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Occipital Neuralgia

Pain: it’s something we all deal with at some point. However, for some, it is chronic, inhibiting their ability to leave their lives to the fullest. For those with occipital neuralgia, pain can be debilitating. Luckily, you don’t have to just accept the pain. With the right help, you can manage it and get back to enjoying your life.

A Primer on Occipital Neuralgia

What Occipital Neuralgia Is

Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache. It is distinct in the way that its pain presents. Occipital neuralgia symptoms include: piecing, throbbing, and electric shocks that occur chronically in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears. In many cases, it only presents on one side, starting in the neck and spreading upward.

Pain Sometimes Presents in Other Areas as Well

Some people find their occipital neuralgia pain presents itself in the scalp, forehead, and even behind the eyes. The scalp may be overly sensitive to touch and the eyes hurt by light. The location of the pain is determined by where the occipital nerves run.

Pain Sometimes Presents in Other Areas as Well

Treatment is generally symptomatic and includes massage and rest. In some cases, antidepressants may be used when the pain is particularly severe. Other treatments may include local nerve blocks and injections of steroids directly into the affected area.

Causes of Occipital Neuralgia

This type of pain is caused by irritation or injury of the occipital nerves, which is why it is always chronic, not acute. This can happen due to a blow to the head, compression of the disks in the neck, or muscle disorders that pinch the nerves.

Conditions That Contribute to Occipital Headaches

General inflammation, infection, gout, diabetes, and vasculitis are all linked to occipital neuralgia. However, there is no definitive proof that they cause it. Aside from injuries or compressed discs, there are no clear causes of the condition.

Treatment for Occipital Neuralgia

There aren’t many treatments for occipital neuralgia relief. However, those that we do have tend to deliver excellent results. Occipital pain can be treated with simple massage and rest, physical therapy, and medications, including antidepressants. In severe cases, steroid injections or nerve blocks can deliver much-needed relief.

Prognosis After Occipital Neuralgia Diagnosis

Luckily, occipital neuralgia isn’t life-threatening. While it is painful, an occipital neuralgia specialist can help you get relief through heat, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and muscle relaxants. In many cases, the condition can be fully resolved, and when it cannot, it can be effectively managed.

For more information on occipital neuralgia and its treatments, contact us. We will set up an appointment with our occipital neuralgia doctor.