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Occipital Nerve Block

What is an Occipital Nerve Block?

An occipital nerve block is an injection that numbs the nerves at the back of the head. There are four nerves on each side of the scalp. Occipital nerves allow us to feel sensations in the scalp.

An occipital nerve block is done to decrease headache pain, caused by migraine, injury (concussion), muscle tightness or occipital neuralgia.

The medicine used is either a local anesthetic or a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid. The medicine is placed around the occipital nerves, which are located just beneath the skin, in the back of the head.

The Procedure

The occipital block is usually done in the office. Your child will be awake for the procedure.

  • We will clean your child’s skin with a special soap and insert a small needle through the skin under the scalp.
  • We may inject several areas during the procedure to cover your child’s pain locations (the provider will locate the sites of these tender points before the injections).
  • Areas injected will quickly go numb. This numbness will wear off over several hours, although pain relief may last for weeks to months. The response to the block varies from patient to patient.
  • It is important that your child tell the doctor if he or she is getting light-headed or dizzy during the procedure.

Potential Risks and Complications

There are several possible complications; however, the risk is extremely low. They include mild skin irritation, mild bleeding, infection, bruise formation, seizure or stroke.

Follow Up

Your child can return to normal activities the following day. Any localized pain or skin irritation should begin to decrease about two days after the injection.

Call our Pain Clinic office (513-636-7768) about three days after the injection to discuss how your child is doing.

Call the Doctor If:

  • You see bleeding at the site
  • There is an increase in pain
  • There are any signs of infection, such as swelling at site, redness at site or fever greater than 101 degrees

Last Updated 02/2023

Reviewed By Holly Stahlman, MSN, APRN, CPNP

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