Question: What Does Occipital Neuralgia Feel Like?

Occipital Neuralgia

The two greater occipital nerves transmit the majority of sensation from the back and top of the head to the brain, and irritation of one of these nerves can cause a shooting, zapping, electric, or tingling pain similar to trigeminal neuralgia.

How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?

There is no single test for occipital neuralgia, but your doctor may diagnose it and treat it with a nerve block. For patients who respond well to this temporary “deadening” of the nerve, a more permanent procedure may be an option.

How common is occipital neuralgia?

When occipital neuralgia occurs, it can be difficult to tell whether a person is suffering from migraines or another type of headache.

Nonsurgical Options for Occipital Neuralgia

Some patients respond well to non-invasive therapy and may not require surgery; other treatment options include burning the nerve with a radio-wave probe, which can permanently deaden the nerve and cause scalp numbness.

What triggers occipital neuralgia?

Pinched nerves in the root of a person’s neck are the most common cause of occipital neuralgia, which can also be caused by overly tight neck muscles or a head or neck injury in some cases. Chronic neck tension is another common cause.

Is occipital neuralgia serious?

Complications of untreated occipital neuralgia can be serious or even fatal if left untreated.

Does occipital neuralgia go away?

Occipital neuralgia can last a long time, but it can also go away on its own. Occipital neuralgia is a long-term condition that requires treatment to alleviate the pain.

Where does occipital neuralgia hurt?

Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that is characterized by piercing, throbbing, or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head.

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How do you get rid of occipital neuralgia?

Treatments that do not require surgery

  1. Physical therapy or massage therapy.
  2. Oral Medication:
  3. Percutaneous nerve blocks: these injections can both diagnose and treat occipital neuralgia.

How do you relax the occipital muscles?

Apply gentle pressure to the base of your skull with your fingertips to help calm tight muscles and release tension. You can also place a rolled towel under your head and neck as you lie down on your back to get a gentle massage from the towel’s pressure.

How do you sleep with occipital neuralgia?

Sleep on your back with a pillow that supports your neck and keeps your head aligned with your body (neutral position). Avoid sleeping with your neck bent because this puts more pressure on your nerves. If you sleep on your side, make sure your head isn’t higher than your shoulders.

What is the best medicine for occipital neuralgia?

Occipital Neuralgia Treatment Drugs

Drug name Rating Rx/OTC
View information about gabapentin gabapentin Off-label 7.7 Rx

Can a virus cause occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia causes pain in the occipital region, which can sometimes extend to the forehead. Tense muscles or ligaments are thought to press against the nerve, causing irritation, inflammation, and pain; other causes include viral infection, neck trauma, or poor posture.

Is occipital neuralgia caused by stress?

Damage to the occipital nerves causes occipital neuralgia, which can occur as a result of trauma (usually concussive or cervical), physical stress on the nerve, repetitive neck contraction, flexion, or extension, and/or medical complications (such as osteochondroma, a benign bone tumor).

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What doctor do you see for occipital neuralgia?

To help calm the occipital nerve, your pain management specialist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants, as well as physical therapy. In some cases, anti-seizure medications or antidepressants may be prescribed.

Does exercise help occipital neuralgia?

Poor posture can cause occipital neuralgia, so the chin tuck exercise aims to stretch the muscles and connective tissue in the painful area while also strengthening the muscles that align your head over your shoulders. Stand with your upper back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart.

Does occipital neuralgia show up on MRI?

MRI is best suited to this task sup>1/sup>sup>,/sup>sup>4/sup>. Radiographic imaging is of limited utility in the diagnosis of occipital neuralgia but is primarily concerned with excluding structural pathology of the cord, spine, occipital nerves, or adjacent structures.

Does occipital neuralgia affect vision?

The pain is usually one-sided, but it can be on both sides if both occipital nerves are affected, and it may radiate forward toward the eye as it follows the path of the occipital nerve(s), causing blurred vision.

Can bad posture cause occipital neuralgia?

If the patient’s head is frequently held forward and down, this position can put excessive pressure on the nerve over time, resulting in occipital neuralgia.

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