OCCIPITAL NERVE BLOCK
Many patients with chronic headache report that their pain typically arises from the neck or, more specifically, the base of the skull. Often that pain arises on one side or the other and extends forward to involve the top of the head, the temple, the forehead, the eye or some combination thereof. These are termed “cervicogenic” headaches.
Injecting a local anesthetic or an anesthetic/steroid mixture into the occipital nerves can help alleviate pain from chronic headache. Although they can offer long-term relief, nerve blocks are not a cure, but rather a part of your overall treatment plan that includes drugs, lifestyle modifications and alternative therapies.
Occipital nerve blocks are not for everyone, but for selected patients they can prove a more effective means of suppressing chronic headache than any oral medication.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How long will it take? Typically no more than a minute or two; the procedure usually is performed in a regular examination room and does not require any preparation on the patient’s part.
2. Can I resume my activities afterwards? Absolutely; you should have no problem driving afterwards and may carry on with your day as you would otherwise.
3. If I gain significant but only very brief relief, should I have the procedure repeated? Unfortunately, your HCP cannot predict with confidence whether a given ONB will be effective or—if effective—how long the benefit will last. If your treatment response is dramatically positive but short-lived, it probably makes sense to give it at least one more try.