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Occipital Nerve Blocks


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Headaches are a common but very frustrating pain syndrome which may present much differently from one person to another. At Remedy Pain Solutions, we see many patients dealing with headaches that are difficult to control with oral medications alone, and are looking for something different than the many treatments they have tried thus far. For headaches arising in the back of the head, an occipital nerve block is one treatment to strongly consider.

To understand why this treatment is used to treat headaches, it is first important to know where the occipital nerve is and what role it plays in the development of headaches. One greater occipital nerve and one lesser occipital nerve are found on either side of the head, emerging from between the bones of the spine within the upper neck. These nerves supply sensation to the to the skin along the back of the scalp to the top of the head. As touch, pain, and temperature sensations are transmitted through these nerves, many patients are prone to develop migraine headaches as a response to occipital nerve irritation.

To relieve this nerve irritation, our providers at Remedy Pain Solutions place an injection of an anti-inflammatory steroid and a local anesthetic near the base of the skull where these nerves are located. The injection itself utilizes a very small needle, and takes no more than a minute or two to complete. After the injection is placed, the scalp near the injection site will go numb due to the local anesthetic, but the anti-inflammatory effect of the steroid usually increases 3-5 days after the injection with relief lasting several weeks to months. It is impossible to predict the amount of relief to expect, as each patient is different, but repeat injections may be indicated for some individuals. While complications resulting from these injections are very rare, one should attempt to minimize the amount of steroid given to each part of the body.

Occipital nerve blocks can be safely performed within the comfort of our Remedy Pain Solutions clinic located in Marina Del Rey. If you have been suffering with migraine headaches which are difficult to control with oral medications, feel free to contact us at Remedy Pain Solutions to discuss whether these injections could provide the relief you’ve been searching for.

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