Occipital neuralgia is an uncommon cause of headache in the occipital region (back of the head). There is jabbing pain in the greater, lesser, and/or third occipital nerves. In most cases, the condition develops spontaneously.
The pain of occipital neuralgia is sudden. It is stabbing, electric, shock-like, sharp, or shooting. Attacks may begin spontaneously or may be provoked by specific maneuvers. A dull occipital discomfort can be present during periods between the stabbing pain. Examination may reveal local tenderness in the territory of the affected nerve.
For patients with occipital neuralgia who have moderate to severe pain or debilitating symptoms, local occipital nerve blocks are recommended. Pain relief may last several weeks or even months. Patients whose pain is not sufficiently managed with occipital nerve blocks may benefit from pharmacotherapy or alternative treatments (eg, botulinum toxin injections). Please call to speak to a provider at MCHN to evaluate and treat.
–Alice Wong, NP