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Taken epidural during delivery. Have bruised mark at the injection site. What is this?

Mar 2013
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Hi. I gave birth 1 year ago and I had an epidural. I still have a bruised feeling at the injection site, I can't see a bruise, but it feels very sensitive to touch (when pressure is applied), what is this?
Posted Sun, 2 Jun 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 14 days later
Thanks for your query.
After a year, the injection site of the epidural generally heals very well.
Epidural anesthesia is most commonly used to mitigate the intense pain women experience during labor.

Epidural anesthesia entails having a long, relatively large needle inserted directly into the spine; anytime such harm is done to the body, the tissue surrounding the site will react. This is especially true when inexperienced anesthesiologists need repeated attempts to achieve a successful injection. Tissue trauma explains the soreness and swelling many people experience in the days directly after receiving an epidural. Often, those who were already back pain sufferers prior to the epidural will describe an increase in their normal back pain around this time as well. This may be in response to the tissue reaction, or it might just be part of the normal cycle of back pain that is magnified by localized pain at the epidural injection site; regardless, these people experience a real type of epidural related back pain.

While a randomized British study done in 2001 is often cited to refute claims of long term epidural back pain, personal accounts by sufferers can be found all over. Some report sharp pain at the injection site for several months after giving birth; still others report numbness and tingling. In some cases, no pain is felt for long periods of time and then a flare up will be caused by a clumsy movement or extended stay in an uncomfortable position. Unfortunately, there are a few who claim to feel intense, unrelenting pain for years and are medicated as a result. Most uniformly and often, however, sufferers report powerful pain both at the site and in the lower back, with the former resolving more quickly and the latter gradually fading into a dull ache but never fully subsiding.

In most situations, no action needs to be taken. Epidural back pain frequently subsides on its own over time, especially pain associated with the site of the epidural injection. If the pain does not subside on its own over time, visit your family physician or a chiropractor for a physical exam. When an obvious physical cause is ruled out, it has been theorized that chronic epidural back pain may actually be a psychological response to the trauma of childbirth or any other painful medical procedure that required epidural anesthesia. Therapy, physical therapy, multivitamins, breathing exercises and low impact aerobics or yoga are all regularly prescribed responses to epidural back pain; these are all treatment methods that are often met with at least some degree of success.

Evaluate yourself for calcium and vitamin d deficiency as that can worsen the pain, as can hypothyroidism, bad postural habits and lack of exercise.

Take care, and feel free to discuss further.
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