Occipital Neuralgia

What is occipital neuralgia?

Occipital Neuralgia is a condition that arises due to irritation of the occipital nerves in the neck and head.  It is often caused by compression of the nerves due to trauma, inflammation, muscle tension or other causes.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms often resemble a migraine or headache and may include sharp, stabbing pain which can start at the base of the head and radiate up the scalp.  Pain may also appear on either side of the head and behind the eye.  Moving the neck may be painful as well.  Sensitivity to light can be another symptom.

How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?

Diagnosis of occipital neuralgia often includes an anesthetic nerve block of the occipital nerves.  This helps to identify the source of the symptoms.

What are the treatment options?

Conservative treatment for Occipital Neuralgia may include pain medication, electrical stimulation or injections to control pain.  Massage therapy or other relaxation techniques may be useful to reduce tension in the neck.  If conservative measures are ineffective, surgery may be used to decompress or deaden the nerve.

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