped the meds, cold trickle, and I held tightly on to he bed cause i knew what came next. The second time was worse then the first which I didn’t even think could be possible. Again the nurses and anesthesiologist thought I was crazy and tried to up doses which I declined since I wasn’t going to put myself through anymore pain. I finally, after 12 hours of excruciating pain, convinced the doctor to give me a c section. I begged for them to not give any more epidural and they assured me they wouldn’t and had to strap my legs and arms down because the pain was so bad I kept trying to find any sort of comfortable position to make it stop. I knew they had lied and given me more epiduralwhen I felt the cold trickle down my back. This is why i know the pain was 150% caused by the epidural with both times I had it done. The cold trickle, followed by back ripping apart. And like the first time, after surgery and epidural was removed, that pain was gone. Is this normal?? I now have such horrible back pain constantly, whether I’m bending over, standing, sitting, even laying down! Of course it’s not like the pain I had while the epidural was there but I didn’t ever have the pain before I had the epidural. I’ve spoken to my physician about my pain I had back X rays done which they found nothing wrong. It’s odd cause even though I can feel the pain and discomfort, it feels like there is also slight numbness. It’s hard really to describe but it feels also like every so often my back seizes up and I have to lay down until it stops. Have you ever heard of this??

  22. On May 29, 2016, Laurie Bordeaux said:

    I had an epidermal almost 23 years ago during the birth of my oldest of 2 boys which resulted in a series of complications and almost losing my child. The good news is my son Derrick who is now 22 survived and if you didn’t know we almost lost him you couldn’t tell. The horrible part is when the anesthesiologist missed six times during the procedure he has left me in crippling pain in that area all these 22 years. I have tremendous pain in my low back at the site of the injection sites abd I remember the horrible migraine I had during delivery followed by years of sciatic pain in both legs, more so on my right but both give me pain. I also have loss of bodily functions at times which causes me to always wear a pad to avoid embarrasing accidents. I’ve tried chiropractic, massage, pain killers, creams, and even Epsom salts baths however I still wake up everyday in such horrible pain that it takes me a good 15 to 20 minutes to get out of bed and start moving around. Chiropractic, massage and physical therapies worked wonders until it got to be too expensive to keep going. I can no longer work due to the horrible pain, and the migraines and the loss of control of my bladder and I am trying to get approved for disability at the age of 42 but treatments and diagnoses are difficult to get when you loose jobs for absences from ER visits and bed ridden days. Most of the women on here have all had their pain and symptoms go away after a period of time, which makes me wonder if there are other women out there that are in crippling pain and sciatic and neuropathy that was all brought on after their epidermal? I’ve had migraines most of my life and they run in my family just like so many other auto immune disorders like Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Heart Disease and Dementia. My question is whether there is a link between my symptoms and these family history of ailments? I find myself is so much pain everyday in which I thank God everyday I wake up with pain because at least I’m not paralyzed. It just would be nice to have some answers and not be treated like I’m making all this up. I wish I were because I could snap out of it. But that is so not the case. I don’t sleep well and suffer from fatigue, insomnia, migraines, tremendous wide spread pain, sun sensitivities, frequent heartburn and endless amounts of GI and IBS issues, Vertigo, Motion Sickness, sharp stabbing pains, pins and needle sensations, tingling and numbness, sensitivities to noise, indoor and sun light, perfumes, chemicals, dyes, and nearly anything with a strong scent..that I usually stay in my PJ’s and in my room just to avoid another attack. Depression has taken a huge toll on me and I take enough medications and supplements I could probably open my own Pharmacy. Does anyone out there experience any of the same issues even nearly 2 decades after child birth?

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