What is occipital neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia is a shooting, stabbing pain in the back of the head, which comes in episodes and is caused by something pressing upon a particular nerve (the occipital nerve).
The most common cause is that the nerve is irritated or trapped at the back of the head or the upper part of the neck. The pain complaints are characteristic of neuropathic pain.
Signs and symptoms
The pain is usually located on one side of the back of the head. It is a shooting pain, which comes in episodes. The patient's scalp on the same side may be very sensitive, or there may be tingling sensations at the back of the head.
How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?
The diagnosis of occipital neuralgia is based on the pattern of complaints. If you visit our clinic because of occipital neuralgia, you will always be given a neurological examination to exclude other possible causes of the pain. In addition, the doctor will test the mobility of your neck and shoulder, to see whether certain movements are restricted or painful. The doctor will also feel your neck to see whether pressing on any of the vertebrae causes pain.
Do I need additional examinations?
- Diagnostic examination for other non-physical factors important for your pain, have already been done by yourself trough filling out your pain questionnaires.
- An X-ray of your neck will always be made, to exclude other causes of your pain.
What are my treatment possibilities?
Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to embark on physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations can be carried out and, apart from physical treatment, other methods of treatment will be suggested.
If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:
- Psychological Treatment
- Depression Treatment
- Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment
- Rehabilitation Treatment
Interventional Pain Treatments
- Local infiltration of the occipital nerve
- PRF treatment of the occipital nerve
- PRF treatment of a nerve root