Is Childbirth Linked to Development of Chronic Pain?

December 21, 2012

Chronic pain from childbirth is remarkably rare, according to a study from the January issue of Anesthesiology. Additionally, in a second study, researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., found the biologic changes after delivery may prevent the development of pain.

Childbirth is often associated with physical injury. Whether women deliver vaginally or through cesarean section, many experience unavoidable physical injury and may be at risk for the development of chronic pain. Researchers wanted to determine whether childbirth represents a major cause of chronic pain in women.

“The study suggests there may be a protecting mechanism that is active around the time of childbirth to prevent chronic pain from physical injury,” said James C. Eisenach, M.D., professor, anesthesiology-obstetric and gynecologic anesthesia, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “In our accompanying lab study, we analyzed the sources of this natural protection in hopes we may be able to develop treatments to prevent chronic pain from happening after other types of trauma or surgery, similar to vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.”

The complete release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists is available here.

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Marguerite Beck:, 336-716-2415