An occipital nerve block is a relatively safe and simple procedure to block the occipital nerve to help diagnose and treat certain types of head pain. There are 2 greater occipital nerves, on each side of the head. These emerge from between bones of the spine in the upper neck. The 2 occipital nerves make their way through muscles at the back of the head and into the scalp, supplying feeling (including pain) to a good portion of the back and top of the head. They sometimes reach nearly as far forward as the forehead, but do not cover the face or the area near the ears (other nerves supply the feeling to these regions).
Before the injection, let the staff know if you are taking any "blood thinners" such as aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix or an anti-inflammatory. These will need to be stopped. You will be asked to lie down on an examination table. The area to be injected will be cleansed and prepped. The Interventional Radiologist will numb the area with numbing medication. Once this occurs, the numbing medication and a steroid will then be slowly injected in the area.