A case of pulsed radiofrequency lesioning for occipital neuralgia

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45 Scopus citations


Objective. This report describes a case where pulsed radiofrequency lesioning (RFL) of the greater occipital nerve (GON) offered a valuable and safe treatment for the management of greater occipital neuralgia. The case is considered in relation to a review of the medical literature on greater occipital neuralgia and RFL interventions. Case Report. A 62-year-old man with a 43-year history of left suboccipital pain underwent pulsed RFL of the left GON (20-millisecond bursts at intervals of 0.5second for 4minutes at 42°C) after failing to achieve substantial analgesia with naproxen, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit and a greater occipital nerve blockade (GONB) utilizing local anesthetic and steroid. After obtaining 4 months of 70% pain relief, pulsed RFL was repeated and resulted in an additional 5 months of 70% pain relief. Conclusions. Pulsed RFL of the GON is an alternative to continuous RFL with the proposed advantage of mitigating pain, as in continuous RFL, but without the potential risk of causing deafferentation pain. While placebo and other nonspecific analgesic effects cannot be ruled out, the apparent safety profile and potential efficacy of pulsed RFL suggests it may be a compelling option to consider before irreversible neuroablative therapies are applied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-456
Number of pages4
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Greater occipital nerve block
  • Greater occipital neuralgia
  • Occipital headache
  • Pulsed radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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