Why you might need?
Greater occipital nerve (GON) injections contain a small dose of local anaesthetic and steroids. They are injected around the greater occipital nerve which runs on each side of the back of the head. They can either be injected on one or both sides and can be effective in 60 - 70% of cases. The aim of the treatment is to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
The injection involves using a small needle. You may feel some discomfort when the needle is inserted but it is generally well-tolerated. The injections contain some local anaesthetic and so you may feel numbness at the injection site.
What can I expect to happen after the injection?
The benefit may start within an hour, but may take up to two weeks to take effect. These injections can be repeated after 2-3 months if they are effective but the benefit wears off.
GON injections are generally well tolerated. It is advisable to wait 15 minutes after the injection before going home to make sure you feel well.
There may be some temporary worsening of pain for 1-2 weeks after the injections. There is a very small chance of bleeding and infection but this is very rare. Some people report some dizziness at the time of the injection but this usually resolves shortly afterwards. There is a <1% risk of localised hair loss in a small area around the injection site.