An occipital nerve block is an injection of a medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area.
The injection reduces the inflammation and swelling of tissue around the occipital nerves. This may in turn reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerves and surrounding structures. Typically, headaches over the back of the head, including certain types of tension headaches and migraine headaches, may respond to occipital nerve blocks.
You will rest for a while in the office. Most patients can drive themselves home. We advise the patient to take it easy for several hours after the procedure. You may want to apply ice to the injected area. You can perform any activity you can tolerate.
Generally speaking, patients who have recent onset of pain may respond much better than the ones with a longstanding pain. Usually the first injection is as much a test as a treatment. The first block will confirm that the occipital nerves are involved in the pain and be helpful. Or it will not help and the occipital nerves will not be suspected as part of the pain.
Chronic headaches of any type can destroy your life and make you unable to function. A new treatment, occipital and supraorbital nerve stimulation, offers a safe and effective treatment for chronic headaches. Nerve stimulation is done only in patients who have had all other treatments, including medications and Botox, for their headaches.