If you are one of those people who suffer from pain in the back of the head, if frequent and severe occipital pain interferes with your daily activities, if you are worried about the treatment and relief of occipital pain, if you want to know how the greater occipital nerve blocks is done, we recommend you read more.
Doctors say that one of the ways to treat Pain in the back of the head and neck is to block the large nerve behind the head, which we intend to explain further in this article.
Obviously, chronic headaches of any kind and any name given to them can affect your function and reduce your quality of life. One of the types of chronic headaches is headache in the back of the head.
headaches in the back of the head, Headaches caused by inflammation, injury, and involvement of the large posterior nerve are usually deadly shooting pains in the back of the head that sometimes spreads to the around area.
Usually, people will have headaches after bending their necks for a while, for example for reading, working with phones, laptops, mobile phones, etc.
One of the simplest treatments for this type of chronic headache is occipital nerve block. Doctors usually achieve this by injecting medicine around large and small posterior nerves that are located behind your head and just above your neck.
Today, occipital nerve block, which is performed by injecting special substances by a specialist doctor in standard areas, by reducing inflammation and swelling of the tissue around the nerve, can reduce pain and other signs and manifestations of inflammation and irritation of the nerve, as well as swelling and inflammation of adjacent structures and tissues that have been effective in causing back pain, and doctors say that pain in the back of the head is usually the result of a variety of tension headaches and migraines, and both can respond well to occipital nerve block. You should know that occipital nerve block is an outpatient procedure and You will not need to recover or be hospitalized after that.
greater occipital nerve:
It is actually a nerve that originates from the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord. This large occipital nerve travels through the first and second cervical vertebrae along the small occipital nerve. After coming out of this hole, this nerve moves upwards, along the way, it innervates several important muscles in the upper part of your neck and the back of your head, and then enters the skin to innervate the scalp. This nerve is said to supply nerve to the skin above the head above the ear as well as the area above the parotid glands.
Clinical problems associated with greater occipital nerve
Disorders of this nerve are one of the causes that can cause cervicogenic headaches, ie pain of cervical origin. in medical books this pain is sometimes referred to as occipital neuralgia, one area where the greater occipital nerve may normally be trapped is the muscle called the obliquus capitis inferior.
One of the most common problems that people experience due to inflammation or pressure or damage to this greater occipital nerve is pain in the back of the head. Most people with tension pain that occurs in the occipital region will experience the following:
sensitivity and Increased pain over time that originates in the back of the head and above the neck and moves to the front of the head or the supraorbital area.
What is the occipital nerve block and why is it performed?
when greater occipital nerve is blocked, it can help reduce pain and tenderness in the back of the head. Blocking this nerve is a very simple, fast, and very low risk and complication method that can well relieve you of annoying pain in the back of the head.
How is a greater occipital nerve block performed?
This block is usually done when the patient is sitting and fully awake and is injected under local anesthesia.
Usually, a local anesthetic with some anti-inflammatory drug, ie. corticosteroids, is drawn by a doctor into a special syringe and then injected into one or both sides of your skull at specific points in the back of the head. This injection procedure, which can relieve you of annoying back pain, usually takes less than five minutes.
It is also said that you should know that about twelve hours after this injection you may feel numbness in the back of your head and upper part of your neck.
What are the benefits of having a greater occipital nerve block?
Doctors believe that this block can be very helpful so that you can get rid of severe and chronic headaches in the back of your head. Migraines are usually one of the types of pain that occurs in the back of the head. As we said, the greater occipital nerve block can control migraine pain in the back of the head very well. Doctors often use the term cervicogenic headaches to describe and name the group of headaches that cause pain and discomfort in the back of the head.
How long will the positive effects created by the greater occipital nerve block last?
Doctors say that when the greater occipital nerve block is performed in a standard way in standard points by a specialist doctor, there will be a significant reduction in pain and discomfort in the back of the head. This reduction lasts for several weeks to several months and it is recommended that you see your doctor to re-inject the anesthetic or re-block the nerve after the effect of this block reduces.
What are the possible dangers of following a greater occipital nerve block?
Doctors say a greater occipital nerve block is inherently a very safe and secure procedure. The most common danger that may result from this injection is that you do not benefit from nerve blocking at all, or that the positive effects of occipital nerve block are only for a few short days. Usually, people undergoing greater occipital nerve block may have a very transient reaction to the corticosteroid injected into the substance. this reaction is usually temporary and will last only a few days.
Among these reactions, the following can be mentioned:
- Feeling happy
- Difficulty sleeping
As we have said, these symptoms are not supposed to occur in all people who are under the greater occipital nerve block. On the other hand, these symptoms are very transient and will last only a few days and then resolve on their own. Other risks of this block include a small risk of minor bleeding and a very low risk of infection at the injection site. It is also said that there is a very rare possibility of nerve damage following the insertion of the needle, although this damage is very rare and unlikely. Usually, people who take multiple injectable doses may experience complications from corticosteroids, It is also recommended that this injection be repeated normally every three months so that people do not suffer from these injuries and complications from corticosteroids.
What are the consequences after a greater occipital nerve block?
You will need to stay in the office for a few minutes after the anesthetic, in addition to corticosteroids, is injected at specific points by doctor. Most people can drive on their own after this short time, usually it is recommended that you rest for a few hours after the injection. You can use a cold compress on the injection site to reduce the amount of inflammation, pain or bleeding. Of course, we must say that after this injection, you are able to perform daily activities as much as you can, and in other words, after the injection, it will not be a ban on performing daily activities.
What are the characteristics of the first injection of occipital nerve block?
Doctors believe that the first injection around the greater occipital nerve is usually done more to see if the doctor and the treatment group can reduce the pain felt by the patient in the neck and back of the head, in other words, the first injection and the first occipital nerve block has more of a diagnostic aspect. That is, if the patient responds to this injection and his or her headache is reduced, it means that the diagnosis is correct and the cause of these occipital pains is due to injuries and inflammations of this nerve.
Who are the best candidates for greater occipital nerve block?
You may be wondering who are the right people to get this treatment for, that is, the greater occipital nerve block, and in other words, who should be selected for this treatment. It is said that people who have recently had a headache will respond better to the above treatment than people who have been in pain for a long time.
What are the other treatments for controlling pain in the back of the head?
One of these treatments is radiofrequency. It is said that the radiofrequency process is sometimes added to the greater occipital nerve block to get a better therapeutic result and response, in this way, it both increases the effect of the block and makes the positive effects of the block in reducing headaches last longer. This will usually be done in the operating room with a little sedation that puts the patient to sleep. Another treatment modality is cryotherapy.
Following a Cryotherapy with a needle, freezing occurs in the nerve. This helps to maximize the benefits of injecting a single dose of the drug, for example, people undergo greater occipital nerve block injection if they do cryotherapy, the positive effects of this single injection will last for six months to a year. This procedure is also performed in the operating room with some sedation. Usually, people who experience cryotherapy may feel numbness in the back and upper part of the neck and upper part, as well as the back of the head, for weeks after the procedure.