Occipital Neuralgia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Occipital neuralgia is a rare headache disorder. It does occur when pain stems from the occipital region and spreads through the occipital nerves. The occipital nerves run from the very best of your spinal cord into your scalp.

Unlike headaches or even migraines, occipital neuralgia can be triggered quickly, despite a simple touch such as brushing your hair loss. The severe portion of these attacks is brief, together with intense, sharp pain lasting just a few seconds into a few minutes. Migraine pain, that is too severe, lasts much longer than pain from occipital neuralgia.

It's estimated that occipital neuralgia affects roughly three from every 100,000 people every year.

What are the symptoms of occipital neuralgia?

The primary symptom of occipital neuralgia is sudden, severe pain that many people associate having migraines. This pain is described as intense, piercing, stabbing, as well as sharp. The episodes of intense pain may just last for a few minutes or seconds, however, tenderness around the nerves may persist afterward. Much like migraines, the pain may happen more using a single side of your head compared to other.

Occipital neuralgia episodes are unlikely to possess symptoms such as eye-watering or eye discomfort that will be common along with other primary headache disorders.

To get relief from Headache you can massage pressure points on head. It’s one of the best ways to get relief from a headache and migraine.

What causes occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is most commonly caused by pinched nerves at the root cause of a person's neck. Sometimes that is caused by muscles which are too tight at a person's neck. In a few cases, it can be caused by a head or neck injury. Chronic neck tension is another common cause.

Different conditions that can contribute or contribute to causes of occipital neuralgia include:

·         Osteoarthritis, especially among the upper cervical spine, which can pinch nerves
· tumors affecting neural roots
·         blood vessel inflammation
·         gout
·         infection
Individual attacks or episodes of occipital neuralgia can occur seemingly spontaneously, or be triggered with means of a light touch.

How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?

Whenever you make a scheduled appointment with your doctor, they'll first ask about your health history. They'll ask just how long you've experienced symptoms and may ask questions to search for underlying conditions. During the physical exam, should they suspect occipital neuralgia instead of headaches or migraines, they'll press the occipital regions to find out whether you experience pain as a result.

To rule out other conditions and also to search for the underlying cause of occipital neuralgia, your doctor may order additional imaging tests like an MRI or a CT scan. This will aid them to look in your spine, also search for different causes of the painkillers. In the majority of cases, neurologic tests should come back without abnormalities from the neuralgia alone.

How is occipital neuralgia treated?

An assortment of different treatment choices is available for occipital neuralgia. Your doctor may first recommend looking for a home treatment that includes using warm compresses to the affected area and taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil).

Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy, prescription muscle relaxers massage, and this can help treat pinched nerves caused by tight muscles. Antiepileptic and tricyclic antidepressants can be used to reduce symptoms as well.

In case the more conservative methods do not work, your doctor can inject some local anesthetic into your occipital area. This can provide immediate relief, plus it can last up to 1-2 weeks.

Depending upon the cause, your doctor may recommend surgery to decrease pressure on the nerves. For instance, nerve compression because of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine may be eased through a medical procedure.

What is the outlook for occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia can be painful. But a vast range of treatment plans are available to increase the likelihood you'll be equipped to manage it successfully, especially if the underlying cause is treated. While this condition isn't life-threatening, it's painful. Therefore get an appointment to determine your doctor if you should be experiencing symptoms.