Dr. Reitzel shares if an epidural injection is painful and explains how deep the needle is inserted.
Most folks would argue that it doesn’t hurt as bad as contraction and honestly, most people say that the IV hurts worse than the epidural, okay?
And if you stop and think about it, it kind of makes sense, we pick up things with our hands because there’s more nerve endings in our hands. To get an IV in your hand you are going to be next to some of those nerve which is pretty uncomfortable.
Middle of your back, where the epidural goes, typically not that uncomfortable. Now you will feel a little bee-sting or the equivalent of a bee-sting when we actually use a little bit of numbing medicine. We always put numbing medicine in before we put the epidural in and that’s probably the most discomfort that you’d feel.
It depends person to person. Obviously if you are a bigger person the epidural space is deeper than if you are a smaller person. However, the average epidural space is only between three to seven centimeters from the skin.
So that’s not terribly far seeing as your body is about 30 centimeters in diameter. It goes in between some of the tissue that’s in there and stops right before it gets to the spinal cord.
There’s a little sack and we stop right next to that and that allows us again to give our numbing medicine without actually touching the spine or getting into the spinal sack.
About Dr. Keith E. Reitzel:
Dr. Keith Eric Reitzel, M.D., is the Clinical Director at Anesthesia Resources, Ltd. in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Reitzel is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and he is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Additionally, he is on the Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Surgery Committees at Banner Desert Medical Center. Dr. Reitzel is licensed in Arizona, as well as North Carolina.