An occipital nerve block involves the precise injection of anesthetic medication near the occipital nerve to offer temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation associated with headaches or other medical conditions. Steroid medicine is occasionally added to the injection.
A collection of nerves on the back of your skull is called your occipital nerves. They originate from the C2 and C3 spinal nerves (the letter C stands for “cervical,” referring to the neck vertebrae). The occipital nerves come in three different varieties, including:
The majority of people have one occipital nerve on each side of their head, or two of each type.
Although these nerves provide feeling to particular areas of your head, irritation or damage to the occipital nerves can occasionally cause you to experience pain elsewhere in or on your head, such as the area around your eyes. Doctors refer to this condition as referred pain.
When alternative treatments have failed to reduce the discomfort associated with specific types of headaches, doctors often resort to occipital nerve blocks. Many headache conditions can be treated with an occipital nerve block, such as:
It can help lessen tinnitus and ear pain (otalgia), which are related symptoms of nerve irritation.
Additionally, an occipital nerve block may be used to treat:
An occipital nerve block may be performed by your doctor as a diagnostic procedure. It can assist them in determining if the discomfort you’re feeling in your head or neck is originating from the occipital nerve or from another location. This may aid in choosing the most effective course of therapy.
In general, occipital nerve blocks are safe, and problems are infrequent. However, potential dangers or issues include:
Usually, there is nothing specific you need to do in order to get ready for an occipital nerve block.
Your doctor could occasionally advise sedation for the surgery. You will need to fast for six to eight hours prior to obtaining sedation. If you were given sedation during the procedure,
you will additionally require a ride home from someone else.
You will receive instructions from your doctor. Make sure you adhere to their guidelines. Never be afraid to ask questions.
In an outpatient context, occipital nerve blocks are commonly administered by doctors to alleviate pain. This implies that you can leave the hospital immediately after the surgery and are not admitted for the procedure.
Generally speaking, following an occipital nerve block, you should anticipate the following:
No more than five minutes should be needed for the procedure.
You will rest for 15 to 30 minutes following the injection if you were sedated during the surgery. During this period, a nurse will also be monitoring you to make sure you don’t experience any unanticipated side effects. After that, you can return home.
You will rest for around ten minutes if you were not sedated, after which you are free to depart.
The degree of pain reduction following an occipital nerve block varies greatly amongst individuals. It can be challenging to forecast the result. Pain relief with an effective occipital nerve block usually occurs 20 to 30 minutes post-injection and can extend for several hours to several months.
For occipital neuralgia and cervicogenic headache, many injections may be necessary to achieve long-lasting pain relief.
+66 2066 8888