image001Women are more prone to lower back pains during pregnancy and the weeks that follow after they have given birth. The controversial relationship between an epidural and backache is one that has been around for long. It has been thought that epidural was the cause of backache cases experienced by a third of women globally. However, this is only partially true. Epidural is probably the cause of backache in the first couple of days after childbirth, but it's not clear as to whether it is also responsible for longer backache.

After an epidural childbirth, your back may experience short-term soreness especially in the catheter region as it is the place where medication was injected. That is why many women associate long-term or chronic back pain with labor epidural analgesia. The question begging an answer is: Is there a connection between the two?

What Is Epidural?

An epidural helps to give relief during childbirth and at the same time keeps you fully conscious during childbirth. Even though the sensation of pain decreases, it does not completely get rid of it during birth.

Medication is induced via a catheter. A catheter is a hollow, flexible and very thin tube that is inserted in your epidural space. The epidural space is the outside of the membrane surrounding the spine. In the US, the epidural is the most common method used when women are giving birth.

Back Pain After Epidural—Is It Relevant?

There are some retrospective researches that were done which suggested that there is some association between lower back pain and epidural analgesia in the first six weeks after delivery. However, those researches were flawed by reporting bias since they heavily relied on the respondents’ recollection of events that happened in the past. If such surveys took place years and months after women’s delivery, the results obtained may not be accurate.

When a woman develops back pain and has received epidural analgesia, it is normally as a result of poor or stressing back positions. Another cause of back pain post delivery is the trauma to your back ligaments and muscles when the epidural needle was being inserted into your catheter. However, this is uncommon and the resulting pain is usually short-term.

To sum it up, based on the studies conducted, epidural usage and back pain have no connection. Also, epidural relief during childbirth doesn’t increase the risk of experiencing long-term back pain. If you experience back pain after delivery, there is a high likelihood that it resulted from pre-existing prenatal backaches that were caused by structural and mechanical changes in your spine. These structural and mechanical changes are normal as they occur due to physiological changes a woman goes through during pregnancy.

Why Do I Have Back Pain After Epidural?

1. Physical Changes

Many physical changes which contribute to back pain after childbirth can also cause an achy back, more so if you gave birth recently. When you are expectant, your uterus expands, stretches, and also weakens the abdominal muscles thus altering your posture. This in turn strains your back. Additionally, the extra weight you put on makes your muscles work more and puts more stress on the joints.

2. Changes in Hormone Balance

What’s more, the changes in hormone balance during pregnancy at times loosen the ligaments and joints that connect your spine to your pelvic bone. This in turn causes you pain when you sit, stand for long, walk, get up from a low tub or chair and lift things or bend. You also feel unstable. These changes do not just disappear overnight. The only time the ache will go away is when your muscles have regained their tone and strength and your joints are less lax.

3. Difficult or Long-time Labor

Your sore back can also be caused by a difficult or long labor. When in labor, you probably used muscles you normally didn’t use and the effect is a sore back. If you also had an epidural, the medication insertion site might be tender for a couple of days after you gave birth.

As a new mom, you need to practice good posture when breastfeeding to avoid worsening your back pain. If you are looking for more information on whether there is back pain after epidural, watch this video:

How Can I Relieve Back Pain After Epidural?

While back pain may make you want to move around less, moving about may just be what you need. Exercise a little to increase flexibility and strengthen abdominal muscles. You can:




Choose gentle exercises such as walking especially after a Cesarean section or vaginal birth. Walk slowly and keep the distance short the first few weeks.

Pelvic tilts

Once you’ve been given the green light, you can start performing exercises for your abdominal and back muscles. Include pelvic tilts each day in your routine.

Yoga or gentle stretches

Also try some yoga or gentle stretches. Avoid extreme positions or overstretching. If a certain activity or position brings you any discomfort, stop it immediately.

Keep good postures

Be keen when standing and sitting down in terms of posture. Sit up straight and crouch or bend your knees when lifting objects from the ground. Also, make sure that you are properly positioned when nursing and always bring your baby close to your breast. Do not stretch the breast to the baby.

Watch this video for more information on relieving back pain:

More Tips on Back Pain Relief



Warm baths

Have warm baths as they relax muscles and also get professional massages to soothe tense shoulders and strained muscles.

Healthy diet and exercise

Good nutrition makes it easy for your body to heal. Some exercises will help you lose the excess weight which also cause back pain.


Acetaminophen and ibuprofen offer temporary relief. Take the recommended dosage and if they do not work, consult your caregiver about it.


In some cases, acupuncture has also been seen to give pain relief. Some women also find chiropractic care to be helpful.

When to See a Doctor

  • If the back pain is constant, severe, or is progressively getting worse. Also, if the pain is caused by some trauma or accompanied by fever.
  • You do not have feeling in both or one of your legs.
  • If you suddenly feel weak or uncoordinated.
  • Your genital area, groin and/or buttocks have lost sensation.
  • Your anus or bladder has lost sensation and it’s harder to have bowel movement or pee, or alternatively have incontinence.