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An epidural is used for giving pain relief. It can be used during surgery to supplement a general anaesthetic, and it is continued after the operation for pain control.
It is an regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a particular region of the body. The goal of an epidural is to provide analgesia, or pain relief, rather than anesthesia, which leads to a total lack of feeling. Epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments. This results in decreased sensation in the lower half of the body.