Occipital Nerve Injection
Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg, Florida
What is an Occipital Nerve Block injection?
An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head, just above the neck area.The steroid injected reduces inflammation and swelling of tissue around the occipital nerves.This in turn reduces pain and other symptoms caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerves and surrounding structures. Typically, headaches over the back of the head, including certain types of tension headaches and migraine headaches, may respond to an occipital nerve block or injection.
Benefits of an Occipital Nerve Block
Due to the local anesthetic injected, pain may lessen or be completely gone immediately after the injection.This initial affect will last only for a few hours. The pain may return and the patient may have a sore head for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion, as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. More lasting pain relief should noticed after the third day or so, and this effect can last for several days to a few months.
Occipital Nerve injection Procedure Described
The procedure is done with the patient seated or lying down. The skin on the back of the neck is cleaned with antiseptic solution.The skin and deeper tissues are numbed with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle.A fluoroscope is then used to provide an MRI-like image to guide needle placement, and a steroid or other medication is injected.A band-aid is used to cover the injection site.The actual procedure takes only a few minutes.
Following the procedure, the patient rests for a while in the office. Most patients can drive themselves home. It is advisable for the patient to take it easy for several hours after the procedure and perhaps apply ice to the injected area.
This procedure is generally safe. However, as with any procedure, there are risks, side effects and possibility of complications. The most common side effect is temporary pain at the injection site. Other uncommon risks involve infection, bleeding, worsening of symptoms etc. Fortunately, serious side effects and complications are uncommon. Unless there are complications, patients are usually able to return to work the following day.
Who should NOT have an occipital nerve block?
If any of the following applies to you, you need to inform your physician and not have this procedure:
- An allergy to any of the medications (a local anesthetic and a steroid medication) to be injected
- Are on any blood thinning medications
- Have an active infection going on
- Have poorly controlled diabetes or heart disease
If you continue to suffer with chronic pain and would like to explore if an occipital nerve injections is an appropraite treatment option, contact Dr. Lox for an appointment at 727-462-5582. Since 1990, Dennis M. Lox, M.D has applied his personal interests in sports medicine, cutting-edge regenerative medicine and chronic pain management to helping patients increase their quality of life.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, and the Florida Spine Center serve patients within the greater Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as all of Florida and the US.
All statements, information or opinions provided by this website are provided for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose nor treat through this website or by telephone. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.