SPINE CONDITIONS: SPINAL STENOSIS
Occipital Neuralgia is a condition when an injury or inflammation affects the occipital nerves. These are nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord through the scalp. This condition usually results in having pain in the back of your head, or base of your skull. Due to similar symptoms, this typically can be confused with a migraine. However, it is extremely important to visit a doctor when developing these symptoms so you can get the correct diagnosis.*
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Occipital Neuralgia is caused by irritation or pressure on your Occipital Nerves. This can be due to muscles that are tight and strain the nerves, an injury at some point, or inflammation. It is extremely difficult to find the main cause of this diagnosis, but when further explored by a specialist, the cause can be better determined. *
Occipital Neuralgia can often cause a sharp pain that feels like a jabbing or shocking. It can often be confused as a migraine or headache because of similar symptoms.
Common symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia include*:
It’s often difficult to distinguish occipital neuralgia from other types of headaches, making it a difficult diagnosis to give. To help determine if you have this condition, a thorough evaluation is required. This can include medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing. This way, your doctor can document your symptoms and determine the extent of them.*
For short term relief from occipital neuralgia, there are a few, quick treatments you can perform. One way is to to apply heat to the back of your neck, in order to loosen up the muscles. Other quick actions that can be taken to temporarily lessen the pain is to*:
If you do not notice a difference in pain after trying these options, you may want to consult with a doctor. Your doctor will be able to diagnose you and if required, prescribe muscle relaxers, or a series of short term nerve blocker injections that will cause the pain to significantly be reduced and often eliminated. Patients may need to revisit their specialist in order to receive an additional series of shots.*
In some cases, a patient may be recommended for surgery. Surgical intervention will only be considered when the pain is chronic, severe and does not respond to conservative treatment.*