Occipital Headaches

By Annette GallagherMarch 19, 2014No Comments

What is an Occipital Headache?

Occipital neuralgia is a less understood but relatively common kind of headache. It is a severe, debilitating type of pain that begins in the neck and spreads up through the back of the head. The cause of the pain is irritation or injury to the occipital nerves which travel up from where the spine connects with the neck and head. Any pressure on the occipital nerves can trigger a headache

Who is Affected by Occipital Neuralgia?

This kind of headache afflicts women more than men, and is likely to be confused as a migraine. In fact, many of the symptoms you might experience for occipital headaches are similar to a migraine. The pain begins abruptly and mostly affects one side of the head as well as the area behind the eyes. Sufferers are likely to experience a pain-spasm-pain cycle that can last for days together. The skull becomes tender; so much so that any slight touch of the pillow or combing hair can also be painful.

Occipital Headache: What Is Causing It?

Any trauma or tension to the occipital nerves is the cause behind occipital headaches. In some cases, occipital neuralgia is connected to an underlying illness. Diabetes, gout, nerve lesion, local tumors, spinal column compression and blood vessel can be a trigger for occipital headaches. Once the illness is dealt with effectively, the patient will no longer feel any occipital pain. However, if the cause is primary, i.e. there is no underlying disease, doctors will use a variety of diagnostic techniques and treatments to put the pain to rest.

What Are My Treatment Options?

Like all other headaches, diagnosis for occipital headaches is challenging. The reason is because it is hard to differentiate it from other types of headaches. Thorough history-taking and complete physical and neurological examination is essential to arrive at the correct diagnosis. If the cause is not related to any illness, doctors will most likely suggest treatments muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medication to improve the symptoms. Dealing with occipital neuralgia can be very difficult for the patient and long-term care might be needed to keep the condition under check.

Get Relief at National Headache Institute Today!

National Headache Institute with its expert team of doctors, excellent diagnostic techniques, compassionate patient counselling and treatment options, is one of the leading medical facilities in this field. You can be assured of the best treatment and care to bring you relief. Call us at (908) 315-5707 or contact us online today.