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What are the treatment options for occipital neuralgia?

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.

Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
There are 3 main approaches to treatment of occipital neuralgia. Local physical therapies such as massage and stretching may be effective. An occipital nerve block is a simple procedure where a local anesthetic or cortisone is injected near the nerve to lessen the irritation. In cases which do not respond to these modalities, a variety of medications may be used to reduce or prevent pain.

Your doctor may recommend trying some common treatments first for the pain of occipital neuralgia. If your occipital neuralgia is being caused by tight muscles, you may be able to fix the problem with a good massage, an anti-inflammatory, or a muscle relaxant. Tricyclic antidepressants are even used to relieve pain in some cases. Other treatments for occipital neuralgia may include an occipital nerve block. This procedure, in which a doctor injects a medication, anesthetic, or steroid into your occipital nerve, will not only provide you with some relief from the pain, but it will also help your doctor make a proper diagnosis. If those treatments do not work, your doctor or specialist may recommend a more permanent procedure to deaden the nerve. These procedures will cure the pain, but they are not without risk and can also lead to some permanent numbness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.