How does an Occipital Nerve Block Work?
After a diagnosis and an occipital nerve block has been decided as the right treatment option, an appointment will be scheduled. Typically, patients will not need to be sedated for this procedure. The injection consists of local anesthetic and a steroid medication. Patients will either be seated or lying down. Local anesthetic will be placed at the point of insertion. Once the anesthetic is in place, a small needle with the steroid will be inserted through the skin and deeper tissue in the back of the head. Patients report minimal pain.
What Should I Expect After an Occipital Nerve Block?
Immediately after the injection, patients may feel that the pain is completely gone or reduced. This is due to the local anesthetic, which will only last a few hours. Pain may return and soreness may occur in the back of the head for a day or two. Patients should begin to notice more lasting pain relief within 3 to 5 days and the relief can range for several days to a few months.
Patients will rest briefly in the office after the injection. Most patients will be able to drive themselves home. We do advise to take it easy for several hours after the procedure.
How Many Occipital Nerve Blocks Do I Need?
If you respond to the injections, you may be recommended for additional injections should your symptoms return. If needed, injections can be done about one week apart, but we do not like to perform more than three occipital nerve blocks in a six-month period.
If the first injection does not relieve symptoms within the first week or two we may recommend trying a second one. If you do not respond to the injections we will discuss alternative treatment options.