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What are the benefits of an occipital nerve injection?

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The benefits of an occipital nerve injection include the reduction of swelling and inflammation around the nerves and surrounding structures, which in turn relieves pain, especially due to tension headaches or migraines, according to OhioHealth. The injection consists of a steroid and a local anesthetic, and the procedure lasts only a few minutes. The pain-relieving effects of the injection can last from several days to several months. The procedure typically does not cause serious side effects or complications.

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The occipital nerve block injection is an outpatient procedure, after which patients can usually drive themselves home, says OhioHealth. Doctors recommend that patients take it easy for a few hours on the day of the procedure, but most patients are able to return to work the next day. If the injection fails to provide pain relief within one to two weeks of the procedure, doctors may perform a second injection. Doctors generally do not like to perform more than three occipital nerve blocks within a six-month period due to a greater likelihood of side effects from frequent injections. Injections are usually more helpful for patients with a recent onset of pain than for patients who have been experiencing pain for a long period of time.

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