Nerve blocks have been performed by headache and pain medicine specialists for years.
We use a combination of topical anesthetics, typically lidocaine and bupivacaine, and inject these selectively at various extracranial nerves to “numb up” the nerves and block pain signals that are travelling to the central nervous system. Ultimately, the goal is to “shut off” central pain receptors. Common nerve blocks performed at our site include supraorbital, infraorbital, auriculotemporal, branch trigeminal, sphenopalatine ganglion, greater occipital and lesser occipital n. blocks.
The procedure is performed in the office by one of our specialists. The procedure is safe, and generally very well tolerated, although some find the injections uncomfortable or painful. Following the injections, there is typically numbness to associated injected sites, and this may persist for much of the day. Patients are fine for driving and return to work or school shortly after the injection procedure. The headache relief usually occurs over several days. Duration of response is varied, but we typically see 6-8 weeks improvement, with less frequent and milder headaches following the injections. Some patients require repeat injections every 4-8 weeks, but this is quite variable.
Most insurance carriers cover the cost of nerve blocks.