An occipital nerve block is a common procedure to provide pain relief for migraines and chronic headaches. It involves an injection of pain-relieving medications and steroids near the nerve.
The greater occipital nerve supplies the feeling for the back and top of your head. Irritation to this nerve can cause pain in the forehead, temple, or behind the eyes.
Some of the specific conditions it’s commonly used to treat include the following:
- Migraine headaches are neurological conditions that cause intense headaches on one side of the head. Other symptoms include seeing spots, sensitivity to light, nausea, dizziness, and mood changes.
- Cluster headaches are short but painful series of reoccurring headaches. People who experience them tend to get them seasonally.
- Spondylosis of the cervical facet joints. Also called osteoarthritis of the joints in your neck, it may be caused by the age-related wear and tear of your neck bones and discs.
- Occipital neuralgia is a headache that usually causes shooting or stabbing pain in the back of your head, one side of your neck, and behind your ears. Pain is caused by damage to the greater and lesser occipital nerves.
Supraorbital Nerve block
The supraorbital nerve block is often used to provide localized anesthesia of the face because it offers several advantages over injecting directly into the tissue and thus a smaller amount of medication can be used. The supraorbital nerve supplies sensory signals to the upper eyelid, forehead, and scalp.
It is used in the following circumstances:
- Wound closure
- Pain relief
- Anesthesia for debridement
- Contraindication to general anesthesia
What is a trigeminal nerve block?
There are 12 cranial nerves and one of them is the trigeminal nerve on both sides of the face and is responsible for sensation and muscles in the face. The nerve runs from the skull and supplies the forehead, cheek, and lower jaw.
The trigeminal nerve block is an injection of numbing medication that helps relieve facial pain.
It’s used to treat:
- Trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain)
- Herpes zoster infection (or “shingles”) affecting the face
- Other atypical facial pain syndromes from tumors or other lesions
Trigeminal nerves carry sensations to and from your face and for helping you bite, chew and swallow. Blocking these nerves can help you stop feeling facial pain.
Suprascapular Nerve Block
The suprascapular nerve provides sensory signals to the shoulder joint. Suprascapular nerve block is performed to relieve acute shoulder pain such as that which occurs after shoulder surgery and is more effective when combined with numbing of the axillary nerve. It is also useful for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic shoulder pain secondary to bursitis, arthritis, degenerative joint and rotator cuff disease. Local anesthetic and steroid can alleviate pain and disability in certain chronic shoulder pain conditions.
Median Nerve Block
The median nerve comes from the neck and armpit region and travels in the upper arm, past the elbow and then through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. A nerve block is usually performed at the wrist but may also be performed in the elbow.
Some reasons to do a wrist block are:
- Simultaneous injury to multiple fingers
- Large abrasions or avulsions of the hand that require thorough irrigation, removal of damaged tissue, or both
- Avoiding distortion of anatomy in areas with limited fatty tissue or tissue that is already excessively swollen
- Simultaneously anesthetizing several lacerations in close proximity
In many of these situations, the median nerve block can be combined with ulnar or radial blocks at the wrist to achieve the desired coverage. Sometimes, ultrasounds are used to locate the nerve.
Genitofemoral Nerve Block
Most of the path of the genitofemoral nerve is deep in the abdomen but is the source of abdominal and pelvic pain.
A genitofemoral nerve block is used for the following:
The diagnosis and treatment of:
- Groin pain
- Inguinal pain, especially after inguinal hernia repair using mesh and/or staples
- Pelvic pain
- Suprapubic pain (mimicking interstitial cystitis)
- Vaginal or penile pain
- Used with ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerve blocks for inguinal hernia repair
- Used with femoral nerve block for saphenous vein stripping
- Used to diagnose genitofemoral neuralgia
Ilioinguinal (II) Nerve Block
Blockade of the Ilioinguinal nerve and Iliohypogastric nerves is indicated for analgesia following inguinal hernia repair because the nerves provide feeling to the skin of the lower abdominal wall in addition to the upper hip and upper thigh.
Ilioinguinal nerve block has shown great benefit as a diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic technique in the evaluation and treatment of groin and genital pain that is thought to arise from the ilioinguinal nerve. When combined with iliohypogastric and genitofemoral nerve block, ilioinguinal nerve block can also be utilized to provide surgical anesthesia for groin and genital surgery.