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Occipital Nerve Root Block

Responsible for the majority of the physical feelings in the back and top of your head, the occipital nerves emerge between the bones of the spine in the upper neck. Inflammation of these nerves can cause occipital neuralgia (migraines and headaches).

What is an Occipital Nerve Block?

The occipital nerve block (ONB) is a procedure where a pain-relieving medicine is injected to the area of the skull that contains these nerves. This minimally invasive procedure is performed by our specialist using a steroid and anti-inflammatory mixture and is performed under fluoroscopy (X-ray) guidance.

What to expect during an Occipital Nerve Block procedure

Your pain specialist will have you lay on your stomach while they numb the surrounding skin with a local anesthetic. With fluoroscopic guidance, a needle is guided to the occipital nerves where medication is administered. The entire procedure takes a few minutes where the patient is awake the entire time.

What to expect after an Occipital Nerve Block procedure

You are encouraged to take it easy with rest and relaxation the day of your injection, and some tenderness at the injection site may be expected. Most patients can resume their normal daily activities the next day. The administered medication will begin working within 3-5 days and can be effective for weeks or months. Some patients may even experience immediate pain relief from the anesthetic that turns into longer-lasting pain relief from symptoms.