Mom, is your backache killing you? Here's what might be the cause...
After two years of unexplained back pain, this mom found others with the same complaint – and then realised what it could be.
Backaches are synonymous to motherhood: you’re more prone to it because you’re constantly bending down to pick up your little one to saddle on the hips. Or you’re constantly picking up toys and strewn Lego blocks at least five times a day – in vain of course – in a bid to keep your home in some sort of decent state.
So backaches and pains are nothing new. But besides the mundane duties that come with being a mom, there comes another matter that no one really ever tells you about – severe backaches stemming from epidural procedures.
In fact, all I was ever told before my child was born, was that I wouldn’t “feel anything”, it’s “quick and easy”. No-one spoke about the discomforts thereafter – but that’s another story.
I knew I was going to be injected but I didn’t really take note of the fact that it would physically be in my spine.
During an epidural procedure, the anaesthetist injects a small area along the spine on your lower back with a local anaesthetic to numb it. A needle is then inserted into the numbed area and a small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space in the spinal area. Read the full explanation here on Health24:
I remember a nurse/assistant holding me while I sat on the table, telling me to bend slightly forward. It didn't happen the first time but after a few tries, I started to feel my lower body go numb. It wasn’t exactly painful, but it was uncomfortable and strange. Little did I know the pain would come afterwards.
My daughter is now two years old, and my back pains are so severe sometimes that I can hardly even turn or move at night when in bed. Some days, the aches are so intense I don’t even know how to sit or stand. It started a couple months after her birth and has only gotten worse.
On Tuesdays, I religiously listen to the Heart, Mind and Soul breakfast show on Heart FM with Dr Darren Green. One day, they were discussing back pains from epidural injections. I was not alone! Several other listeners had also texted in to the show and had the same complaints.
According to Dr Green, if you're not injected correctly – on the wrong spot, or a couple of times – and the entry point of the injection has not healed or “sealed up” correctly, scar tissue can form. The scar tissue can end up causing terrible pains.
I asked some fellow mommies if they had experienced anything similar. Apparently, this back pain is “normal”. But should your condition became worse, I would recommend seeking a professional opinion and assistance.
I turned to a local mom group on Whatsapp and asked who had experienced back pain after an epidural. Here are some comments:
- Masroefa Ely: "Since my my C-section in 2014 I have had constant pain in my lower back along with pain on my cut. The pain seems to be worse in winter. However, it’s constantly there. It’s a numbing pain. I find it difficult doing activities such as heavily sweeping and mopping floors. I have not sought any medical help for the pain as yet."
- Meagan Cassiem Sedgwick: "I get lower back pains, it's worse in winter. I can barely move so bad it gets at times."
- Wageedah Ebrahim: "I had back pain and a little bump on my spine where the needle went in for months, close to a year after my epidural. Eventually that dull pain and bump went away. I do yoga, I don't know if this helped."
- Carmelita English: "I didn't have an epidural but a spinal block, I suffer from back pains and sometimes a numb feeling from my hip down my left leg. The same feeling I got with my second C-section when the anaesthetist put the needle in the wrong space."
- Wawa Eesah: "I have a numb circle at the point of entry of my epidural injection. No pain at all, just a dead spot on my back two years later."
- Lee Rato Mokoena: "I also have a numb pain on the entry spot. Lower back pains now and then."
- Mish Lee: "I don't know if my pain is epi related... I've had lower back pain before pregnancy already so cannot distinguish."
Janine Van der Post writes for Wheels24.co.za. Follow her on Instagram: SpeedQueenJ9.
Read more about backache during pregnancy:
How to prevent backache:
Read more about epidurals:
Read more about your body after birth:
Have you been enduring unexplained back pain since you had an epidural or spinal? Have you had it medically checked out and what did your doctor say? Are you a medical professional who has seen this in practice? Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish them. If you'd like to remain anonymous, please remember to tell us.