Epidurals can cause back pain years later, although this is rare. While epidurals may leave a mother with some soreness at the administration site for a few days or weeks, lasting or recurring back pain is not typical. It may occur, however, because of damage to the spine, nerves, or other structures.
The placement of an epidural during labor and delivery requires precision, experience, and training. The anesthesiologist must insert the needle into the epidural space, going just deep enough without penetrating the dura that protects the spine. When something goes wrong during this process, the procedure is in such close proximity to the spine that spinal cord or nerve involvement may be unavoidable.
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Epidurals Are a Known Cause of Back Pain
While one literature review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) found no evidence of a significant difference in the risk of long-term back pain in mothers who underwent an epidural and those who did not, the researchers also admit that more data is needed to evaluate rare side effects of this type of regional anesthesia. This could include several adverse effects related to the placement, administration, or medications used during labor epidurals, possibly including long-term back pain.
Older studies, including one dating back to 1975, report that many people complain about back pain following epidural anesthesia. This is accepted as a known symptom, with a case review published in Anesthesiology indicating that up to 31 percent of people may experience a backache after epidural anesthesia when they did not report this type of pain before the procedure.
However, most women who develop back pain following an epidural say their pain is mild, does not limit their activities, and is easily treated with rest and other conservative therapy.
There have been cases of lasting back pain that occurs on its own or in conjunction with neurologic symptoms. These cases received medical expert witness support during the claims process or in court. If your pain persists or you experience neurologic dysfunction, as well, you should see a doctor to document your symptoms and rule out more serious injuries or causes.
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Improperly Administered Epidurals Can Cause Spine Damage
Epidural anesthesia works by putting pain-relieving medication into the epidural area and serving as a nerve block. The rest of the woman’s body below this line will feel numb or experience only pressure and similar feelings, not pain. To administer these medications into the epidural space, an anesthesiologist will insert a long needle with a tiny catheter into the area very close to the spinal cord.
Once they have the needle and catheter in the proper place, they will remove the needle and secure the catheter in place. This will then be used to inject pain-killing medications into the epidural space intravenously.
Because of where the needle and catheter need to go and its proximity to the spine, any issues with this process can cause spine or nerve injuries and back pain. In this way, an improperly administered epidural can cause back pain years later.
Building an Epidural Birth Injury Malpractice Claim for Compensation
If you believe you suffered an epidural injury and this caused your long-term back pain, neurologic dysfunction, or other symptoms, you may want to discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney in your state who is familiar with epidural injury cases. There are a variety of risks relating to epidurals, including possible injuries to both mother and the baby.
Your lawyer will be able to help you understand if your case has merit and if you may be able to hold the negligent doctor or facility responsible and recover compensation. You can get a complimentary consultation related to your symptoms and possible birth injury medical malpractice case today.
These cases often hinge on the testimony of a physician who will serve as a medical expert witness and outline exactly how medical negligence occurred and led to your injuries. Your attorney will be able to identify this expert and work with them to ensure they have your medical records and other necessary documents for review.
It is important that you act quickly following your realization that you have long-term back pain following an epidural. Every state has a deadline on how long you have to file a medical malpractice case, and it is important that you do not miss this deadline.
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You can call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to get help with your case today. We offer free case reviews and can determine if you may have a case to support an insurance claim or medical malpractice lawsuit. Reach out to us today to learn more.