Did epidural anaesthesia caused my backache?

Image credit: Evil Erin

I was told recently during a TCM treatment session that my constant backache is due to the epidural anaesthesia administered to relief my labor pain some years back. I hadn’t thought of that although Ive heard of the link between epidural anaesthesia and postpartum back pain. In fact, this is why some women I know refused to have the pain relief.

However, according to this medical source, any increased risk of low back pain after epidural anaesthesia is small and transient.

Women who underwent epidural anaesthesia during delivery had an increased incidence of low back pain only on the first day after delivery, possibly because of local musculoligamentous trauma associated with insertion of the needle. At seven days and six weeks after delivery there was no difference in the incidence of low back pain in women who did not have epidural anaesthesia.

Another medical article in Singapore also dispeled backaches cause by epidural as a myth.

Personally, I’m not exactly sure if my back pain is caused by the epidural anaesthesia I had. It isn’t exactly bad but it’s there since I had my child. Anyway, it was impossible not to have some form of relief during the 11 hours of labor as my threshold for pain wasn’t very high then.

But I’m curious. Do you have a case of back pain if you are one of those who have opted for an epidural anaesthesia during your delivery?


  1. coco says:

    from what i was told, your back bone ‘softens’ to get ready for birth and takes around 6 months after birth to ‘harden’ back. women must take good care of their back during these 6 months because it’s easily damaged or misaligned which causes back pain. the only solution is to get pregnant again, have the bone softened and hopefully it will be properly aligned back to normal during the soften state.w

  2. stella says:

    never had a kid but western and eastern medicine do operate in very different paradigms so that may account for the different opinions you got

    and try pilates!

  3. Reese says:

    My mum told me the same thing about the epidural anesthesia, how it can affect the back of your body and also the memory. Usually these would take effect a few years later (maybe due to aging?!), on and off body detox would help I guess.

  4. Kaith says:

    Oh, this is quite interesting. I never had epidural when I gave birth to both my children but I had general anesthesia. I can attest though that my lower back was a killer a few months after I delivered.

  5. sesame says:

    Oh…that’s interesting! I haven’t heard of our bones softening. Hmm…but my pelvic bone is apparently lopsided after giving birth. ?

  6. sesame says:

    I suppose…I haven’t tried pilates (me very lazy). But I’m thinking of going for accupuncture.

  7. sesame says:

    I had quite bad aches right after delivery but nowadays, it’s better except for days when I have PMS.

  8. sesame says:

    I think it’s pretty common especially with the carrying and diaper changing.

  9. Berry says:

    I had three epidurals. I don’t have back pain. There’s another old wives tale that washing your hair (with water) during confinement period will give you back pain. Maybe you are spending too many long hours on the computer and your seating/positioning are not ergonomic. I also recommend you try the exercise machines at the gym for strengthening back muscles. They will help you in the long run. And perhaps ask your doc to refer yo for a DEXA bone scan to make sure you are not at risk for osteoporosis in your spine.

  10. sesame says:

    Ya, I suspect it’s probably more due to my seating position or sometimes bending while doing work. That’s why I didn’t link it to my epidural at all until I was told. But I did notice the back pain came after delivering my child and not before so also not sure if there’s any truth there.

    I did hear something about washing hair but never realized it’s also linked to back pain.

    I’ve been taught a set of exercise to strengthen my back but I’ve been too lazy with that and only does it occasionally. But I should get the DEXA bone scan you mentioned. Thanks for reminding me!

  11. Tine says:

    I remembered telling my aunt in passing that when I do start expecting, I’d want an epidural for the delivery. She advised me against it, and told me that her chronic back pain was due to the epidural she had many years ago. I can’t be sure if it’s true, but you’re now the second person to tell me about it. I guess, better to be safe than sorry?

  12. sesame says:

    I’m not sure myself…I have been hearing but I can’t confirm. I think it might depend on individuals since some have said they don’t experience any backache at all.

  13. Berry says:

    If you can do without an epidural, well and good for you. But do note that midwives are very keen to encourage epidurals beacause they make the labour and delivery proceed more quickly and smoothly for them as well as the patient (if most patients did not have epidurals, they would be constantly having to summon the nurse for other types of pain relief or else moaning or screaming and distracting the rest of the patients).

  14. Gina says:

    Hi, I also had an epidural a year ago to have a kidney removed, so my back ache cannot be contributed to the loosening up of ligaments due to pregnancy. I suffer severe pain at the sight of my epidural and cannot sleep at night for it. I also suffer headaches and neck ache. I believe this is as a direct result of my epidural

  15. sesame says:

    Have you tried consulting a doctor for that? I’m based in Singapore so we have TCM here and I’m considering acupuncture soon. Hope that will help me.

