Supraorbital Nerve Block

SON Block for Migraine and Headache

For patients who experience severe headache pain that is localized in the forehead, at or above the eyebrow, and for whom other therapies, including drugs, have not worked, a supraorbital nerve (SON) block may provide relief. The headache specialists at the Diamond Headache Clinic have years of experience in performing this procedure. To learn if a supraorbital nerve block might be recommended as part of your individualized headache treatment plan, talk to your physician.

Smiling woman and male after relief from supraorbital nerve block

What Is the Supraorbital Nerve (SON)?

The supraorbital nerve runs through the bones of the face at the eyebrow, providing sensation to the forehead and the top of the head. The nerve exits the skull just above the eyes.

What Is a Supraorbital Nerve Block for Migraine?

It is thought that blocking the supraorbital nerve lessens pain in the front of the head by shutting down the pain receptors in the nerve. The nerve block may also work by preventing the nerve from carrying pain information to the central nervous system. The injection site for the SON nerve block is generally in the forehead, at the eyebrow area.

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The Procedure

While all doctors who perform this procedure use a local anesthetic, some combine the anesthetic with a corticosteroid. The anesthetic numbs the skin and it also decreases the nerve impulses passing along pain nerves. Corticosteroids are strong anti-inflammatories that may help to prevent headache pain for a longer period of time.

The procedure is fairly simple and very safe when performed by an experienced physician. The SON block is done in the doctor’s office and takes only a few minutes. Rarely is sedation needed. The solution (anesthetic or anesthetic/steroid mixture) is injected via a small needle into the area around the supraorbital nerve. Side effects are rare, the most common being a temporary numbness and injection-site soreness. You can drive and resume your daily activities soon afterward.

Headache Relief

You may feel significantly less pain right after the procedure, but the duration of relief is difficult to predict. While some patients don’t seem to experience any benefit, others find that their headache pain is reduced or even lessened, and this improvement may last for up to six weeks. If your pain is not relieved in a week or two, we may recommend a second injection. We generally perform no more than three nerve blocks in a six-month period.

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