Occipital Nerve Block

Steroid injection for neck pain or headache from occipital neuralgia

The most common symptoms related to occipital nerve injury are local tenderness or a tension type headache. The headache is usually described as a sustained, low intensity aching. This pain usually bilateral but may be on only one side. It is associated with stiffness of the muscles of the neck. Migraine headaches may also be related to occipital neuralgia. Migraine headaches are characterized by recurrent, severe, throbbing pain. It may be worse when lying down, increased by exposure to light, and associated with nausea or vomiting. Occipital neuralgia can also cause scalp pain and tenderness, and even numbness extending into the neck.

Occipital Nerve Block Technique

The nerve is identified under the scalp by palpation. Typical pain or headache may be reproduced with pressure over the nerve. After cleaning the scalp, a small amount of local anesthetic and a small dose of long acting steroids are injected. Numbness over the top of the head, after the injection, is a sign of a successful block. The numbness may last several hours. Relief of pain can be immediate and is occasionally permanent. The block can be repeated if necessary.

Go to the next page on discograms.

Go to the next chapter on major procedures.


Go to the chapter on medicines and orthotics

The information in this site briefly describes issues related to medical treatments, and has been licensed by from Northern California Neurosurgery Medical Group, Inc., who is solely responsible for said content.  This web site is not a substitute for good medical care or for a consultation with a spine specialist. It should not be used to plan your treatment. The well considered advice of a specialist who has personally examined you is always superior to even the best internet pages.

Copyright 2007, Northern California Neurosurgery Medical Group. All rights are reserved.  No part of this web site may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored, electronically or on paper, without the written permission of the Northern California Neurosurgery Medical Group, Inc.
Last modified: 07/27/08