Epidural vs spinal anesthesia. Epidural: headache is not experienced. It's often used during labor/delivery, and surgery in the pelvis and legs. Spinal anesthesia: puncture in the Dura (covering over the spinal cord). It's often used for genital, urinary tract, or lower body procedures. Spinal and epidural anesthesia have fewer side effects and risks than general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). Patients usually recover much faster and can go home sooner.