Greater Occipital Nerve Block

Greater occipital nerve block is a simple procedure that is most often performed for patients suffering with occipital neuralgia or chronic occipital headaches. Many patients will experience tenderness along the base of their neck, which is the location the nerve travels to provide sensation to the posterior scalp, often being compressed by tight muscles.  Greater Occipital nerve is blocked by placing small amount of local anesthetic alone or mixed with corticosteroid under the skin at the base of the occipital ridge. Many patients report significant pain relief within few minutes of the injection. In most patients, the pain relief lasts on average from 4 to 12 weeks.


Did you know…

that occipital nerve blocks double as diagnostic tools? If you have symptoms that could suggest occipital nerve pain, your doctor may recommend a trial injection that doubles as a diagnostic procedure. When Turnersville patients achieve pain relief from initial injections, doctors can confirm that the occipital nerves are the source of discomfort. When symptoms continue despite injections, the occipital nerves will be ruled out as the cause of chronic head pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out if I am a candidate for an occipital nerve block?

You may be a candidate for an occipital nerve block if you have chronic or recurring headaches that are predominately locate in the back of the head. Dr. Pello and Dr. Medvedovsky will discuss this treatment option with you during the consultation.

What should I expect during a occipital nerve block procedure?

If you and your doctor decide that an occipital nerve block is right for you, than it may be performed in the office on the same day, or you’ll be scheduled to return at a later date for treatment. The injection will be administered while you are seated or lying down. Prior to the treatment, your doctor will prepare the injection site with an antiseptic. A very fine nerve block needle is injected into the scalp, where a combination of numbing medication and steroids is applied near the greater and lesser occipital nerves. Most patients experience pain relief within minutes of the injection, and are able to proceed with their day.The entire injection takes just minutes from start to finish. Soreness at the injection site is possible, and usually self limiting and improves with an ice pack.

What types of results should I expect from this treatment?

Results from occipital nerve blocks vary from person to person, but on average will last between four to six weeks in most people. Often times, the injection is repeated multiple times if the pain returns. Goal of the occipital nerve block is to provide significant and immediate pain relief, and allow other treatments to be incorporated such as dietary modifications, appropriate medications, and therapy to reduce migraine frequency.

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