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Spinal Anesthesia


Spinal anesthesia is medicine to numb part of your body so you do not feel pain during surgery. Spinal anesthesia is injected into your lower back. You may need this for surgery such as a hernia repair, C-section, or appendix removal. You may be numb to your waist or to your nipple line, depending on the surgery.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • Your heartbeat is slower than usual.
  • You have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You develop hives or swelling.
  • You have a headache for longer than 48 hours.
  • You have a severe headache along with a fever and stiff neck.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a new or worsening headache, or pain that is not relieved with medicine.
  • You have trouble urinating after the anesthesia wears off.
  • You have questions or concerns about spinal anesthesia.


  • Drink more liquid. Liquids help prevent a headache caused by dehydration.
  • Lie flat if you have a headache. Try to lie still for at least 30 minutes when the headache begins.
  • Ask when you can drive. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is safe for you to drive.
  • Limit activity as directed. You may need to do light activities for up to 6 weeks after you have spinal anesthesia. Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.