Info On Occipital Neuralgia? Migraines From This..

Occipital neuralgia can be harder to diagnose than our last page on hemicrania continua.

It takes a good headache specialist to come to the conclusion that one could be suffering from either of these two types of headaches. A small percent of migraine sufferers are being treated for headaches, and the right diagnose has never been found. How would a headache sufferer know if this is causing their chronic migraine headaches? And the answer to that question would be you wouldn't. A doctor may give you a thorough evaluation which will include a medical history, and physical examination. He may want to look at a MRI. My wife had one. They said her migraines was coming from bad facet joints.


What is occipital neuralgia, and it's symptoms?

It's a type of headache, and its symptoms are piercing, throbbing, or electric shock like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears. It's usually located on one side of the head. A sufferer could have pain behind the eyes, and the scalp may be tender to the touch, on the side of the head that hurts.

Reasons for having problems from the occipital nerves.

#(1)The pain could be from injury to the nerves, which could be the result of a blow or fall to the back of the head.

#(2)Pinching of the nerves by tight neck muscles, or compression of the nerve, as it leaves the spine, due to osteoarthritis.(My wife's diagnose)

#(3)Working on a computer with frequent long periods of keeping the head in a downward, and forward position is associated with occipital neuralgia. Many hours are spent on computers.

But they may find nothing, and if there's relief of the migraines with a nerve block, that will let the doctors know that you have pain from the occipital nerve .

There's a pair of nerves on each side of the head, and pain can be had on either side also. Occipital neuralgia is not a life threatening condition, but it feels like it.

Recovery is usually complete after the bout of pain has ended and the nerve damage repaired or lessened.


Nonsurgical treatment to eliminate the pain.

Symptoms may improve or disappear with heat, rest, physical therapy including massage, anti inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and pain medicine. Also nerve blocks can help with the pain.

But as in all things, there are the stubborn cases that don't respond to methods that usually elevate the pain.

For a few people that have occipital neuralgia, surgery may be their other option.

Here's what can be done if all else fails. Now remember to find a headache clinic that offers these options, we have, and the results will be posted after a procedure has been done called a decompression on the occipital nerve.

Before a headache clinic is chosen, make sure to ask what they offer, such as the invasive procedures they offer. You may have been diagnosed with occipital neuralgia, and they may not offer any type of surgery.

If the diagnose has been made, it would be nice to be going somewhere that offered surgery to correct the problem. You can take comfort in knowing if this cause of the headaches is diagnosed, then most likely a good headache doctor is involved, and most likely he/she will take care of everything. They'll have their own contacts when it comes to someone able to fix the problem. The staff will make the appointment to see the one that will be doing the surgery.


Surgery should be considered when the pain is chronic, severe, and does not respond to the other treatments. Always ask about the pros, and cons before the surgery is done.

The two types of surgeries are offered.

#(1)The microvascular decompression involves microsurgical exposure of the affected nerves, identification of blood vessels that might be compressing the nerves, and gentle displacement of these away from the point of compression. "Decompression" will allow the nerves to recover, and return to a more normal, painless condition.

#(2)Surgery # 2 offered for occipital neuralgia is the nerve stimulation.

The neurostimulator delivers electrical impulses through insulated lead wires tunneled under the skin near the occipital nerves at the base of the head. The electrical impulses can help block pain messages to the brain. This is a minimally invasive procedure, and the nerves, and other surrounding structures are not permanently damaged.

If you have the symptoms above along with headaches/migraines, let the doctor in on it if he/she is just telling you that they are just migraines. Get diagnosed right


We hope this has helped. As we stated most people that are suffering with occipital neuralgia may never know what they have because in a short period of time with easy treatments may have relief when those nerves heal. In stubborn cases surgery may be the only option. We do hope that with rest, pain medicine, and the other treatments your pain goes away.

Thanks so much for reading

Our last page is about another type of headache that is rarely heard about called hemicrania continua. Our next page goes into detail on an occipital migraine. Home page from occipital neuralgia. More info about this headache.

New! Comments

Click the like button, or leave me a comment in the box below on Help for Migraines for headache sufferers..All the best...

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