Occipital nerve injections are safe, relatively simple, and temporary procedures that help diagnose and treat certain kinds of head pain.

Occipital nerves travel from your neck to the back of your head and scalp. An injection of local anesthetic and, at times, steroid medication can temporarily reduce headaches caused by muscle spasm and tension.

The best candidates for occipital nerve injections are patients with one-sided head pain that occurs predominately at the back of the head. Patients with the “nerve-like” shooting or burning pain of occipital neuralgia generally respond best. Although in some cases, patients with migraines, cluster headaches, and several other conditions that cause the scalp to become tender have also been receptive to occipital nerve injections.

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Occipital nerve injections do have some side effects, but they are few and generally mild.

OCCASIONAL SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE:

Soreness at the injection site that may last a few days

Numbness, which is a sign that the anesthetic is working

Mild dizziness

Slight hair loss near the injection site

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COMMON CAUSES OF HEADACHES:

Trauma to the back of the head

Neck tension and/or tight neck muscles

Infection

Blood vessel inflammation


WANT TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR OCCIPITAL NERVE INJECTIONS?