Rehabilitation Medicine

Interventional Headache Management

The interventional headache management specialists at Mount Sinai are committed to helping you end headache pain through our interventional headache management program. Your headache management will include guided intervention to ensure safety, accuracy, and effectiveness through the use of nerve blocks.

Nerve Blocks

At Mount Sinai, we have perfected the use of nerve blocks to both halt your current headache and prevent future headaches from occurring. Nerve blocks consist of medications that prevent the transmission of “pain messages” in a small-needle syringe which we inject into the area of the head where you are experiencing pain. Medications include a local anesthetic, for numbing, and occasionally a steroid, to reduce inflammation.

While some pain serves a purpose because it lets us know that something is wrong, there are many nerve impulse “exaggerations,” that may prevent you from living comfortably. A nerve block can end these false alarms.

The success of a nerve block is difficult to predict. They are most effective in those who have the following types of headache:

  • Cervicogenic headaches: Occur on one side of the head and are triggered by pressure on the neck or back of the head. They often occur because of trauma.
  • Chronic cervicogenic migraines: Begin with neck pain, and develop into throbbing on one side of the head, often with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to noise, light, and activity. They last for hours or days at a time.
  • Cluster headaches: Cause a stabbing pain in or around one eye, occurring over a four to six week period, and lasting from 15 minutes to three hours each time.
  • Post spinal-tap headaches: Caused by leaking spinal fluid after a lumbar puncture or spinal anesthesia. This type of headache is treated with an epidural blood patch.

A successful nerve block will most likely last for several days to several weeks and may become more effective with each additional injection you get, which may result in longer lasting relief.