Dr. Reitzel shares if an epidural injection is painful and explains how deep the needle is inserted.
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Can an Epidural Injection Hurt 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 nerves 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 sac 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 sac.

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