Occipital Nerve Block
The back of the head is known as the occiput. The greater and lesser occipital nerves cover most of the sensation over the back of the head. Sometimes, the occipital nerve can be irritated from trauma or chronic pain, and will become inflamed as a result of entrapment as the nerve penetrates the soft tissue at the back of the head. They can produce tenderness and headache at the base of the head. In an occipital nerve block, a local anesthestic (numbing medicine) and a corticosteroid (an anti-inflammatory medicine) are injected near these nerves, which help temporarily numb pain and can reduce inflammation. This injection can be used to diagnose or treat the pain.
How is an occipital nerve block performed?
The pain will return later that day as the local anesthetic wears off. Longer-term relief is obtained with the corticosteroid.
How long the pain relief lasts varies person to person. For some, the relief lasts several days to months. If the treatment works for you, you can have periodic injections to stay pain-free.