Written by Dr. Brenda Fairchild
1. Can epidurals cause lingering back pain postpartum? If so, how long might the pain last?
Yes, epidurals can cause back or worse can cause permanent nerve damage from the injection. But, not all the back pain can come from the epidural itself. Depending on the provider, if moms-to-be are given an epidural, they labor and birth on their backs with legs in stirrups called lithotomy position. You can also be on your side, sitting, or in a squat position. Because, of the epidural, women can feel less pain so they may not know their back muscles are going into spasms and need to change positions. Depending on the severity of the injury, the pain can range anywhere from a few days if it muscle spasm, to 6-8 weeks if there is pelvic instability or fractured tailbone from delivery.
2. At what point should a new mom bring lingering back pain to their doctor’s attention?
It is not uncommon to have some back pain right after delivery of your baby. But it is better to be safe and let your provider know what is going on. Some moms have a hard time standing, sitting, numbness in legs or arms, can’t get comfortable sleeping, or severe headaches. If you should experience any symptoms that you believe are not normal, let your provider know as soon as possible.
3. What can new moms do to help ease any lingering pain from an epidural?
First of all, it is ok to take time for yourself!! Make sure you are eating and drinking properly first and foremost. Schedule an appointment with a post-natal chiropractor. Chiropractic care is extremely helpful in balancing the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles. By aligning your spine and pelvis you will notice you will start to feel more yourself, less pain, and better sleep. Make sure when looking for a chiropractor in your area, you will want to make sure they are certified in the Webster Technique by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Here you will find a specialized chiropractor trained in pregnancy and postpartum women.
Alternating between ice and heat over your sore and tight muscles. Light stretching of your back. If you have the ok from your provider, take a yoga class or book a post-natal massage. Both are helpful with soothing pain and a wonderful compliment with your chiropractic adjustment. Taking an Epsom salt bath helps with relieving muscle aches and pains. Take a nap. Even a short nap can reset the body and help you heal quicker from injury.