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Occipital nerve block injections

  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi tequila,

    Thank you for your question and being here with us. I’ve not had this procedure but know others who have had with success with it. It seems from what I’ve heard, it either works for temporary pain relief (a few months) or not at all. But we’re all different and what doesn’t work for one, may work for the other.

    Hopefully others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you!

    Nancy

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  • By GardensatNight

    I tried these for several years as they were the favored, well, really the only treatment offered by my neurologist at the time. They did nothing for me, and triggered a migraine every time. We eventually switched neurologists, and now I get botox, which works very well. I’ve talked to many people for whom nerve blocks work, so I think it may just depend on the triggers for your migraines (the same way migraine surgery will work for some and not others.)

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi GardensatNight,

      You’re right about the nerve blocks. Some people have relief for a few months while others, nothing.

      Thanks for being here and contributing!

      Nancy

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  • By Sharon f

    Hello
    I have had occipital nerve blocks done 3 times in the past with no success. I am having Botox treatment every 3 months which has been working quite well. However, for the last month or so, my migraines feel like they have just been continuous. My neurologist has suggested nerve block again. I think that I am in so much pain and have been for so long that I don’t feel like I can even describe where the pain is anymore. It just hurts everywhere. Does anybody else ever feel that way?

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  • By GardensatNight

    I had the same thing happen. Nerve blocks didn’t work (and I tried them for 2 years, so that was quite a long trial), botox did, but then I was getting triggered a lot by various things while I was still working, and hit a very bad patch. Had a 2-month long migraine. One thing neuro suggested was that we retry nerve blocks (different neuro than the one who did nerve blocks the first time.) I said okay, but of course, it didn’t work any better with new neuro either.

    What finally worked for me to break up the intractable migraine (my brain is stubborn and no longer likes triptans) is infusions.

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    • By Sharon f

      Hello everyone, I am on my second migraine free day and celebrating by getting my hair done which is kind of a mixed blessing because it can be a trigger but then again some days just breathing seems to be a trigger! Thanks for the support here guys it is wonderful. I am not sure what infusions are that were mentioned earlier? Have never heard that term before.

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    • By GardensatNight

      Hi Sharon,

      Infusions are where they give you meds by IV. They can give you lots of different stuff… steroids, depacon, magnesium, DHE, nausea meds, pain meds, benadryl, I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Some of it is the same stuff you might get in the ER to stop out of control migraines. Sometimes they do them in the neurologist’s office, and sometimes you go to a separate infusion center. I’ve found the infusion center is cheaper. Wasn’t sure from your description if that was what was going on with you–it sounded like you were having constant migraines, and I know I go through periods where I’ll have like 2-month basically every day migraines. They really help settle my brain down when nothing else (besides botox which I can’t have every week, ha ha) does.

      With me, triptans don’t really work anymore, so I go to an infusion center (I have a prescription from my neurologist) and get an infusion via IV to try to stop the migraine. My prescription is for like 8 different drugs, but they let me choose which ones I want to get that day. Anyway, it’s another option out there, and one I was glad my neurologist offered when other stuff wasn’t working.

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      That’s terrific Sharon F!! I’m so happy for you. I hope you enjoyed getting your hair done.

      Many of us get an infusion when we are in a particularly nasty migraine cycle or maintenance to keep the number of migraine attacks down. My infusions, to break a migraine cycle, have included magnesium sulfate, Benedryl, zofran and a few other medications. These articles have more information on the various types of medications that can be used; https://migraine.com/blog/alternatives-to-the-er/. And Ketamine is also used for severe migraine patients too;
      https://migraine.com/blog/patient-perspective-ketamine/.

      I hope that helps!
      Nancy

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Sharon f,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I’ve been getting Botox since August 2016 with pretty good results. I have noticed about 3 weeks before I’m due for Botox, which is now, I have to carefully watch my triggers. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, staying hydrated, reducing stress, avoiding my food triggers (not everyone has them) and a few other things become very important during this period. I seem to be getting more frequent attacks and my abortives don’t seem to work as well.

    Let me know how you are doing,
    Nancy

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  • By Sharon f

    Hi everyone, thanks for clarifying infusions for me. I am in Australia and we don’t have centres that perform that kind of service. Sounds like a great idea because I don’t go to emergency anymore because the wait to be seen can be hours, there is so much noise, the lights are so bright and one of the meds the give me in the IV gives me restless legs. There are several meds that I haven’t heard of in terms of treatment such as Benadryl, DHE and depacon. I have just started taking a black mores vitamin suggested by my neurologist called Rene-d. No change as yet. Thanks guys, stay strong

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  • By Tamara

    I have the only doctor in western Canada who does a combo is nerve blocks and trigger point injections (lidocaine). I get them done 2+ times a week, can be as much as 5 times. They definitely help me, since my doc takes two weeks holidays during Christmas and I’m dying. It doesn’t stop the migraines but it make sure it easier to bounce back. It also helps if I have a slow onset on – if I run and get needles it settles down (about 60% of the time).

    It took months before I really noticed that they helped a lot. Now I’m getting better at knowing when it would be benefited to get extra ones.

    Occipital nerve blocks about once every two weeks and trigger point injections in my scalp (most benefitical for me), jaw (bad TMJ with no treatment options left), shoulders, neck, base of skull, and back on differing days. Doc will also do basic spine adjustments and dry needling (IMS type) in the front of the neck and jaw which really helps me too.

    It is definitely the cumulative nature of these on top of massage, PRP and acupuncture that helped the most, unfortunately none of that is covered so I have had to drop everything except the trigger point injections and nerve blocks since they are covered by Alberta health.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Tamara,

    Thank you for sharing that with us. It’s not uncommon to employ a host of traditional medicine with complementary therapies to help manage migraine.

    Happy New Year!

    Nancy

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  • By SuzanStorm

    Hi. I’ve had occipital nerve block injections done twice now… both when I was in the midst of what seemed to be an unbreakable cycle. Yes, that afternoon my head hurt a little, but by the next day it was more just sore. I didn’t mind it because it did FINALLY break the nonstop pain. Also, really had no side affects to speak of.

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  • By etravel

    I had a Occipital Nerve block exactly 1 month ago….didn’t help at all and the injection site is still sore! And my headaches are what I would consider worse! Made them worse , more pressure in my ears and headache more in my temples and top of head now, ugh! Going back to see the doctor tomorrow, but wonder if something was done incorrectly on the procedure as to why it still hurts and headache is worse!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi etravel,

    I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t get any relief and are still hurting, that’s frustrating.

    Good luck at the doctor tomorrow and let us know how you make out,

    Nancy

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