Diagnostic nerve block????
February 24, 2021 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Help! I’ve had a headache for 6 days. I’m being treated for migraine(?) and a bulging disc in my cervical spine (C5,c6). I have an appointment tonight with the spine doctor and want to know if it’s possible for a nerve block to show whether my pain (at this time) is cervicogenic or migraine. I plan to talk to him but I’m in Germany and language is a tiny bit of an issue so I just want to know if this is practiced before I ask! Thank you in advance.
posted by pairofshades to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Best answer: Hi! I've had a headache for 27 years. I've definitely had nerve blocks to see whether they help, and to gather information. I can't see any reason not to ask your doctor about the possibility. I hope you get help and relief very soon.
posted by Orlop at 5:15 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Fingers crossed it is not a cluster headache, but that is something to consider if it turns out not to be cervicogenic.
posted by gudrun at 5:59 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes, diagnostic nerve blocks are a real thing if that’s what you’re asking. Depending on the type of pain, if there is a good guess on a peripheral nerve as the cause, you can temporarily quiet that nerve with local anesthetic. If the pain goes away the guess was right. Obviously limited for intermittent pain that might not show up during the hours with the block in effect. You can also accidentally block nearby nerves depending on the target and technique, so it may only narrow instead of isolate the cause.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:06 AM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone. Robot’s answer was exceptionally helpful because I didn’t know it depended partially on timing to be informative . And thank you orlop- I hope I don’t have another 25 years to go. I’ve just got home and had an injection to the occipital area and a brain mri- so at least I don’t have a brain tumor! Fingers crossed and thank you all.
posted by pairofshades at 11:15 AM on February 24, 2021

Best answer: "cervicogenic migraines" are a thing. not mutually exclusive.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:16 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

On the off chance this is a tension headache, I'll pass on what helped me. After a 3 day headache as a 13 year old where I was too queasy to get out of bed, a doctor prescribed a couple muscle relaxers. It was amazing. Went to sleep with pain and woke up with it gone. If the pain is less, when you rub your shoulders, that's the sign of a tension headache. Everyone would try to tell me I had migraines so I wanted to let you know how to tell the difference. Apologies if it's not what you're experiencing.
posted by stray thoughts at 9:12 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

You could also ask about nerve ablation which is like a nerve block but more permanent from what I hear. I've been using Botox to treat musculodegenerative migraines but not happy with facial drooping so I quit. The pinched nerve sounds awful good luck on healing and pain free progress
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 4:32 AM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hello everyone, I just wanted to update. I had an occipital nerve block and it made the whole thing end! Yay! Following on from this I went to a new neurologist who specializes in pain and had a 3 hour appointment and gave her my whole history and she diagnosed migraine and cervocogenic (sp) headache. Thank you everyone who answered, it’s been so hard to figure it all out but I think I’m on the right track now :-) fingers crossed.
posted by pairofshades at 12:12 PM on May 23, 2021

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