Occipital neuralgia: the role of occipital nerve blocks: Occipital neuralgia is disabling disorder characterized by recurrent headaches of moderate to severe intensity localized to the occipital region, with occasional radiation to the neck. Occipital neuralgia may be associated with trauma including whiplash, cervical spinal disease and migraine. The condition often responds poorly to medication treatment. A recent study has shown that treatment directed to the occipital nerve can provide long-lasting benefit.
It has been known for some time that a simple nerve block to the occiptal nerve can give improvement of occipital neuralgia for some patients. The authors of a new study in 206 patients, published in May of this year, have demonstrated that neurolysis of the occipital nerve provides more than 50% pain relief in over 80% of the patients, with no serious side effects.