What Is Occipital Neuralgia?

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Do I Have Occipital Neuralgia?

The issue with diagnosing uncommon neurological disorders is that many of these conditions mirror the pain or symptoms of more common headaches. If you have pain in the back of the head or the base of the neck that has been misdiagnosed as a headache or migraine – and isn’t responding to treatment – you may have occipital neuralgia.

occipital neuralgia pain surgery

What Are The Symptoms?

Occipital Neuralgia is a condition that causes severe pain in the head or neck that follows these patterns:

A Sharp Jab or Jolt in the Back of the Head and Neck

Intermittent Pain Behind the Eye

Sensitivity to Light

Burning or Throbbing at Base of Head and Scalp

Pain When Moving Neck

What Are The Causes of Occipital Neuralgia?

This condition is caused by the compression of the occipital nerves. The compression may be caused by injury, inflammation of surrounding tissues, or tight muscles that impede the nerves. Alternatively, the pain may be the result of compression of the nerves as they exit the spinal canal.

Although a cause isn’t apparent all the time, there are links between the following conditions and Occipital Neuralgia:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Neck or Head Injuries
  • Cervical Disc Disease
  • Tumors in the Neck

How Is It Diagnosed?

Dr. de Lotbinière will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. There are physical sensation tests that point to the condition and can be supported by a lack of relief from headache or migraine medicines. Imaging tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Alain de Lotbiniere NY Surgeon

What Are The Treatment Options?

There are many treatments available to patients with Occipital Neuralgia. Dr. de Lotbinière will review prior and ineffective treatments to find the right fit for you.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Anti-Seizure Medications
  • Nerve Blocks and Steroid Injections

If a medication does not control your pain, there are minimally-invasive procedures available. Dr. Alain de Lotbinière is an expert neurosurgeon with years of experience in advanced techniques that can help relieve your pain.

How Can I Find The Best Way Forward?

Learn if you are suffering from Occipital Neuralgia and what treatments might help you live a life free from pain. Contact Dr. de Lotbinière’s offices and schedule an appointment at either his White Plains, New York, or Stamford, Connecticut location today!