Epidural anaesthesia, often referred to as “an epidural”, is an injection in the lower back that numbs the nerves and stops you feeling pain.
Areas that can be numbed by an epidural include the:
- Pelvic area
How An Epidural Works
During an epidural, the anaesthetist uses a needle to locate an area of the spine known as the epidural space. The anaesthetic works by numbing pain nerves as they enter the spine. The extent of the numbness will depend on the type of drug used, and the amount injected. Once the medication has worn off, feeling in the affected areas will return.
When Is An Epidural Used?
An epidural can be used to provide pain relief in a number of different situations including:
- during natural childbirth
- during an operation, instead of a general anaesthetic (where you are unconscious during the operation)
- after surgery that has been carried out under general anaesthetic