Occipital Nerve Block & Radiofrequency Treatment

Treatment Details

Occipital Nerve Block 

What is an occipital nerve block and how does it help with my headache?

The occipital nerve travels from the spine to the back of the scalp. We commonly perform an occipital nerve block to treat headaches that might arise from the following causes: 

  • Occipital neuralgia: a condition in which the occipital nerve is injured or inflamed; there is usually piercing or throbbing pain in the back of the head or behind the ears 
  • Tension headaches 
  • Whiplash injuries: a neck injury because of forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck commonly after a vehicle accident
How is the occipital nerve block performed?
  • We will perform the procedure under light sedation and ultrasound guidance. We will inject a solution of local anaesthetic and steroid to surround the occipital nerve. The whole procedure should take about 15 minutes.
  • Many patients feel pain relief immediately, but it may take a few days to have full effects.
What are the possible risks?
  • An occipital nerve block is considered safe, with low risk of side effects/
  • The most common side effect is the superficial pain that comes from the injection site. However, it is temporary and mild.
  • Our scalp has very thin skin with many tiny blood vessels near the surface. Therefore, any puncture can result in bleeding, but it is common, minimal and easily stopped.
  • Other less common risks include, but are not limited to, excessive bleeding, infection and nerve damage.


What should I expect after the procedure?
  • Recovery from an occipital nerve block is fast and usually pain-free or with mild pain.
  • You should not drive on the day of injection, and should be accompanied home if you had sedatives for the procedure
  • You may resume your normal daily activities as your pain level allows.
How long does it last?
  • The injection may last for a few weeks to 6 months. If the pain relief is not adequate, the injection can be repeated or a radiofrequency procedure can be performed. 

Every condition is different, hence it is best to consult a specialist who is experienced in managing such conditions. Reach out to Dr Timothy Thor today.

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