Occipital Nerve Block

Occipital Nerve Block Procedures

Offered in East Orange and Newark, NJ

The greater and lesser occipital nerves are located at the base of the skull and back of the head. They are mostly responsible for any feelings or sensations people experience in the top or back of their heads, and when they become irritated or inflamed, the result may be migraines, headaches, and other conditions causing intermittent or chronic head pain. Located in Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn, a board-certified and fellowship-trained Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician (PM&R), offers a solution to patients in these situations through occipital nerve block treatment at Prospect Spine and Pain (PSP). Contact us today to get the pain relief you deserve.

What Is an Occipital Nerve Block?

In this procedure, a combination of steroids and pain-relieving medications are injected directly into the patient’s greater and lesser occipital nerves. The greater occipital nerve is responsible for sensation in the back of the head, while the lesser occipital nerve provides sensation to the scalp. A lesser or greater occipital nerve block can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in the head and neck area. The treatment is reserved for patients with chronic head pain from Occipital neuralgia. This headache disorder is caused by inflammation of the greater and/or lesser occipital nerves and is categorized by intense shooting pain in the following areas:

  • At the base of the head and goes to the scalp
  • In the back of the head and neck
  • Pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Pain behind the eye

About the Procedure

Before approving an occipital nerve block procedure for our patients, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn utilizes state-of-the-art medical imaging and physical examination techniques to pinpoint the true cause of the patient’s chronic head pain, as well as rule out whether symptoms indicate a condition warranting another type of treatment.

If Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn determines this quick, simple procedure is appropriate for you or a loved one, some patients may prefer to have a ride home while others opt to wait for 15-20 minutes to assess for any post-procedure pain or discomfort and then when deemed appropriate, they drive themselves home. She will administer the occipital nerve block with the following steps:

  1. The patient will be asked to lie face down.
  2. An anesthetic will be applied to the back of the head.
  3. An extremely thin needle is inserted to surround the greater and/or lesser occipital nerve(s).
  4. Numbing, pain-relieving medication is then injected into the nerve(s).

An occipital nerve block procedure takes just minutes to complete, and most patients experience no side effects and can return to normal activities the same day. Some patients report immediate pain relief, though the full effects of the treatment will appear over the following days. Results will vary depending on the individual’s condition, overall health, and other factors, but many have experienced pain relief lasting for months at a time.

Benefits of Occipital Nerve Block Procedures

Pain Relief

One of the primary advantages of occipital nerve block treatments is their ability to provide targeted pain relief. By administering local anesthetic near the occipital nerves, we can effectively interrupt pain signals, offering swift and substantial relief from headache and neck discomfort. Many patients experience immediate improvement following the procedure, with results lasting for an extended period.

Improved Quality of Life

Chronic headaches can significantly impact your quality of life, making even simple daily tasks challenging to bear. Occipital nerve blocks offer a renewed sense of freedom and well-being, allowing you to reclaim control over your life without the burden of constant headache pain. Whether you’re struggling with work, family, or social activities, our treatments aim to restore balance and vitality.

Minimally Invasive

Unlike more invasive surgical interventions, occipital nerve blocks are minimally invasive, only a simple injection under local anesthesia. This means less downtime and a quicker return to your regular activities, ensuring minimal disruption to your daily routine.

Avoidance of Systemic Medications

For individuals wary of relying on systemic medications with potential side effects, occipital nerve blocks offer a welcome alternative to relieve pain. By targeting the source of pain directly, we can often reduce or eliminate the need for oral medications, providing relief without the risk of systemic side effects.

Preparing for an Occipital Nerve Block Injection

Patient Evaluation and Consultation

Before undergoing an occipital nerve block injection, you will undergo a comprehensive patient evaluation and consultation with our experienced medical team. During this visit, we will review your medical history, conduct a thorough physical examination, and discuss your symptoms and treatment goals in detail.

Pre-procedure Instructions

To ensure the success of your occipital nerve block, it’s essential to follow pre-procedure instructions provided by our team. This may include temporarily discontinuing certain medications, arranging transportation to and from the appointment, and fasting for a specified period before the procedure. By adhering to these guidelines, you can optimize the effectiveness of the treatment and minimize any potential risks.

Post-Procedure Care and Follow-up

Following your occipital nerve block, our team will provide detailed post-procedure instructions to promote optimal healing and pain relief. This may include avoiding strenuous activities, applying ice to the injection site, and monitoring for any unusual symptoms. We will schedule a follow-up appointment to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Additional Treatment Options for Chronic Head Pain

In addition to occipital nerve block procedures, we offer a range of other treatment options for chronic head pain. These may include physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, medication management, and more. Our team is dedicated to finding the most effective treatment approach for each individual patient.

Learn More about Occipital Nerve Block Procedures

If you or a loved one is living with chronic head pain due to migraines, cluster headaches, or other conditions, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn is standing by to help. For more information about occipital nerve block procedures or our Newark, NJ practice, contact Prospect Spine and Pain (PSP) today.