What is an Occipital nerve block?

It is an injection at the base of the skull to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the tissue around the Occipital nerve that may reduce the pain associated with tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraines and Occipital neuralgia.

Where is the Occipital nerve located?

The Occipital nerve starts at the base of the skull and branches out along the side of the skull.  There are two the lesser and greater Occipital nerve.

 Where is the procedure done?

Occipital nerve blocks can be performed in your physician’s office if the injection is indicated by your physician as a treatment for your pain symptoms.

What is injected?

An anesthetic is injected and if your physician feels it would be beneficial a corticosteroid can be used as well.

How is an Occipital nerve block performed?

The injection site is cleaned and a numbing agent is used to lessen the pain associated with an injection.  Then a small needle is inserted with an anesthetic and sometimes a corticosteroid is injected to the base of the skull at the site of the Occipital nerve root.

How often can I have these nerve blocks?

Occipital nerve blocks just like any injection using a corticosteroid should only be done a few times a year to minimize the effects of the steroid on your body.  If these blocks are needed more than recommended other treatments may need to be considered.


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