Occipital Nerve Block

Las Vegas Spine and Pain Clinic

Occipital Nerve Block 

What is an Occipital Nerve Block?

The occipital nerves are located at the back of the neck at the top of the spine and run up into the back of the head. For patients who suffer from headaches that are caused by the neck (due to injury, trauma, or nerve inflammation) or from occipital neuralgia (headaches and neck pain caused by occipital nerve inflammation), an occipital nerve block may relieve pain symptoms. An Occipital Nerve Block is can help conditions like shooting or burning headaches in the back or side of the head, migraines, tender or painful scalps, or spondylosis of the cervical facet joints. The best results for occipital nerve blocks usually come from patients whose pain is recent and not long-standing.

The pain management experts at Las Vegas Spine and Pain Center may use an occipital nerve block as both a diagnosis and treatment. This procedure, performed in the state-of-the-art procedure center at Las Vegas Spine and Pain Center, consists of an injection of local anesthetic into the area surrounding the occipital nerves. If the patient experiences relief from pain, a series of injections may be recommended to provide long-term pain relief. Additionally, if the pain is severe, occipital nerve stimulation may be recommended to manage pain more thoroughly.

The procedure goes as follows: 

  • First, an intravenous line will be placed to help sedate and calm you for the procedure. 
  • Then we will place several monitors on you to check your heart, blood pressure, and pulse during the procedure.
  • Then you will lie on your stomach and the injection site is numbed and is done at the back of the head just above the neck. 
  • A local anesthetic and steroid are then injected into the nerve, and the needle is removed. 

After injection, the relief will sometimes be felt immediately, however, if there is a lot of swelling in the nerve the steroids will relieve the pain of the swelling, but it takes 2-3 days for the full effect of the steroids to be felt. If there is a lack of results this may be a sign that the occipital nerves are not the source of the pain and further work needs to be done to diagnose the cause of your pain.

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