The occipital nerve is located at the top of the neck, and joins with the skull. If a patient is feeling pain in this area, there are options available to help with recovery and the pain. Most of these procedures involve injections that can be performed in as an outpatient
operation. If you or a loved one is experiencing this pain, it is best to get into contact with a local Pain Clinic to see what can be done to help you overcome the pain.
The pain comes from both sides of the back of the neck. These are the nerves that provide sensation to the back of the skill; however they are not needed for movement in the back of the neck. A great deal of pain can be caused when this area becomes inflamed. Patients can live normal and healthy lives even without these nerves, so many options are available for treatment. As with most Treatment for Pain, conservative options should be tried first before advancing to more invasive procedures only if required.
By placing an occipital nerve block into the area, pain clinics can help relieve the headaches that patients often live through. Additionally, blocks can be effective at reducing the frequency of migraines, and a variety of different kinds of headaches. Not only can they reduce the frequency of headaches from occurring, but they can also reduce the magnitude of the headache that the patient is feeling.
Occipital nerve blocks can be injected into the back of the neck in a pain clinic, and it is not required to undergo a major operation. Once the skin is numbed, the doctor will inject the needle into the soft tissues where the occipital nerves are located. In addition to the numbing cream, steroid cortisone is often injected to help with the healing process. Finally, the pain clinic can use phenol to make the effects of the injections last longer.
You will typically see immediate results in Pain Relief, although some of this is due to the local anesthetic which will wear off. You will be able to return to work the next day. In over 95% of the cases, relief is seen for up to 6 months. Even with cluster headaches, most patients will be cured for up to 4 months after the injections. Further good news for patients is that after the effects wear off, the procedure can be performed again and again. While it might be a small inconvenience to visit the doctor, the results cannot be questioned. In total, 50% of patients will see pain relief for up to 3 months after each injection.
Serious side effects are very uncommon. There are a few risks involved with the procedure, as with any procedure, however they are not significant. There is a chance that the area will become infected after the injections. Furthermore, a spinal leak can be caused by the needle puncture, however this is extremely rare.