New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Occipital Neuralgia

Why Choose New York Spine Institute


Our doctors will provide specialized care in order to treat your neck and back problems. This may include pain control, physical therapy or surgery if it is deemed necessary.


At NYSI, our doctors are industry leaders with decades of experience treating complex spine disorders. Our institution is lead by our medical director, Alexandre B. de Moura, M.D. FAAOS.


We understand that people from all different backgrounds will need treatment for their spinal issues. Our staff speaks a multitude of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Russian.

Understanding The Causes Of  Your Occipital Neuralgia

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. *

Diagnosing Your Occipital Neuralgia

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*:

  • A lasting pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Becoming sensitive to light
  • Pain in the back of the eyes
  • Pain when you move your head/neck
  • A throb, ache, or burn that usually develops in the base of your head, and travel up into the scalp.

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.*

Treatment Options For Occipital Neuralgia

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*:

  • Try to massage the tight muscles that are causing the pain
  • Take over the counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen.

If you do not notice a difference in pain after trying these options, you may want to consult with a doctor for occipital neuralgia symptoms. 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 occipital neuralgia surgery. Surgical intervention will only be considered when the pain is chronic, severe and does not respond to conservative treatment.*

Need a Consultation For Your Occipital Neuralgia?

We have offices located throughout Greater New York City, Long Island, White Plains and Newburgh, NY. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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