What is an Epidural Injection? | Everything You Need to Know

What is an Epidural Injection? | Everything You Need to Know

Many women stated that labor pain is the worst pain they have ever experienced.[1] The contractions, cramps, and pushing stage make bringing life into the world a very complex and painful process. 

Many women fear motherhood because of the excessive pain they have to face during pregnancy and the labor journey. So, naturally, people get intrigued when experts introduce a method to relieve those excruciating contraction pains.

The epidural injection may seem like a lifesaver for many. But is it as helpful as the experts state? Or are we being overly optimistic? Keep reading to learn more about this popular pain relief method for pregnant women.

In this blog, we will discuss the following:

  • What is an Epidural, and What Does It Do?
  • What is Epidural Injection Used For?
    • During Childbirth
    • For Major Surgeries
    • To Heal Chronic Back Pain
  • Does Epidural Hurt?
  • How Long Does an Epidural Last?
  • Epidural Injection Side Effects
    1. Temporary or Permanent Nerve Damage
    2. Inadequate Pain Relief
    3. Headaches and Drowsiness
    4. Low B.P.
  • Epidural Injection Cost
  • SUPMOGO RecoveryFlex System

What is an Epidural, and What Does It Do?

An epidural is a form of spinal anesthesia that numbs your spinal nerves. As a result, the pain signals are blocked in a specific body part. The region that’s numbed depends on the location of the epidural along the spine. Epidural is used for two purposes:

  • Temporary pain relief
  • Total numbness

An epidural is mainly administered in the lumbar spine region and numbs your hips, lower back, and legs for a specific time. It comes in the form of a long needle inserted directly into your spine. Epidurals are becoming popular as they provide tremendous pain relief during labor and childbirth. 

Also, it provides constant pain relief as the catheter is given to the patient to increase the pain medication dose.

This article is for you if you’re going into surgery soon or deciding whether to opt for an epidural during delivery. Head on to the next section to learn more about this pain-numbing method. 

What is Epidural Injection Used For?

The pain-numbing method is a common practice to provide pain relief to people. Though there are various uses, the most common ones are during labor and childbirth. The lack of feeling helps women in labor and patients who suffer from chronic back pain. 

Although it is generally safe, like every medical procedure, an epidural can also fail.[2] However, the perks outweigh the risks, especially in surgeries where complete anesthesia is not recommended.

Track us below to learn about the common uses of an epidural injection.

1. During Childbirth

According to statistics, over 68% of white women received epidurals during vaginal deliveries. This figure proves how many women trust the pain-relieving method during labor and childbirth.

The epidural injection for pregnancy is usually given during the first stage of labor when a woman starts getting regular contractions. As the injections numb your lower back and legs, the pain of contractions is significantly reduced.

Also, as it’s a form of spinal anesthesia, you stay alert and awake during the advanced labor phase. Another reason women favor epidurals compared to other pain relief methods is that you can increase or decrease the dose according to need. 

Moreover, it also has minimal side effects and, if given by a professional, won’t cause long-term side effects.

2. For Major Surgeries

Often, an epidural injection instead of general anesthesia is given to patients before major surgery. Especially during a cesarean section, many females opt for spinal anesthesia compared to general due to fewer side effects.[3] 

The top one is you are awake and aware of the surroundings and can hold your baby immediately after delivery. Not only that, but epidural anesthesia can also reduce the risk of respiratory complications after surgery compared to general anesthesia. 

Therefore, it’s a primary pain-blocking method used in most c-sections, hip and knee surgeries, and other operations. Once the surgery is done, the pain medicine given through the epidural tube is more effective in numbing pain than the ones taken orally. So, it’s a win-win situation. 

3. To Heal Chronic Back Pain

An epidural injection for back pain is a blessing for people who suffer from chronic lumbar pain issues. An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is administered for back pain and contains potent anti-inflammatory medicine.[4]

The syringe is inserted inside the spine in the region called ‘epidural space.’ Here it’s important to mention that this epidural differs from the one administered during labor.

ESI contains steroids and numbing medicine to decrease swelling and relieve discomfort. It is also a non-operative method to alleviate pain in your back. 

Does Epidural Hurt?

