Frequently Asked Questions About Occipital Nerve Blocks For Pain Management

What are occipital nerve blocks?

An occipital block is an outpatient injection performed on either side of the head around the areas of the occipital nerves for pain relief. These are peripheral nerves supplying sensation to the base of the head moving up to the top of the head bilaterally.

What do they work well for?

Occipital nerve blocks have been studied in many research studies, and actually need a lot more research in some conditions to establish efficacy or not. One reason is a lot of these studies did not utilize a control, but just did a bunch and looked back at the results retrospectively.

It has been shown to work well for cluster headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and occipital neuralgia. Additionally, it has shown good results for patients who overuse narcotic medication and have headaches and possibly those in the withdrawal phases to make the headache pain less.

There are also multiple studies that have looked at it for migraines with encouraging results. These studies overall showed approximately a 50% good to excellent result from ONB’s for anywhere from 1 to 6 months.

How are they performed?

The physician sterilizes the injection site and injects in and around the area of greatest tenderness to palpation. Typically the injection contains both numbing medicine along with a steroid, such as Kenalog or Depo-Medrol.

What is injected?

Most physicians who perform occipital nerve blocks will inject a steroid medication along with a numbing medication. The studies performed have not delineated whether or not the addition of the steroid is absolutely necessary to make the results last longer. It has been postulated that simply the numbing medicine can break the “cycle of pain” in multiple forms of headaches. Since the answer is unclear and the risk of adding the steroid is low, it is typically included.

Should multiple occipital nerve blocks be performed?

As with most pain management injections, occipital nerve blocks typically do not produce effective results forever. Therefore, they will most likely need repeating once they wear off.

An additional consideration is that if the initial nerve block works slightly, it may be repeated sooner rather than later (2 week point versus 3 months or so) to potentiate the results and give more effective pain relief.

Do patients need to have tenderness around the region of the occipital nerves to obtain relief from these nerve blocks?

Occipital neuralgia by definition involves tenderness around the occipital nerves. Cluster, tension, and migraine headaches may not have tenderness in these areas. One study showed that almost half of patients with migraines did in fact have tenderness in the area of the nerves.

The answer to that question is it is unclear if tenderness needs to be present for the injection to work. However, multiple research studies have in fact shown that in patients with tenderness around the occipital nerves that an occipital block has a higher chance of success than otherwise.

This is not to say that if tenderness does not exist around the occipital nerve that the injection would be unsuccessful.

5 Important Facts That You Must Know About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is inflammation of gums that results from buildup of tartar or plaque, which results in periodontal pockets that support growth of bacteria. This disease can easily be controlled if detected early enough. This is why it is important for individuals to have regular dental checkups and cleanings annually. Here are essential facts about gum disease that you must know.

It is common

Periodontal disease is quite common all over the world. It is reported that almost 85 percent of adults experience this condition. Therefore, if one is not careful, then they can also develop periodontal issues. Early detection of this disease can ensure that buildup of plaque is eliminated and it does not advance to gingivitis or periodontitis over time.

Causes

Periodontal disease is caused by poor oral health hygiene practices. You might develop gum disease if you are not brushing your teeth as recommended or are using improper flossing and brushing techniques. Daily brushing and flossing of teeth is crucial as it eliminates leftover bacteria that form plaque, which results in tartar and breaks down your teeth.

Gum disease indicates other medical problems

Even though gum disease is a dental problem of its own, it can also indicate underlying medical issues. A bacterium that causes periodontitis is connected to heart disease. Gum inflammation can also be an indicator of stroke, diabetes, bone loss and oral cancer. Therefore, when you practice excellent hygiene practices, you can also prevent the occurrence of these medical conditions.

Risk factors

Researchers have confirmed that there is a relationship between gum disease and diabetes and pregnancy. Diabetic individuals are prone to having gum problems. During pregnancy, more progesterone is produced by the body. This hormone is essential for the development of the fetus. However, it also enhances growth of bacteria that result in gum disease. Therefore, regular checkups on your gums are important if you are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant.

Treatment options

The treatment procedures for gum diseases will vary depending on its severity. Medications can be prescribed to fight off bacteria and infection in the mouth. The dental hygienist can also remove plaque through root planning and scaling. If scaling and planning are not successful, the tartar can be removed through surgical techniques. Tissue and bone grafts can also be used to replace and fix damaged teeth. Laser can also be used to get rid of tartar and plaque buildup.

It is essential for patients to consult a dentist if they are experiencing any symptoms. The earlier gum disease is detected, the better for the patient. The major goals of treating periodontitis include promoting healthy attachments of gums to the teeth, prevent swelling, lower risk of infection, reduce pocket depths and stop progression of the disease. Treatment options can involve both surgical and non-surgical procedures for controlling bacteria growth and restoring oral tissues.

Weight Loss Plan – Choosing the Best Weight Loss Plan

If you’re like most people out there, you want to find the best weight loss plan that will not only allow you to lose weight quickly, but also keep that weight off for good.

There are many weight loss plans out there that offer promising results – and many do deliver, the biggest problem with such plans though is that in most cases, the weight comes right back on almost as fast as it left.

This leaves you discouraged, disappointed, frustrated – and any other synonym you wish to describe how you feel once that weight you lost comes back on.

In order to combat this and find a weight loss plan that is going to deliver results that stay around, there are a few things you need to be asking yourself.

Is The Weight Loss Plan ‘Livable’?

The first thing to question is whether or not this weight loss plan is something you could see yourself doing for the long term. Yes, once you lose weight some adjustments will be made to ensure you don’t keep losing weight, but still, you want to find a weight loss plan that will introduce to you a way of eating that can easily be continued on for life.

By adopting proper eating habits while on the diet that you can keep doing, you’ll have a dramatically higher chance of maintaining this weight loss later on.

Does The Weight Loss Plan Allow Foods You Enjoy?

Now, let’s face the honest truth here. No one is going to be happy eating nothing but chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, and salad for weeks on end – no one.

If your weight loss plan does not allow you to incorporate at least two foods that you enjoy on a regular basis, I’d strongly recommend against it.

Why?

Adherence will be 90% of your results. If you can’t stick with that diet, you might as well just stop right now.

Regardless of how amazing any given diet is, if you aren’t following it, it’s not doing any good, is it?

Find a weight loss plan that you can at least somewhat enjoy to help increase the chances you see results.

Will The Weight Loss Plan Have You Losing One to Two Pounds A Week?

Finally, the third thing you want to address when on your hunt for a weight loss plan is whether or not it’s going to have you losing weight at a proper rate.

If your plan promises 10 pounds lost in one week, guess what, that weight isn’t body fat. You very well could lose water weight and muscle glycogen to amount to that much, but it’s not going to be true body fat loss.

A good weight loss plan should only have you losing one to two pounds of body fat a week. This will help ensure that it does stay off for good.

Very heavy individuals may be able to get away with three pounds max, but that’s as far as you should push it safely.

So, keep these three factors in mind when choosing your weight loss plan.

If you’re looking for a plan that will allow you to eat one food every single day that you truly enjoy while boosting your metabolism in the process, then the Cheat Weight Loss Program¬† for you.