When people experience more than 15 headaches per month, they are usually classified as chronic headaches. These headaches can come in the form of migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and more. After an evaluation, our physicians frequently find that these headaches are a result of swelling around the occipital nerves, which is a system of nerves that span from the back of your head and down into your upper neck. At Tulsa Pain, we focus on the uppermost region known as the greater occipital nerve in order to treat headaches and occipital neuralgia.
Our interventional pain management experts at Tulsa Pain make the procedure as easy as possible. We begin by cleaning and numbing the skin just below the hairline at the top of the neck near the base of the skull. Then, the physician will inject a mixture of anesthetic and steroids medication. Patients should feel numb for a few hours after the procedure, but they should be able to take themselves home without the need for a driver. While some patients feel pain relief almost immediately after the occipital nerve block injection, the soothing steroid medication can take full effect 24-36 hours after the procedure.
The success of an occipital nerve block varies from patient to patient. For some, the injection can relieve headaches for several months. For others, our physicians may recommend having another injection 1-2 weeks after the initial nerve block if the patient did experience sufficient pain relief from the first injection. If the injections relieved pain, the procedure can be repeated after the pain relieving effects of the medication begin to wear off.
The pain specialists at Tulsa Pain can also use occipital nerve blocks as a diagnostic tool to see if headaches are because of inflammation around the greater occipital nerve. If patients continued to get headaches after the first and second injections, the pain may be coming from somewhere else. Researchers are not sure of the exact cause of migraines or tension headaches, but occipital nerve blocks are a step in the right direction when it comes to treating chronic pain. Talk to your Tulsa pain expert at your next appointment to see if you might benefit from an occipital nerve block.
Tulsa Pain is a multi-location pain management practice in Oklahoma that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. We are dedicated to helping those who are suffering find the relief they deserve. Our team uses a balanced approach by incorporating minimally invasive, outpatient procedures, complementary and alternative medicine, and medication to help patients take control of their pain. Call 855-918-PAIN or click on our “Request An Appointment” tab to meet with one of our talented pain management specialists today!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.