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Occipital Neuralgia

Treating Headaches by Addressing Occipital Neuralgia

Headaches are common; however, if your headaches cause piercing pain in the back of your neck or head, then you may be suffering from occipital neuralgia. At Source Healthcare in Santa Monica, California, the experienced pain management team specializes in the treatment of occipital neuralgia and can design a plan to alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life. For a consultation, call the office or book an appointment online today.

What is Occipital Neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache with pain that may travel from the back of your neck or head. It occurs due to an inflammation or irritation to your occipital nerve, which runs from your spinal cord to your scalp.

Occipital neuralgia is often misdiagnosed as a migraine or tension headache, but the treatments are different.

More On Occipital Neuralgia

This condition is a distinct type of headache caused by irritation or injury of the occipital nerves. These nerves travel from the base of the skull through the scalp. This condition can result in severe pain and muscle spasms.

What Are the Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia?

If you suffer from occipital neuralgia, you may experience an intense, sharp, jabbing pain in the back of your head or neck. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Electric-shock like sensations
  • Aching or burning pain
  • Pain that travels on both sides of your head
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Pain with neck movement

Occipital neuralgia can develop from a range of causes, including injury, tight neck muscles, or diabetes.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and your pain medication is not providing the relief you need, the team at Source Healthcare can determine if you are suffering from occipital neuralgia and devise a plan to relieve your discomfort.


How is Occipital Neuralgia Diagnosed?

The team at Source Healthcare conducts a comprehensive examination to determine if the head pain you are experiencing is due to occipital neuralgia. During your evaluation, the team reviews your symptoms and medical history and closely evaluates your neck and head. The physician may press on the occipital nerve to see if it produces pain.

The team may request a blood test or MRI to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.

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What Are the Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia?

The team at Source Healthcare develops a personalized treatment plan for the management of your occipital neuralgia. Your treatment may include:

  • Anti-seizure medication to manage nerve pain
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxants

The team may also suggest a nerve block or steroid injection to help reduce pain.

While surgery is rarely needed for occipital neuralgia, if you fail to get relief from your pain with conservative measures, the team may suggest a procedure to reduce the pressure on the occipital nerve or a nerve stimulator to alter the pain signals.

To schedule a consultation with the team at Source Healthcare to determine if your pain is due to occipital neuralgia, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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