Irritation or injury to the occipital nerves can cause inflammation or pressure.
Occipital neuralgia neck pain and headaches can stem from a variety of causes:
- trauma to the back of the head
- pinched nerves from overly tight neck muscles
- nerve compression from osteoarthritis, tumors or other types of lesions in the neck
- inflammation or infection in the occipital nerve region
- gout, diabetes, or blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
- frequent lengthy periods of keeping the head in a downward and forward position
In many cases, however, no cause can be found.
Occipital Neuralgia Symptoms
Typically, the pain of occipital neuralgia begins in the neck and then spreads upwards. The location of the symptoms is related to the areas supplied by the greater and lesser occipital nerves, which run from the area where the spinal column meets the neck, up to the scalp at the back of the head. Other symptoms include:
- what feels like electric shock pain in the head and neck
- pain in the scalp, forehead, and behind the eyes
- scalp may also be tender to the touch
- eyes may be especially sensitive to light
Our prestigious JPRC medical centers are experienced in diagnosing and treating brain and spine conditions such as occipital neuralgia.
Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia
Treatment generally includes massage and rest. Other treatments may include local nerve blocks and injections of steroids directly into the affected area.
In some patients that do not improve with conservative treatments, surgery may be considered. Our expert pain physician and neurosurgeons who treat occipital neuralgia have an innovative procedure available to help treat this painful condition:
Occipital Nerve Stimulation – neurosurgeons implant a small electrode to apply electrical stimulation to the nervous system to modulate the circuitry and treat the disease. This neuro-stimulator interrupts the pain messages sent to the brain.
As the largest private neurosurgery practice experienced in treating occipital neuralgia using leading-edge procedures.