FAQ: Occipital Nerve Blocks for Migraine and More
One of the treatments people often ask about for Migraines, cervicogenic headaches, some other headaches and occipital neuralgia is occipital nerve blocks (ONBs).
The occipital nerve is located in areas at the base of the skull, and in some cases, blocking signals from that nerve can stop pain signals from reaching the brain, temporarily stopping head pain. This is the principle behind ONBs.
ONBs are relatively simple to perform, but they should always be performed by a trained and experienced doctor. A small needle is used to inject a solution containing a local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory steroid solution into the area around the nerve.
Pain relief often begins within 15 minutes. Duration varies widely from patient to patient, and may last from days to months. ONBs aren't an appropriate treatment for everyone, but for some people, they're more effective than oral medications.
Frequently asked questions about ONBs:
- How long will it take?
- Can I resume my activities afterwards?
- If I gain significant but only very brief relief, should I have the procedure repeated?
The American Headache Society has a Headache Toolbox series designed for patients. For answers to the questions above, download Occipital Nerve Blocks.
Rothrock, John F. MD. "Occipital Nerve Blocks." Headache. Headache Toolbox. April 23, 2010.
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