Epidural injection for pain relief
An epidural is a type of pain-killing injection given by an anaesthetist.
What is an epidural injection?
Anaesthetic or steriods are injected into an area called the epidural space which is around and below the spinal cord. The nerves that carry pain sensations are blocked below the level of the injection.
What types of epidural injections are available?
The type of injection you will receive depends on where it is given.
What happens during an epidural?
Staff will help you lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your tummy and your chin tucked in or to sit up and lean forward. Both positions straighten and stretch the spine and the spinal cord.
The anaesthetist will carefully select a point to inject by feeling for specific bones in the spine and hips. A small amount of local anaesthetic is injected into the skin around the chosen point. After a minute or so when the skin is numb the anaesthetist will insert the larger epidural needle through the skin and towards the spine. When the needle reaches the space around the spinal cord, a fine plastic tube is inserted through the bore of the needle. The needle is then removed, leaving the plastic tube in place running from the area around the spinal cord through the skin to the outside. The tube is stuck to the back with sticking plaster and the anaesthetist can then inject anaesthetic drugs down this tube.
Whilst the anaesthetist is preparing the site for the injection you will need to stay very still. Once you have received the injection the anaesthetist will ask you to lie on one side and then the other to spread the anaesthetic evenly round the spinal cord. The whole procedure usually takes 15 - 30 minutes.
How long will I need to stay in Hospital?
The length of stay in hospital will be determined by the reason for the epidural. You will not be allowed to leave until you are fully able to move about on your own.
What are the possible complications?
Side effects of an epidural injection may include:
- Failure of the epidural
- Increased pain
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty passing urine
- Temporary leg or arm weakness
Rare reactions to an epidural injection can include:
- Infection around the spine
- Nerve injury
- Blood clot in the spine
67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW
Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH
Bristol0117 906 4870
3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN
Cambridge01223 370 922
4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF
Cardiff and Vale02920 836700
Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavy Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN
Cheltenham01242 246 552
Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY
Chester01244 680 444
Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP
78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB
Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN
Exeter01392 276 591
Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG
Glasgow0141 334 9441
25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ
Haywards Heath01444 456999
Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD
Hereford01432 355 131
Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF
Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW
Leeds0113 388 2111
2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB
Leicester0116 276 9401
Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY
Newcastle upon Tyne01912 816 131
Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP
Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP
Plymouth01752 775 861
Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG
Shrewsbury01743 282 500
Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP
Taunton01823 286 991
Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN
Tees01642 360 100
Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX
Tunbridge Wells01892 531 111
Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL
The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW
Wessex02380 266 377
Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW
Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY
Wolverhampton01902 793 269
Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE
York01904 715 000
Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA
Our prices are all-inclusive. We will equal any comparable price. There are no time limits on your aftercare.
Get in touch
Fill in an enquiry form below or call us
A member of the team will respond to you soon.