An occipital nerve block offers a range of benefits for those suffering from chronic or severe head and neck pain. Treatment can provide rapid and targeted relief, often reducing or even eliminating pain in the occipital region and radiating areas. By blocking pain signals from the occipital nerves, these injections can significantly improve your quality of life, allowing you to resume daily activities and participate in rehabilitation or physical therapy programs more comfortably.
While generally considered safe, there can be potential side effects or risks associated with the procedure, such as infection, bleeding, or temporary numbness in the injection area.
An occipital nerve block is relatively quick and minimally invasive. You will be positioned comfortably, usually sitting or lying face down. Your care team will clean the injection site and may apply a local anesthetic to numb the skin, minimizing discomfort during the procedure.
Using ultrasound guidance, your care team will carefully locate the occipital nerves at the base of the skull. A mixture of a local anesthetic and, in some cases, a corticosteroid is then injected around these nerves.
You may feel a brief sting or pressure during the injection, but the discomfort is generally tolerable. The entire procedure usually takes only a few minutes. Afterward, you will be monitored briefly to ensure there are no immediate complications.
Pain relief may take effect within a few hours to a few days, providing relief from head and neck pain for an extended period, although individual responses can vary.