Advertisement

What causes occipital neuralgia?

You have a pair of occipital nerves running from the back of your neck to your scalp. When one of these nerves gets damaged or becomes aggravated, it can cause occipital neuralgia. The cause of the condition can be hard to determine, but the following factors may play a role:

  • pinched nerves;
  • neck injury or injury to the back of the head;
  • tight muscles;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • gout;
  • surgery;
  • infection;
  • diabetes;
  • tumors;
  • swelling of blood vessels.
Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
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.

Continue Learning about Occipital Neuralgia

Is there a cure for occipital neuralgia?
Riverside Center for NeurosciencesRiverside Center for Neurosciences
Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. Many individuals improve with therapy invol...
More Answers
What is occipital neuralgia?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Occipital neuralgia is a condition that causes severe pain in the back of your head and scalp. It of...
More Answers
What increases my risk for occipital neuralgia?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Your risk for occipital neuralgia can increase if you have a head or neck injury. Sleeping with your...
More Answers
Can occipital neuralgia be prevented?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Some cases of occipital neuralgia can be prevented while other cannot. Most factors that cause the c...
More Answers

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.