What is it?
An occipital nerve block is done when there is inflammation of the occipital nerves (located in the back of the head) that is causing headaches. A local anesthetic and steroid are injected into the occipital region in order to reduce inflammation of the nerves and provide pain relief.
What are the expected results?
A local anesthetic is used in combination with the steroid. The local anesthetic may provide pain relief for the first few hours after the injection, but then wears off. You may be sore for a day or so. Pain relief from the steroid is typically experienced a few days after the injection. This injection may provide pain relief for several weeks or months.
How long will it take?
The procedure itself only takes 5-10 minutes to perform. You will be observed for 20-30 minutes after the procedure.
What happens after the procedure?
Most often you can go home in about 20-30 minutes. You will need to take it easy for the rest of the day but may return to normal activities as tolerated the next day.
What to expect the day of your procedure
This procedure is typically done in the office. After you have been checked in and taken back to an exam room, an assistant will take your blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart rate. The assistant will ask you some questions and have you sign your consent forms. It is imperative that you, the patient, inform the assistant of any changes in your history and/or physical, such as recent flu or any health problems that might affect your procedure. Inform the staff of any allergies, especially to Betadine or Iodine.
If necessary, you may be asked to change into a gown. The provider will talk to you before your procedure. You will then be positioned and the injection site will be cleaned. The provider will perform the injection. Afterward, the cleaning solution will be washed off and bandages will be applied as needed.
You will be monitored for 20-30 minutes after the injection. You will be given discharge instructions.