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Discharge Instructions for Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia

Spinal or epidural anesthesia was used to numb or block pain from a certain part of the body. It will help you get better faster and with less problems.

Steps to Take

What to Eat

You may want to start with fluids or light foods, such as crackers. Slowly return to how you normally eat as you feel able. Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after you get home.


You will need to limit your activity. Your return to normal activity will depend on what you had done. Follow the advice given by your care team.

Do not drive for 24 hours after your procedure.


If you had epidural anesthesia, the tube may be left in place. This is so you can get pain medicine. You may have other medicines to ease pain or any side effects.

When taking medicine:

  • Take your medicine as advised. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects of your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one, including over the counter products and supplements.
  • Plan for refills.


Your doctor will need to check on your progress. Be sure to go to all appointments.

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Lasting or severe headache or back pain
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Skin rash
  • Breathing problems

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American College of Surgeons

American Society of Anesthesiologists


British Columbia Surgical Society

Canadian Anesthesiologists Society


Pain management: an overview. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed April 5, 2021.

Regional anesthesia. Baylor College of Medicine website. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare/care-centers/anesthesiology/for-patients/regional-anesthesia. Accessed April 5, 2021.

Regional anesthesia for surgery. American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine website. Available at: https://www.asra.com/patient-information/regional-anesthesia. Accessed April 5, 2021.

Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN  Last Updated: 11/2/2021