What is an Occipital Nerve Block?
An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area.
What is the purpose of an occipital nerve block?
Soreness from multiple needle sticks may respond well to an ice pack or massage. Numbness from local anesthetic may last about an hour. We strongly recommend ice, massage and stretching exercises for several days following the procedure.
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last only for a few hours. Your pain may return and you may have a sore head for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. You should start noticing a more lasting pain relief starting the third day or so.
Occipital Neuralgia will typically follow a trauma to the nerves over the occipital region (back of the head) and is characterized by an acute onset of pain in the distribution of the occipital nerves. Cervicogenic headache is more chronic, with an insidious onset, characterized by pain in the same distribution. Most patients with Cervicogenic headaches have associated spondylosis or problems of the cervical facet joints in the neck and therefore may need an additional injection in the cervical facet joint to completely alleviate their symptoms.
At the completion of the procedure you will be taken to the recovery room and monitored for 20 to 30 minutes.