Migraine Treatment

(Occipital Nerve Blocks for Headaches)


This is a treatment called occipital nerve block, to treat your headaches or more commonly know as migraine treatment.

In the UK more than 10 million people suffer from headaches, making them one of the most common health complaints,  but most headaches are easily treated and not serious. The majority of people can treat their headache with pharmacy remedies and lifestyle changes, such as getting more rest and drinking enough fluids. Headaches can have a number of different causes but generally are split into two broad categories:

• primary headaches – those not due to another underlying health problem;
• secondary headaches – those with a separate illness as a cause.

Primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Tension headaches are the most common form of headache, and are what we think of as a ‘normal’ everyday headaches. You may feel like a dull ache with constant pressure around the front, top and sides of your head. Sometimes this can feel as if a rubber band has been stretched around your head. Stress can be the primary cause, but there are lots of others, including excessive drinking (alcohol), not getting enough sleep, depression, skipping meals and not drinking enough water.

Migraines are also common. If a headache is recurrent and disabling to the point where you are unable to carry on with your normal activity, you may be suffering from a migraine. Migraines are often described as a pounding or throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head. The headache is frequently preceded or accompanied by other symptoms, such as visual disturbances, photophobia (discomfort caused by bright light), nausea and vomiting.
Cluster headaches are a third type of primary headache. These excruciatingly painful headaches cause an intense pain around one eye. They are rare and are called cluster headaches because they happen in clusters for a month or two at a time, often around the same time of year.

If you suffer from headaches regularly, treatment such as occipital nerve block can help reduce the symptoms and get you back to normal activity. Occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area. The steroid injected reduces the inflammation and swelling of tissue around the occipital nerves. This may in turn reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerves and surrounding structures. Typically, headaches over the back of the head, including certain types of tension headaches and migraine headaches, may respond to occipital nerve blocks.

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require.

    If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the best consultant for you to see.

    For more information, call our Reservations team on 01622 237727 or email reservations@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself.

    If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf.

    If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation. This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests).

    Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further.

    If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital.

    Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

Occipital nerve block takes just a few minutes to perform and consists of a local anaesthetic and a steroid injection. The procedure involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues. There is some pain involved, but the skin and deeper tissues are numbed with a local anaesthetic using a very thin needle during the performance of the block. Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain has gone or improved considerably. This is due to the local anaesthetic injected. This will last only for a few hours. Your pain may return and you may have a sore head for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. You should start noticing a more lasting pain relief starting the third day or so, and its effect can last for several days to a few months. Your consultant will discuss onward treatment with you and will monitor your condition after the treatment has been performed.

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS contact our Reservations team on 01622 237727 or email reservations@kims.org.uk.



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