Pregnancy itself may be accompanied by a lot of aches and pains—including back pain—but you may not expect additional discomfort in your back after childbirth.
If you had an epidural anesthesia, you may want to know if this is the cause. Let us have a deeper understanding of epidural anesthesia, whether they cause back pain, and how to treat it.
Formally called epidural anesthesia, this is a regional anesthetic that is given through your lower back. It is designed to stop pain in the lower half of your body.
Epidural anesthesia is considered a local anesthetic because you are awake while using it. Epidural anesthesia is usually provided by:
- Nurse anesthesiologist
If you are considering or have used epidural anesthesia, please know that they are extremely common in people who give birth in a hospital.
It is generally believed that epidural anesthesia can cause back pain. But according to the American Association of Anesthesiologists, there is no reliable evidence that epidural anesthesia can cause permanent back pain.
Even people who have not received epidural anesthesia may experience back pain during and after childbirth.
This is because your bones and ligaments—especially those in the pelvis—are returning to their original positions before pregnancy. When your body returns to its original state, it may cause back pain.
Although permanent back pain is unlikely, this does not mean that epidural anesthesia has no temporary side effects.
In fact, it is not uncommon to experience temporary backache or soreness at the injection site where the needle is inserted. The pain usually disappears within a few days.
The most common symptom you may experience after epidural anesthesia is local soreness at the injection site. However, this discomfort usually disappears after a few days.
Even if your low back pain is caused by postpartum joint adjustments, you should get some relief! There are many ways to relieve back pain at home, including the following:
Getting a massage from a professional or partner is a great way to help relieve sore muscles in the back.
In addition, it is important to pamper yourself and give yourself time for much-needed self-care during the postpartum period.
Hot and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy refers to alternating hot and cold compresses to minimize pain and discomfort.
Once you notice back pain, start cold therapy. Put cold compresses—a bag of ice, or even a pack of frozen vegetables—on your lower back.
Make sure to wrap the ice cubes in a towel or freeze wrap to prevent any risk of frostbite. This can happen if you expose your bare skin to ice for a long time.
You can ice your back as often as you need, but the time for each exercise is limited to less than 20 minutes.
A few days later, switch to hyperthermia. To soothe your back, you can try:
However, if you are currently recovering from a C-section, you will need to wait for a warm bath until the incision is completely healed.
When you still want to take care of a newborn, this is obviously easier said than done! But resting your back is one of the best ways to relieve back pain.
You may also want to buy a support pillow to put it under your knees when you lie down. This may help reduce any potential pressure on the back.
You may be surprised to find that exercise actually helps reduce back pain. But remember: You should only do low-impact exercises, especially in the first few weeks of your body recovering from labor and delivery.
Core exercises that help strengthen the pelvic area and abdomen may be a good choice. Similarly, according to data from the National Supplement and Comprehensive Health Center, research shows that yoga can effectively help relieve low back pain.
If your back pain is too uncomfortable, you may want to consider over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).
If you are breastfeeding, please consult your doctor before taking any medications.
If your back pain cannot be resolved by home methods, please consult your doctor. They may recommend that you receive professional physical therapy.
Physical therapists can:
- Help you improve your mobility
- Teach you specific exercises that can help relieve discomfort
- Will even tell you how to maintain the correct posture
In addition to physical therapy, the chronic back pain that affects your quality of life should also be controlled with the help of a doctor.
Treatment options range from prescription drugs and cortisone injections to surgery, depending on the severity of back pain.
If you feel temporarily sore at the epidural injection site, you will feel better after a few days.
If your back pain does not relieve or worsens gradually during the postpartum period, please make an appointment to talk with your doctor.
Although epidural anesthesia can cause temporary discomfort at the injection site, they may not be the culprit for low back pain—especially during postpartum recovery.
Your body is adjusting back to its original state, which may cause pain. These should disappear within 6 months after delivery.
Before that, do some self-care through rest and massage, and low-intensity exercise to help relieve discomfort.