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Home Conditions Head & Neck Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is a form of a headache that causes pain along the upper neck and the back of the head because of inflamed or injured nerves. The nerves that are inflamed or injured are known as the occipital nerves and are the sensory nerves that run from the upper part of the neck to the back of the head. Occipital neuralgia is often confused with a migraine because it has similar sharp, stabbing, throbbing, or burning symptoms.

What Causes Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is thought to occur when the nerves become inflamed or irritated. The causes of the nerves becoming inflamed or irritated could be whiplash or another neck injury, injury to the back of the head, arthritis of the cervical spine, muscle spasms, infection, diabetes, and blood vessel inflammation.

Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia

The symptoms of occipital neuralgia vary from person to person. The most common symptom is pain along the back of the neck where it meets the skull, and along the back of the head. Other symptoms of occipital neuralgia include:

• Burning, aching, and throbbing pain at the base of the head to scalp
• Pain behind the eye
• Pain on one or both sides of the head
• Sensitivity to light or sound
• Pain when neck is moved
• Tender scalp

Occipital Neuralgia Treatment

Treatment for occipital neuralgia can vary for everyone. At home, remedies would be to apply heat to your neck and get plenty of rest. Clearway offers plenty of treatments for individuals in pain:

• Massage therapy
• Physical therapy
• Muscles relaxants
• Anti-inflammatory medications
• Nerve block injections
• Steroid shots

If these more conservative treatments do not help the pain, there are more invasive options if it becomes necessary:

• Rhizotomy (destroying the nerve root to eliminate pain)
• Implanting an occipital nerve stimulator
• Neurolysis (applying heat, freezing the nerve, or applying different chemicals to the nerve to block the transmission through the nerve)
• Decompression surgery

Related Posts

Finding Headache & Migraine Relief

Headaches are specific to each individual, therefore, there is no single approach that Clearway Pain Solutions takes to treating migraines and headaches.

How to Treat Chronic Headaches and Migraines

Our physical therapy team is certified in headache management and will work to relieve pain and prevent the headaches from continuing, and teach you how to manage migraines.

Warning Signs You Might Have Whiplash

While whiplash typically comes from car accidents, any incident that causes a sudden jerking of the head can result in the condition. This is why you should know how to immediately recognize the warning signs of whiplash.

Request an Appointment

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To request an appointment, please click the button below. You will be routed to our Patient Portal, where you can register with us by providing us with some basic information. We will get back as quickly as possible to set up and confirm your appointment day and time. Just below the form, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, as well.

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