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Occipital Neuralgia

Head & Neck Pain Treatment

Patients with occipital neuralgia can go undiagnosed and suffer for many years because symptoms can mimic more common headaches such as migraines. However, this condition requires a very specific treatment plan, making an accurate diagnosis essential for pain relief. Once diagnosed, occipital neuralgia typically responds well to treatment. A board-certified pain physician can offer you the most advanced non-surgical options available, enabling you to return to an active lifestyle.

Schedule an appointment with a pain specialist today by contacting National Spine & Pain Centers.

How & Why Does Occipital Neuralgia Develop

Much of the feeling in the back and top of the head is transmitted to the brain by the two occipital nerves, which emerge from the spine in the upper neck and travel to the top of the head.

Irritation of an occipital nerve anywhere along its course can cause a shooting or stabbing pain in the neck, radiating over the head. Between bouts of shooting pain, there also can be a constant ache. Other symptoms can include dizziness and nausea.

Symptoms can be mild or severe in and could include the following:

  • Shooting or stabbing pain in the neck – radiating over the head
  • Constant headaches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Occipital neuralgia is the neck/head pain that results from injury or irritation to the occipital nerves. It can be caused by trauma, such as a car accident, by a pinched nerve root in the neck (from arthritis, for example) or by “tight” muscles at the back of the head that entrap the nerves.

Diagnosis

Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced physician. The type of pain that you may have with occipital neuralgia can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately determining the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment.

  • Begins with a thorough clinical evaluation
  • Including a complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination
  • Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and peripheral nerve conduction study
  • These advanced diagnostic techniques help pinpoint the source of pain

If you are suffering from pain in the head or neck, contact National Spine & Pain Centers for a comprehensive physical exam. There are experienced pain specialists near you who can help!

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