08 Feb Treatment & Cure for Occipital Neuralgia
A headache can be the ruler of your universe if it is severe enough. It can hammer at your entire body, sometimes feeling as if the core of the nervous system is being tested and finally given way to blocking clear thought passages, thereby upsetting a normal existence.
We are fully aware that there are numerous kinds of headaches, and although they are not all the same, they do have one thing in common, and that is if bad enough, it can set you back hours giving in to it through nausea and vomiting.
We usually are aware of differences in headaches that we experience, and usually they are quite familiar. However, if you have one that is different than what you normally experience, it could very well be occipital neuralgia.
When you have frequent headaches in the forehead, nasal area or even at the temples, you usually know the cause of them and in many cases it can be directed to the sinus. If you are used to these headaches, then you suffer through them and eventually they subside until the next bout.
However, if you have a number of symptoms specific to Occipital Neuralgia, then your symptoms will be different, like a sudden, sharp, short-lived pain, and definable as a pain that begins in the occipital area of your head, which is located in the back of the head, and emits that pain along the passage of the occipital nerves. In fact, that’s exactly the definition of neuralgia. It is a pain among a group of sensory nerves and in this case, specifically, the occipital nerves.
Some of the symptoms may include the following:
- The pain you feel may come in episodes. In other words, the pain may come in the form of electrical currents, very severe and sometimes very, very fleeting.
- This pain may be prompted by normal everyday activities such as the simple act of combing your hair or even getting into bed and laying your head on the pillow.
But what is the cause of this sometimes brief and intense pain? Sadly, the cause is relatively unknown. What they suggest is that it is an irritation of the nerves. Some assume that whiplash or trauma can contribute to this neuralgia, but again, it’s only an assumption.
Who is most affected by occipital pain?
This pain is most common among those who suffer from migraines and those who suffer from chronic headaches. However, it is noted that although a migraine sufferer, in terms of severity, may experience the same crucial pain, the attacks last significantly longer than the Occipital Neuralgia. In other headache disorders, eye watering, redness and drooping eyelids sometimes occur that do not occur with Occipital Neuralgia. In fact, occipital neuralgia is a distinctive condition that necessitates a precise diagnosis to be properly treated.
How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?
- Usually it is based on medical history and a physical exam. However, many times the neurological exam results will be normal.
- Pressing on the occipital nerve usually prompts a temporary pain reaction which is indicative of occipital neuralgia. The physician may then aid you with an anesthetic injection which is a nerve block in an attempt to relieve the pain. If that is successful, then occipital neuralgia is likely the diagnosis.
What is the treatment of occipital neuralgia?
There are numerous treatments for this condition, such as antiepileptic medications, anti-depressants, nerve blocks and even massage. However, other treatments can include:
- Warm compresses and physical therapy since many cases arise from an injury or trauma.
- Muscle relaxers
When these methods are ineffective, other sources of relief may be given, such as:
- Occipital nerve blocks (an injection of a local anesthetic is given in the back of the head in the area of the occipital nerve that is affected. This treatment’s relief sometimes lasts up to three months at which time the anesthetic may be given again
- Pulse ratio-frequency may be shown to have some benefit in the cases that are extreme and hard to conquer
Occipital neuralgia, although an uncomfortable event, is not a life threatening condition. In fact, most sufferers can receive a significant ease of pain from simple rest and medication. However, if your pain persists, and none of the above remedies are effective, you may want to take your questions and symptoms to your doctor in the event that it is something other than occipital neuralgia.