  16. Amber says:

    I had my daughter nearly 6 months ago and my lower back is killing me. At first I thought it was related to the bladder infection I got and then the kidney infection (believed those were caused by catheterization in hospital) But those are gone and the pain is still there and gets worse by the week. I had an epidural I mean with 18 hours of labor it was necessary. After the first 8 hours of labor and nothing progressing I just couldn’t do the pain anymore. My lower back pain got bad in my 3rd trimester and continued after I gave birth, now nearly 6 months later the pain gets worse by the day. I’m starting to wonder myself if the epidural caused it. My doctor doesn’t think anything about it. He says you have a baby and you probably just strained it. My mom who is a nurse said its normal to have back pain a few months after giving birth. But really 6 months? Is that normal.

    This was something interesting and I will be looking into it further. I’m considering seeing a chiropractor

  17. sesame says:

    I’ve had constant bad pain too and I’ve had my child 7 years ago. The ache is not so bad except for days when I’m having my period. But it’s a nudging pain ache that doesn’t go away.

  18. Becky Forbes says:

    i had an epidural and i suffer from excuciating back pain!! ive tried everthign chiropractor, acupuncture, exercise and nothing works. ive been pparalyzed with pain for the past month! im a single working mother of 2 one who has special needs and i cannot go on like this! there is more to it than a pulled muscle but not ONE health professional will listen to me.. whats a person to do do…i know there is a link.

  19. Becky Forbes says:

    the doctors told me the same thing! ive been to the chiropractor and acupuncture but even so a pulled muscle doesnt last for over a monthe without letting up.i have 3 friends that have experienced back out of the blue and lo and behold….they have ALL had epidurals. ive tried to look into this furthre only to be shut down by the medical profession!:(

  20. DEE says:

    There has to be a link between epidurals and back pain. I have 3 children, 10,9 and 5. The back pain was mild between birth and pregnancies. But, now that the kids are older the pain is absolutely horrible. I am an active parent, I eat right exercise. I attend all the basketball games and cheerleading fro the kids, and I run my own business. But, with all of that. I am 100yrs. old when I stop each day. The pain in my back is the worst pain. I began exercising more because I thought I wasn’t doing ebough, but all I managed to do was make a bad situation worse. Please I urge you, if possible DO NOT get any EPIDURAL.

  21. Lula says:

    I had my first child 11 months ago. I was stuck 3 times before it was done properly and bruised up shortly after. The back pain started as the epidural was wearing off. I was in so much pain that I could hardly get out of the bed at the hospital. The first few weeks after, I was miserable. I couldn’t bend or stretch. I consulted my doctor who told me that it was normal and would go away in a few weeks time. Well, it’s been 11 months and it hasn’t worn off at all. I have a few moments during the day where I am not in pain, but the majority of the time I am uncomfortable at best. it has gotten worse now since my daughter has become mobile, and the area around where I received the injection swells and is sore to the touch. I have been waiting now for 5 months to get in to see a back specialist. During labor, the epidural is a good thing. But I don’t think I will ever get one agin.

  22. Georgina says:

    Lower back pain is really so hard to target, in certain cases, yoga exercise is an excellent choice for pain relief.

  23. Roza says:

    Back pain that prohibits any weight on my legs comes and goes, just realized the point of pain begins at the site of a early 90’s epidural. Second child was natural and 10x easier.

    I hate that 2o years later, the damage from a poorly tested common medical procedure negatively impacts my healthy, active life.

  24. jewels says:

    Exercise has nothing to do with it!! When sleeping the bladder gets full and then puts pressure on the spine. Which worsens when on the period. Also when drinking alot of caffeine before going to sleep worsens the pain. Please do not listen to undermined people that have never received this pain and try to take advise!! I have no pain anywhere on my body other then this once in awhile, and when it hurts it hurts. Literally crawl out of bed hardly can stand then have to urinate and it releases so much pressure. If I don’t have to and go lay back down the pressure will build up somewhat, but if remaining standing after releasing the bladder it starts getting better within min. I can feel the pressure almost move from the back and works it’s way around to the front in the exact spot where the epediral was placed. I have two children and got the epideral on both, first child felt I felt my legs but still helped with the pressure, no side effects after at least 4 years after. Then second child never felt anything but turned into a c_section due to the way she was turning before e dilated to ten. Years after having the kids is when it started and I know it is not just back pain with these kind of side effects, hopefully this information can help you figure out ways to subside your pain since the doctors have no idea what we are really going threw.

  25. Rifat says:


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