Some headaches occur from stimulation of the greater and/or lesser occipital nerves, either directly or secondary to pathology in the upper cervical spine. If occipital nerve mediated pain is diagnosed by precision injection techniques, then the electrical stimulation of these nerves may represent a long-term nonpharmacologic approach to pain treatment.
Unlike spinal cord stimulation, the leads are placed under the skin in the upper neck. Like spinal cord stimulation, electrical energy is used to block transmission of pain signals to the brain. Another area where peripheral stimulation may prove helpful is in post-herniorraphy pain mediated by inflammation of the ilioinguinal and/or genitofemoral nerves. The lead is placed subcutaneously in the lower abdomen just above the hernia scar. As in all implant procedures, a multi-day trial is used before consideration implantation surgery.