Local pain and stiffness after epidural three years ago


Q: I have had epidurals with the birth of both of my children. There were no side effects after the first one but ever since the second in 2009 I have had pain, stiffness and general sense that something was wrong in the exact spot of the injection. The pain comes and goes but the stiffness is always there. I stretch a lot and try to alleviate it but it's not getting better.


A:    After almost three years from the last epidural, maybe some other causes of your symptoms may be rule out. I advise you to get an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon or spine specialist to exclude a possible local lipoma on the site of the injection, or even a nerve compression. Some of the major causes of acute and chronic back pain  are associated with radiculopathy (nerve compression). Lumbosacral radiculopathy, like other forms of radiculopathy, results from nerve root impingement and/or inflammation that has progressed enough to cause neurologic symptoms in the areas that are supplied by the affected nerve root, the legs  for example. During the acute phase of the pain, the physical therapy is very important and involves the use of ultrasound, TENS, heat to control pain, teaching you back-protection techniques (e.g., proper lifting, posture awareness). A lumbar stabilization program is also useful in instructing you in various techniques to control back pain, and you also can work on strengthening the stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine.

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