Greater Occipital Nerve Blocks
Nerves are responsible for signaling pain to the brain, whether it is in your toes, back or when you have a headache. One of the largest cranial nerves is the greater occipital nerve, with one on either side of the head. For those with chronic headaches or migraines, the greater occipital nerve can be the source of pain. At Medici Spine & Pain, we offer greater occipital nerve block injections for some of our patients with chronic headaches stemming from this area.
The greater occipital nerves run from the top of the spine to the back area of the head behind the ears. These nerves are responsible for signaling feeling and pain in the upper neck and back of the head. If these nerves are impacted from pressure or inflammation, they can cause headaches and head pain. Often patients will report that the pain seems to start at the base of the skull and spreads up the back of the head on one side or the other. These are symptoms that may indicate pressure on one of the greater occipital nerves.
Injections for Chronic Headaches
If it is believed that inflammation near one of the greater occipital nerves is causing headaches or chronic head pain, a nerve block injection may be recommended. This procedure uses local anesthetic and steroid medication to target pain and inflammation around the greater occipital nerve. The injection is guided by imaging of the area near the affected greater occipital nerve. The local anesthetic will often reduce pain immediately but does wear off in a few hours. The steroid medication can reduce inflammation in 3-5 days, which can offer relief from headaches and head pain.
If you have suffered from chronic headaches or migraines stemming from the lower back of the head, a greater occipital nerve block injection may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Contact our team to schedule a consultation with one of our pain physicians to discuss treatment for chronic headaches.