An occipital nerve block is an injection therapy that helps reduce inflammation and pain around the greater and lesser occipital nerves, which are located on the back of the head just above the neck. When damaged or irritated, the occipital and suboccipital nerves can cause migraines, tension headaches, and occipital neuralgia. Similar to other nerve blocks, an occipital nerve block may contain a local anesthetic and steroid medication to provide pain relief that can last a few days, weeks, or months.
What To Expect
Before the procedure, patients will be asked to lie face down so the injection site can be properly cleaned. A TriState Pain Institute physician will then develop a medication solution for the patient's condition and symptoms by mixing local anesthetics and corticosteroids. Once this medication mixture has been created, it will be injected into various sites along the occipital nerves. Patients may experience a slight burning pain during the initial injections, but this sensation should subside once the numbing agents take effect. Gauze may be applied with manual pressure to reduce the risk of bruising.
Patients will be required to stay at the clinic for 15-30 minutes following the injection to ensure a stable blood pressure and pulse. A follow-up appointment may also be made during this time. Patients may experience a mild headache and soreness after the procedure, but these symptoms should lessen after 48 to 72 hours. Due to the nature of this procedure, patients will need to be driven home after their occipital nerve block. Normal activities can be resumed once a Tristate Pain Institute physician has approved them.