The Headache Institute

Diagnosis & Treatment

What You Need To Know About Occipital Nerve Blocks

  • It’s an injection of numbing medicine next to the occipital nerves.
  • They are located on either side of the scalp, originating at the neck.
  • There is a Greater and Lesser Occipital Nerve – either one can produce pain. Neither has a motor function (only sensory).
  • The injection is designed to stop the pain traveling along these nerves, which can lead to:
    • Occipital Neuralgia
    • Cervicogenic Headaches
    • Migraines
  • Diagnostic and Therapeutic Purpose
  • Pain in one or both sides of the head.
  • Tender scalp
  • Aching, burning throbbing pain.
  • May be described a sharp or electrical shock in back part of neck and head.
  • Occipital neuralgia – Those with pain on one side of the back of the head benefit the most.
  • Migraine sufferers.
  • Cervicogenic headaches – by definition – any headache caused by the neck. Typically one sided.
  • Cluster Headaches – one of the most painful headache types.
  • Quick procedure, can be done in the office in a few minutes.
  • No need for sedation.
  • Pain doctor feels point of maximal tenderness at base of skull.
  • Doctor moves needle to inject both nerve areas with numbing medicine +/- steroid.
  • Slight bleeding.
  • Infection, allergic reaction.
  • Repeating procedure works very well.