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Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia – An Overview

Occipital neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that causes the nerves around the back of the head and the base of the skull to become inflamed and painful. People often confuse occipital neuralgia with chronic migraine and different types of headache pain, which can cause this condition to go misdiagnosed for a long period of time. Fortunately, the pain management specialists at Dunes Pain Clinic have years of experience diagnosing pain conditions like occipital neuralgia, so they know the tell-tale signs of the disease. Patients experiencing severe pain primarily in or around the back of the head and neck may suffer from the condition, but a thorough examination will be necessary to determine whether or not this condition is causing the patient’s pain.

What causes Occipital Neuralgia?

Usually, occipital neuralgia occurs when the occipital nerves are irritated or inflamed due to an injury, stiff muscles putting pressure on the nerves, or due to some other underlying condition.This pain can be mistaken for migraine and many times doctors are not able to figure out the root cause behind it.


The nerve inflammation can also be triggered by osteoarthritis, tumors in the neck, cervical spondylitis, herniated disc, accident, trigger points around the neck, and chronic neck stiffness.

The Symptoms

Symptoms of occipital neuralgia hold some similarity with migraine. It often happens that occipital neuralgia is misdiagnosed because of its “not so obvious” nature; this leads to wrong treatment being administered to the patient. The symptoms of occipital neuralgia include:

  • Severe throbbing pain in the occipital region.

  • Pain behind the eyes.

  • Being sensitive to light.

  • Pain on one side of the head.

  • Having nerve tenderness.

  • Having pain in moving the neck.


Diagnosis of the condition

To diagnose whether a person suffers from occipital neuralgia, the physician will perform both physical examinations and imaging scan tests.


The physician might enquire about your medical history. A discussion about the symptoms that you experience might be performed to find any underlying condition. In the case of occipital neuralgia, only physical examinations might not be able to find the correct cause, therefore, MRIs and CT-Scans are conducted for an accurate diagnosis.


At Dunes Pain Clinic, your treatment will begin only after our expert physician pin-points the root cause of the pain.

Treatment at Dunes Pain

Our Physicians at Dunes Pain Clinic use a wide variety of procedures and therapies to treat neuralgia pain. They range from non-invasive to minimally invasive surgical procedures. All these treatment methods work in tandem with conservative (physical therapy and massages) and alternative (acupuncture and acupressure) therapies.


For providing immediate pain relief, the doctor might prescribe OTC (over-the-counter) drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. Medications like antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and antiepileptic drugs can be used to give relief from the pain and reduce inflammation. If at all these non-invasive measures do not work, minimally invasive surgical treatments are performed. This includes nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation, etc.


Call us to book an appointment with our specialists!

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