Occipital nerve block is a commonly used procedure carried out to deal with pain arising in the back of the head or headaches such as migraines. The nerve block requires the usage of numbing medicine and steroid, with the result of numbing the occipital nerves and thus, relieving pain as a result.
What are the major indicators for getting an Occipital Nerve Block Procedure?
Occipital nerve block is one of those procedures that are performed to deal with inflammation and irritation in the greater occipital nerve. According to Cousins, greater occipital nerve block has been used for various kinds of headaches including cervicogenic headache, occipital neuralgia, migraine and cluster headache (2012).
The Pain Management Doctor in Los Angeles usually looks for tenderness in the scalp before recommending you the treatment.
What does an Occipital Nerve Block procedure entail?
Occipital nerve block is a simple and quick process that does not involve a lot of work on the part of the patient or the doctor. The procedure involves injecting the occipital nerve
area of the scalp with a local anesthetic and a small supply of steroids.
The needle is inserted just below the occipital ridge and directed towards the ridge til bone is contacted (Walco and Goldschneider, 2008). The back of the head will be cleaned with alcohol at first before injecting the steroid.
How does an Occipital Nerve Block procedure help the doctor provide treatment?
Occipital nerve block is a temporary solution for the problem of one-sided headaches and back of the head pain while it also helps with migraines and cluster headaches. For serious inflammation and irritation issues of the occipital nerve, the doctor can use the treatment to not only ease the pain but to also check if the body would respond well to more permanent solutions like a radiofrequency ablation.
These solutions usually ensure a long term result as compared to the temporary effort of the occipital nerve block procedure. Patients who respond well to this treatment i.e. their pain subsides for a couple of months or so, are usually earmarked for the long term treatments in case the pain is not tolerable.
What to expect during and after an Occipital Nerve Block procedure?
The occipital nerve block procedure is a very simple one. During the procedure, the patient would either be asked to sit or lie down and the doctor would then inject the local anesthetic along with the steroids. There would be some pain felt during the procedure when the needle would be injected but the pain would subside afterwards.
The immediate after-effect of the procedure would be that pain is alleviated quickly. This would be because of the local anesthetic and as it would wear off; the patient might feel dizziness and might have some soreness where the steroids were injected. A few days from the procedure, the pain would subside as the steroid would start to do its work. The time for which the pain subsides usually varies from patient to patient with some patients only feeling pain relief for a couple of weeks while others feeling no pain for a number of months.
What are the risks of getting an Occipital Nerve Block procedure?
There are certain risks involved with an occipital nerve block procedure even though it is a very safe procedure. Usually, soreness and slight pain at the injection site are the only side-effects of the treatment with bleeding and infection other side-effects if the treatment either doesn’t go to plan or the body doesn’t react positively to it.
What are the benefits of getting an Occipital Nerve Block procedure?
Occipital nerve block is extremely helpful in alleviating pain and headaches that would cause disruption during your daily routine. For months, you won’t feel anything at the back of your head and you would be relieved of all the stinging pain that came with the inflammation of the occipital nerve. The treatment proves helpful in chronic migraines too in most cases.
Over 50% of the time, headache severity and frequency are reduced. The California Pain Network offers headache pain specialists in Los Angeles who are Board Certified. The LA pain doctors offer both medication management and interventional procedures such as occipital blocks.
Call (310) 626-1526 for more information and scheduling today!