An epidural is given via a long needle that goes into your spine. So, before injecting it, your anesthesiologist will numb the lower back area of your spine. Once the numbing injection is inserted, you may feel slightly burning or tingling, as with other injections. After that, the epidural is put in. 

You won’t feel much pain due to numbness, but you will feel pressure on your back. Also, we can’t guarantee everyone the same experience. Everybody is different, and how their body reacts to pain may also differ. So, although most people won’t feel any pain, some may experience slight discomfort. 

How Long Does an Epidural Last?

When your anesthesiologist inserts the epidural needle, they will also place a catheter to control the dose of pain relief. The epidural will stay in your back throughout the process, and you can keep receiving the medicine throughout labor. So, once the childbirth is done and the catheter is removed, the epidural will wear off after two to four hours. 

On the other hand, the epidural administered for back issues lasts longer. Generally, patients may get pain relief for a few months up to a year, depending on how the ESI is injected and how their body reacts to it. 

Epidural Injection Side Effects

By now, you must have thought that an epidural is a light at the end of the tunnel, the hope of fixing your back issues, right? Although true, this method of ‘numbing pain’ doesn’t come without risks.

An epidural has many side effects that may show up instantly or later. Here are some of the possible complications associated with spinal anesthesia. 

1. Temporary or Permanent Nerve Damage

Epidural needles can temporarily or permanently cause nerve damage as they are administered in the spine. Although rare, you may lose the sensation in your legs or back if a nerve gets damaged. Temporary damage improves after a few days; however, permanent damage can hamper your life. 

2. Inadequate Pain Relief

Another side effect of epidural is inadequate pain relief. Everyone is different, and so are their body’s reactions to an epidural. It may not completely block your pain or provide minimal relief. 

3. Headaches and Drowsiness

Headaches are another common side effect of epidural. A bag of fluid surrounds your spine; if the needle accidentally pokes it, you will get a severe headache. You might need a blood patch to relieve the pain if this happens.

4. Low B.P.

Slightly lower blood pressure is standard when a person receives the first dose of epidural. So, your doctor will monitor your B.P. to provide immediate help. You may be given fluids and energy drinks to increase your blood pressure if it gets really low.

Epidural Injection Cost

Epidurals aren’t cheap. Depending on the concentration and company, an ESI may cost between $1000 to $1500.

If you have medical insurance or other health plans, you may benefit from a discounted price or have to pay nothing. Remember that this is a cost of a single injection, and you’ll have to get one every few months.

On the other hand, the epidural administered during deliveries can range between $1000 to $8000 depending on your doctor, hospital, and insurance plans.

Also Read: 8 Types of Injections for Back Pain | Purpose, Benefits, Risks & Side Effects!

SUPMOGO RecoveryFlex System

If you’ve recently given birth and want to lose that extra weight, the SUPMOGO RecoveryFlex System may help.

Before we go into the details, remember that you should not use this tool before six weeks postpartum. In the case of the cesarean section, the time to wait is around three months. 

SUPMOGO uses Advanced Targeting Technology to go deep into your muscles and contract them. The electronic pulses it generates are intense enough to help you lose weight and gain muscle strength.

So, if you’re facing postpartum back pain due to an epidural, you can try using the SUPMOGO Fitness tool regularly to get your health back on track. 


An epidural may be a lifesaver if you are terrified of childbirth or other major surgeries.

The top perk of this method of pain relief is that, unlike general anesthesia, you aren’t entirely unconscious. Your mind is active, and you can feel the upper half of your body. This helps patients to stay positive and recover faster with lesser risks of complications. 



[1] Labor, S., & Maguire, S. (2008). The pain of labour. Reviews in pain, 2(2), 15-19.

[2] Hermanides, J., Hollmann, M. W., Stevens, M. F., & Lirk, P. (2012). Failed epidural: causes and management. British journal of anaesthesia, 109(2), 144-154.

[3] Ghaffari, S., Dehghanpisheh, L., Tavakkoli, F., & Mahmoudi, H. (2018). The effect of spinal versus general anesthesia on quality of life in women undergoing cesarean delivery on maternal request. Cureus, 10(12).

[4] Benzon, H. T. (1986). Epidural steroid injections for low back pain and lumbosacral radiculopathy. Pain, 24(3), 277-295.

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