Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital Neuralgia

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    Occipital neuralgia is diagnosed using an occipital nerve block. A doctor will use a needle to inject a local anesthetic and steroids into the base of your occipital nerve. If the pain goes away, a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia will be made and a more permanent solution can be discussed.

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    Occasionally, if you suffer from occipital neuralgia, you may also experience tenderness in your scalp. Some people also find that their eyes become more sensitive to light.

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    Treatment of occipital neuralgia is generally symptomatic and includes massage and rest. In some cases, antidepressants may be used when the pain is particularly severe. Other treatments may include local nerve blocks and injections of steroids directly into the affected area.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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    Occipital neuralgia is a painful condition that affects the occipital nerves. The condition occurs when one of the nerves becomes damaged or aggravated, which can be caused by a number of factors including injury, muscle tightness, or another condition. When any of these factors damages or exerts pressure on the nerves, it causes pain.

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    Managing your occipital neuralgia on a daily basis can be difficult. The pain is often severe, and episodes generally occur spontaneously. To get relief, you will need to work closely with your doctor to find the right treatment. Medications can help many manage the pain, and in some cases, a procedure may be able to fix your occipital neuralgia all together.

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    While headaches and pain are both common, the actual condition of occipital neuralgia is not. People may believe their pain is due to the condition, but there are a number of other conditions that could cause similar symptoms. If you believe you have symptoms of occipital neuralgia, you may want to consult your doctor. They will be able to help determine what is causing your pain.

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    Some cases of occipital neuralgia can be prevented while other cannot. Most factors that cause the condition are unpredictable, such as injury, a tumor, or pressure from a nearby artery. However, for cases of occipital neuralgia caused by tight muscles, it is logical to assume that keeping your stress levels low and your muscles loose could help prevent the condition.

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    If a doctor is able to accurately diagnose your occipital neuralgia using an occipital nerve block, they may also be able to permanently fix the problem. Most of the time, occipital neuralgia is treated with medication, physical therapy, and other methods, but there are several procedures that have been developed to deaden your occipital nerve. This will eliminate the nerves' ability to cause pain. Procedures include cutting the nerve, burning it with radio-waves, or even killing it by injecting a toxin into it. Unfortunately, any of these procedures may lead to some permanent numbness

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    The main symptom of occipital neuralgia is severe pain in the back of your head and scalp. It is often described as an excruciating headache. More specifically, pain symptomatic of occipital neuralgia can occur in your neck, behind your ears, behind your eyes, and sometimes, in your forehead. The pain is often described as  being like an electric shock; it may also be sharp or throbbing. Usually, only one side of the head or scalp is affected. People with occipital neuralgia may also find that their eyes are more sensitive to light and their scalps are tender.

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    A Diagnostic Radiology, answered on behalf of
    Occipital neuralgia is believed to be due to irritation of one of the occipital nerves in the upper neck/back of the head. In most cases, no specific cause can be found. Many cases are believed to be related to chronic muscle spasm in the neck. Occipital neuralgia may be seen after neck injuries such as experienced in rear end car collisions. Rarely, a tumor could compress the nerve.
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