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Occipital Nerve Blocks

Pacific Pain Physicians

Interventional Pain Management Specialists located in Santa Barbara, CA & San Luis Obispo, CA

Chronic head or neck pain can be difficult to live with. The experienced team at Pacific Pain Physicians in Santa Barbara, California, provides many treatments to help you get the relief you seek to improve your quality of life, including an occipital nerve block. To learn more about the occipital nerve block and if it can help you, call the office today or book an appointment online.

Occipital Nerve Blocks Q & A


What is an occipital nerve block?

An occipital nerve block is an interventional pain management treatment option that helps provide long-term pain relief and may reduce your need for other pain medication. The injection consists of a local anesthetic and steroid that your specialist at Pacific Pain Physicians injects into the occipital nerves in the back of your neck to stop the pain signals and reduce your discomfort.

Am I a good candidate for an occipital nerve block?

Your specialist at Pacific Pain Physicians determines if you’re a good candidate for an occipital nerve block after a comprehensive evaluation that includes a review of your symptoms and medical history, as well as a complete physical exam.

An occipital nerve block may be recommended if you suffer from:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Migraines
  • Spondylosis of the cervical facet joint
  • Tender scalp
  • Pain in the back of the head
  • Localized head pain

You may also benefit from an occipital nerve block if you have chronic tension headaches.

What can I expect during an occipital nerve block?

The occipital nerve block injection only takes a few minutes. You may feel some discomfort during your injection, but any pain should disappear quickly as the anesthetic takes effect. You should also experience an immediate reduction in your pain following your injection.

After your injection, your specialist at Pacific Pain Physicians may recommend you take it easy for the rest of the day and ice the injection site. You should be able to return to your usual activities within a day.

Your pain may return about two days after the injection as the local anesthetic wears off. But by Day 3, you should notice an improvement in pain as the steroid helps to reduce your inflammation.  

You may need more than one injection to get the most pain relief. Your specialist determines the number of occipital nerve blocks you need based on the source of your pain and your symptoms. However, you shouldn’t need more than three injections over a six-month period.

For relief from your head and neck pain, call Pacific Pain Physicians today or request an appointment online to learn more about the occipital nerve block.