An occipital nerve block is an injection of steroid and local anaesthetic that is performed around the occipital nerve. This nerve is located at the back of the head and the top of the neck near the hairline.

An occipital nerve block is used to relieve pain that most medications fail to do. One of those are for people suffering from migraines.


The procedure is quick as it is only an injection, it will only take a minute or slightly more. The area of skin will be cleaned with antiseptic solution and numbed. The injection will be placed just behind the ear and steroid and local anaesthetic will be injected.


You may feel slightly strange from the numbing sensation but that should fade. Your doctor may want you to stay for an extra hour or so just to make sure everything is well and there is no bleeding. Once home, it is important not to do anything too strenuous operate heavy machinery like driving. After 24 hours you will be able to return to normal daily activities.


There are very few side effects to an occipital nerve block; a small bump may rise at the injection site and it can be quite tender and uncomfortable. Infection is also a small risk.


Some people will feel the benefits of the injection almost immediately after the procedure is performed but it can take up to 7 days for the effects to fully take place.


If the treatment is successful for a certain amount of time, then the injections can be repeated every month or so. It does depend on whether the patient is really benefitting from the injections otherwise other treatment may be necessary.


This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.