Occipital Neuralgia

WHAT IS OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA?

Occipital neuralgia affects your occipital nerves, which are located at the top of your spinal cord and end at the base of your neck, adjoining through the scalp. Occipital neuralgia occurs when these nerves are inflamed or damaged.

 

This neurological disorder can very easily be mistaken for a migraine or other forms of headaches, primarily because of similar symptoms. Interestingly, the occipital nerves have no motor function whatsoever. So the symptoms do not involve any motor deficits, only sensory.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA?

Occipital neuralgia can cause excruciating pain, and individuals feel as if they are being repeatedly jabbed or being tazed at the back of their necks. Mentioned below are some of the other key characteristics and symptoms of occipital neuralgia:

  • Excruciating pain developing at the back of the neck, jabbing or jolting pain that starts from the head and spreads to the scalp
  • Feeling dazed and experiencing pain on both halves of the head or on one side of the head
  • Pain behind one or both eyes
  • Extreme sensitivity to the light
  • Soft scalp
  • Sharp pain when you move your neck
WHAT CAUSES OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA?

Irritation, damage and compression in your occipital nerves can give birth to this condition. In light of this mentioned below are some key causes of this disorder you should understand:

  • Head trauma, specifically to the back of the head
  • Stressed neck muscles, tension build-up in the neck
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Neck tumors
  • Cervical complications and disease
  • Neck infection
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of your blood vessels
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA?

Treatment primarily depends on what exactly is causing the problem in your occipital nerves. Mentioned below are effective treatments for occipital neuralgia:

  • Compression Massages (to treat pinched nerves)
  • Inflammatory medications like antiepileptic medications, pregabalin and carbamazepine (to reduce pain)
  • Occipital Block Injection, which involves injecting steroids or medications like Depo-Medrol under the skin around the occipital nerves.