Epidural Headache: What Is It & Treatment By Expert

Epidural Headache: What Is It & Treatment By Expert
Wellness, Advice
Mar 2023

If you are expecting or are a new mother, we are sure you are cognizant of epidurals. In simple terms, an epidural is a local anesthesia injected on your back during delivery to give you relief from the pain. This is done during both vaginal and C-section birth. For normal delivery, epidurals are given usually during the first stage of labour.

When an epidural is injected, it makes you feel a momentary burning or stinging sensation. The epidural leads to numbness in the body from the belly button to the legs. It allows you to be awake during your delivery. In most cases, it takes 10-15 minutes for the epidural to work.

They are believed to block the pain from contractions. However, little do new mothers know that this pain relieving epidural also has its side effects, sore back, low blood pressure to name a few. Epidural headache is one of them and here is an explainer.

What Is Epidural Headache?

Epidural Headache: What Is It & Treatment By Expert

We spoke to Dr. Garima, Senior Anaesthetist and pain management specialist at Cloudnine group of Hospitals, Bangalore, Malleshwaram and asked her to share about this health condition. She said, "Also known as spinal headache, epidural headache is a reversible kind of headache which a new mother usually suffers from after 48-72 hours of spinal anesthesia. The chances of a woman suffering from an epidural headache is less than three percent but can also go up depending on the type of epidural used."

"This usually happens in the case of accidental dural puncture while giving labour epidural analgesia, wherein the incidents go up to 60 to 80 percent," she added. Signs And

Symptoms Of Epidural Headache

Mild to excruciating headache - The intensity of the pain increases in the upright position or during coughing NauseaPhotophobiaIntolerance to lightDiplopia (dual vision)Cranial nerve pain

Who Is At Risk?

Epidural Headache: What Is It & Treatment By Expert

Our expert shared that women who have a low BMI (body mass index) or are underweight are at a higher risk of epidural headache.

Treatment For Epidural Headache

Dr. Garima shared that reassurance is the key to treating epidural headache. The problem usually resolves within seven to 10 days.


The expert recommended staying hydrated, and drinking fluids up to three to four liters a day. (ways to increase water intake)

Sleeping Position

Further, Dr. Garima suggested sleeping in a side position without pillows.

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Abdominal Binders

New mothers should use an abdominal binder when suffering from a spinal headache for relief.


Our expert shared that caffeine is recommended to all the patients suffering from this headache since it helps relieve the pain. One can consume 300 to 500 mg orally per day.

Other than these remedies, patients are also given pain medications. However, if this initial therapy fails to give any respite then experts recommend another procedure called the epidural blood patch wherein the epidural is given in the same space if possible. Once the epidural is given, some blood is taken from the forearm of the patient and it is carefully injected into epidural space through epidural medium until the pain moves to the lower back.