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Occipital Nerve Blockin Phoenix, AZ

Conditions treated

  • Tender or painful scalp
  • Some migraines and cluster headaches
  • Spondylosis of the cervical facet joints
  • Pain affecting one side or the back of the head
  • Occipital neuralgia

Researchers are currently studying the effectiveness of occipital nerve blocks for migraines and cluster headaches. A 2018 study demonstrated nerve blocks can reduce the intensity of acute migraines. Studies are still ongoing to determine the effectiveness of this nerve block on various types of migraines and cluster headaches. 

Benefits

Occipital nerve blocks alleviate chronic headaches without long rehabilitation and recovery periods. 

Procedure

Before your nerve block, your doctor will tell you if you need to stop taking medications such as blood thinners or immunosuppressant medication to reduce your risk of complications. Those on blood thinners or who have poorly controlled heart disease or diabetes are not candidates for occipital nerve blocks. If you have an infection of any form, you should reschedule your injections until it has dissipated. 

During the nerve block, you’ll be asked to lay on your stomach. The healthcare professional performing the procedure will apply an anesthetic to the back of your head just above your neck before inserting a needle into the injection site until reaching the occipital nerve where they’ll inject the medication. The procedure takes only a few minutes, and you may experience numbness at the injection site as the medication takes effect. 

Recovery

Following your procedure, you may experience some form of pain relief within 15 minutes, but the medication can take a few days to take full effect. You may experience pain around the injection site, but this will dissipate within a few days. Pain relief can last a few weeks to a few months. 

While you should be able to drive home, medical professionals recommend having someone else drive you home. Your doctor will discuss when you can resume your normal medication schedule. Following the procedure, you should 

Risk

While this procedure is safe, every procedure comes with a rare chance for complications. Your doctor has decided the benefits of this procedure outweigh the risk. Possible risks include:

  • Allergic reaction to the medication
  • Bleeding, bruising, or infection at the injection site
  • Side effects such as:
    • Dizziness
    • Numbness
    • light-headedness

The Pain Experts of Arizona was founded to bring the highest level of care in a state-of-the-art setting that emphasizes the belief of treating our patients with the same respect, compassion, and dedication we would treat our own friends and family.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.