Greater occipital nerve injections can be a very useful treatment for occipital headaches.
The greater occipital nerve exits the posterior portion of the skull at about the level of the nuchal ridge, and travels anteriorly alongside the occipital artery. The lesser occipital nerve is found about halfway between the greater occipital nerve and the mastoid process, again along the line of the nuchal ridge. On occasion, the occipital nerve block may be performed in association with a supraorbital nerve block.
Patients for consideration of these blocks should first be clinically assessed, which will be performed in our rooms.
The procedure may be unilateral or bilateral, depending on symptoms.
Our specialists perform this procedure under ultrasound guidance. The USS identifies the occipital artery, which travels in close association with the greater occipital nerve. A combination of short and long acting local anaesthetic is then infused, along with a corticosteroid.
The procedure is normally performed as an outpatient or day procedure. Whilst most patients tolerate this under local anaesthetic, some patients require sedation. If sedation is required, then the patient is generally admitted at least for the day.