Relieving Pain. Restoring Hope.

Occipital Nerve Block

About the treatment

An occipital nerve block (ONB) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat inflammation of the greater and lesser occipital nerves resulting in chronic headaches. These nerves are located at the back of the head above the neck. When the occipital nerves become damaged or inflamed, it can cause headache pain and other symptoms such as a tender scalp, pain behind the eyes, sensitivity to light, and neck pain.
The ONB is a relatively simple procedure performed in an exam room by your preferred physician. The skin to be injected near the occipital nerves is cleaned with alcohol. Your physician then inserts a needle injecting a mixture of local anesthetic and corticosteroid into the area. Some immediate relief is typically felt from the local anesthetic, more long-term pain relief can take up to two weeks to take full effect due to the steroid.

After the treatment

Patients are advised to rest and apply ice to the affected area to reduce any pain and swelling. The effects from the steroid medication typically last between 3-6 months and injections may be repeated as needed. Patients should report any signs of infection, fever, swelling, increased pain, and nausea or vomiting to their Desert Pain Specialists physician immediately.


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