05 Oct Occipital Nerve Blocks | Charleston, SC
Therapeutic pain blocks can be crucial to patients suffering from severe or chronic pain. Occipital nerve blocks are used to treat chronic and cluster headaches and migraines. It involves injecting a steroid and local anesthetic into the occipital nerves at the back of the head.
What to Expect
When you come in for your appointment, expect to spend a short amount of time. The injection itself takes just a few minutes and is done without sedation. A local anesthetic may be applied to prevent any discomfort during the procedure.
You’ll be asked to lie down for the procedure. A fine needle is inserted just above the occipital nerve, which is located at the back of the head, near the neck. A steroid medication is injected. This will help reduce inflammation and block pain signals, reducing or eliminating headache pain. You may feel as if the side of your head has gone “numb.”
Who Shouldn’t have an Occipital Nerve Block?
Patients who are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, who have poorly controlled diabetes or heart conditions, or who have an active infection should not have the procedure. Also, patients who are on blood thinners should discuss the procedure with their doctor before proceeding.
How Long Does the Block Take to Work?
The full degree of pain relief may be apparent within minutes or take up to a full day to develop. The block works differently for everyone, and it’s impossible to tell whether the pain relief will last or how effective the injection will be. If the pain relief is significant, your physician may suggest repeating the procedure to prolong its effectiveness.
Following the procedure, patients should be alert for changes in mood, sensory abnormalities, swelling or discoloration of the injection site, or a reaction to the anesthesia which can include nausea and chest discomfort. Talk to your doctor about any adverse effects you experience.