Can Epidurals Cause Back Pain Years Later?


Epidural injections during labor can help to relieve the pain associated with contractions and delivery. However, some women who received epidurals during labor report back pain that persists for years. While an epidural injection might leave you with some soreness at the injection site for several days or weeks, it is not typical for people to experience chronic or recurring back pain caused by epidural injections. However, an epidural injection might cause ongoing pain if the anesthesiologist accidentally damages the spinal nerves, spine, or other structures when inserting the needle.


To correctly place an epidural during labor and delivery, an anesthesiologist must be precise. The needle must be inserted into the epidural space while going just deep enough that it doesn’t penetrate the dura surrounding the spine. When something goes wrong, damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves might occur and cause long-term complications.


Epidurals as a Potential Cause of Back Pain

Research findings about whether back pain might be caused by epidural injections are mixed. One literature review found that there was no significant difference in the risks of suffering long-term back pain between mothers who received epidural injections and those who didn’t. However, the researchers stated that more data was required to evaluate potential side effects associated with the placement and administration of epidural injections and the medications used. Other studies have found a link between back pain and epidural injections, including a study published in the journal Anesthesiology that found that up to 31% of people who receive epidural injections might suffer back pain when they didn’t report experiencing similar pain before the procedure.


Most women who suffer back pain after an epidural injection report their pain is mild does not prevent them from engaging in normal activities and can be easily treated with conservative treatment such as rest. While it is rare, some women have reported suffering lasting back pain following an epidural, either that occurs alone or with neurological symptoms. When this type of pain follows an epidural injection, it will require the help of expert medical witnesses to support the liability claim. If you have suffered persistent pain or neurological dysfunction following an epidural, you should see your doctor to rule out other causes or serious injuries.


Improper Administration of Epidurals and Spinal Damage

If an epidural anesthetic is administered improperly, spinal damage can occur. Epidural anesthesia works as a nerve block by placing anesthetic medication into the epidural area surrounding the nerve. Below the area of the injection, the woman will be numb or only feel pressure but no pain. Anesthesiologists insert long needles with a tiny catheter into the space close to the spinal cord. Once the needle and catheter are properly placed, the anesthesiologist will remove the needle and secure the catheter.


The catheter will then be used to inject medications into the epidural space to provide pain relief. Because of the close proximity of the needle and catheter to the spine, any issues with placement can cause spinal injuries or nerve damage. Women who suffer nerve damage might experience associated back pain that continues for years. Those whose spinal cords are injured might suffer more serious injuries, including the potential for paralysis.


Epidural Birth Injuries and Malpractice Claims

When an anesthesiologist improperly places an epidural needle and catheter and damages nearby nerves or the spinal cord, serious injuries can result. Anesthesia errors from epidural injections might result in chronic pain, neurological symptoms, and spinal cord injuries. If you suffer these types of problems following an epidural procedure, you should speak with an experienced malpractice attorney. There are numerous risks associated with epidural injections, including the potential for injuries to both the mothers and babies.


An experienced malpractice lawyer can consult with a medical expert and help you understand whether you have a viable claim. If it appears that your injuries were caused by an anesthesiologist’s negligence, you might be able to hold the doctor accountable for their actions and recover compensation for your losses.


Epidural injury claims frequently depend on the testimony of medical experts who can explain how the negligence occurred and caused your injuries. Your lawyer will help to find an expert who can review your medical records and work closely with them to determine liability in your case. Once you realize that you are suffering long-term pain following an epidural, you should act quickly. You will need to ensure that you file a claim within the statutory limitations period to prevent the loss of your rights to pursue compensation.


Talk to Our Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys

If you are suffering chronic back pain and other symptoms after receiving an epidural injection, you should speak to the lawyers at Raynes & Lawn. We have handled thousands of claims on behalf of our clients over the past 50 years and can help you determine whether your claim has legal merits. To learn more about your legal rights and potential options, contact us today to request a free case evaluation by calling us at 1-800-535-1797.


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