What is Occipital Neuralgia ?
Occipital Neuralgia is a condition in which the occipital nerves (the nerves that starts from the top of spinal cord an/d run through the scalp) are somehow injured or inflamed. (as per, American Association of Neurological Surgons, 2011) It's quite a rare type of chronic headache disorder.
Patients feel throbbing or piercing type of intense pain with headache, in the back of their head, upper neck and sometimes behind the ears. It is often confused with regular migraine.
What are the Symptoms ?
The primary symptoms of Occipitala Neuralgia sudden, severe attack of sharp pain ( with intense piercing, stabbing sensation) on any side of the head.
Episodes of such pain usually lasts only few minutes or seconds but the discomfort due to nerve injury, persists. No redness or swelling, watering of eyes are seen, unlike regular migraine.
What causes it :
Another neural disorder, "pinched nerve" directly leads to Occipital Neuralgia.
Other major reasons are like :-
Pain episodes are usually recurring, and can be conjured by a slight touch or tap.
Diagnosing the occipital neuralgia is tricky as there's no single confirmatory test. Initially a physical and neurological examination is done, where usually the doctor presses firmly around the back of your head to check if that causes pain.
Some medication named "Occipital Nerve Block" is also used to temporarily numb the nerve, to see if that gives you relief. It indicates the presence of occipital neuralgia.
If all those tests are inconclusive, in atypical cases your doctor might prescribe a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan and a blood test to be sure.
But remember, proper diagnosis is the first step behind proper treatment. If you're having chronic headaches, you must visit our JPRC medical centres for an accurate diagnosis.
Now, how we treat this :
A variety of Occipital Neuralgia treatments are available and your doctor will prescribe the most suitable one for you. The primary measure is home treatment ( hot compression at neck, and NSAID medications like Ibuprofen).
Physical therapy is another great option. Regular massages help to relax your tightened muscles. Antieplileptic and tricyclic antidepressant drugs usually accompany this.
If these conservative methods do not work, your doctor might have to prescribe a local anaesthetic injection for instant long relief or in some cases, surgery to cut loose the tightened muscles, tendons which are crushing the nerve (as in rheumatoid and osteo arthritis).
Whatever may be the situation, you need not to worry. Our doctors at JPRC medical centres are all highly qualified and experienced as well. We provide you with the best in state pain management solutions in Rajasthan with complete care. Contact or visit us for more details.
Our speciality : Occipital Nerve Stimulation
Its a type of Interventional pain management (more proven medical treatment where physicians use minimally invasive medical procedures to interrupt the nervous system’s transmission of the pain signals from the nerve endings to the brain)In the case of chronic or severe pain, interventional pain management seeks to disrupt the pain cycle.
It's another highly effective non invasive method to treat this neuralgia.
Neurosurgeons implant a small electrode to the affected area. It applies electrical stimulation to the nervous system, modulates the internal circuitry and treat the disease. (This neuro-stimulator changes the course of nerve transmission and blocks the pain signals sent to the brain).
Also, another advanced and successful method of treatment is Radiofrequency ablation where high frequency radio waves are used to heal the pain by numbing your affected nerve.
As the largest private neurosurgery practice in Rajasthan, we're experienced in occipital neuralgia treatment using leading-edge procedures.
So final outlook :
Like many other nerve diseases, Occipital neuralgia is completely treatable. While it's not life threatening but it's extremely painful. So, please don't take your recurring headaches or neck pains casually. They might not be your ordinary migraine.
Remember, the earlier you visit us, the earlier we can relieve you at ease. So don't hesitate, get diagnosed and no worries, you'll be okay in a while.