Quick Answer: How Do I Know If I Have Occipital Neuralgia?

How can I treat occipital neuralgia at home?

How can I relieve pain from occipital neuralgia?Apply heat to your neck.Rest in a quiet room.Massage tight and painful neck muscles.Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen..

Is occipital neuralgia serious?

In occipital neuralgia, there are paroxysms of severe occipital pain, that often resemble severe migraines. The pain may be so severe that blood pressure rises to extreme levels.

What infections cause occipital neuralgia?

possible etiology of occipital neuralgia. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) belongs to the alpha herpes virus group of the herpesvirus family [reviewed in 1]. This virus family is known for their special ability to cause latent infections in neurons.

What makes occipital neuralgia worse?

Occipital neuralgia is most commonly caused by pinched nerves in the root of a person’s neck. Sometimes this is caused by muscles that are too tight in a person’s neck. In some cases, it can be caused by a head or neck injury. Chronic neck tension is another common cause.

Is heat or ice better for occipital neuralgia?

Apply ice/heat therapy. Ice therapy may reduce local inflammation and relieve pain. Tuck an ice pack under the base of your skull as you lie down. However, you may find more relief using heat therapy, such as an electric heating pad.

How do you sleep with occipital neuralgia?

The best way to sleep with occipital neuralgia is in a position that does not place more pressure on the nerves. Following are some guidelines: Sleep on your back. Use a pillow that supports the neck and keeps the head aligned with the body (neutral position)

Does exercise help occipital neuralgia?

Do chin tucks regularly. Some cases of occipital neuralgia may be related to poor posture stressing the nerves. The chin tuck exercise aims to stretch the muscles and connective tissue in the painful area and strengthen the muscles that align your head over your shoulders.

Does occipital neuralgia show up on MRI?

Radiographic imaging is of limited utility in the diagnosis of occipital neuralgia but is primarily concerned with excluding structural pathology of the cord, the spine, the occipital nerves or adjacent structures. As such, MRI is best suited to this task 1,4.

Is occipital neuralgia a symptom of MS?

The association of trigeminal neuralgia with MS has been well documented and is typically related to a pontine lesion. Limited data exists regarding occipital neuralgia in patients with MS. We tested the hypothesis that occipital neuralgia in MS is associated with high cervical spinal cord lesions (C2-3).

How do you test for occipital neuralgia?

There is not one test to diagnose occipital neuralgia. Your doctor may make a diagnosis using a physical examination to find tenderness in response to pressure along your occipital nerve. Your doctor may diagnose — and temporarily treat — with an occipital nerve block.

What kind of doctor do you see for occipital neuralgia?

Your pain management specialist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants, and may recommend physical therapy as well. In some cases, anti-seizure medications or antidepressants may be prescribed to help calm the occipital nerve.

How do you get rid of occipital neuralgia?

Non-surgical TreatmentsHeat: patients often feel relief when heating pads or devices are placed in the location of the pain. … Physical therapy or massage therapy.Oral Medication: … Percutaneous nerve blocks: these injections can be used both to diagnose and treat occipital neuralgia.More items…

What is the best medicine for occipital neuralgia?

What medications can you use to treat occipital neuralgia?Prescription muscle relaxants.Antiseizure drugs, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) and gabapentin (Neurontin)Antidepressants.Nerve blocks and steroid shots. The nerve block that your doctor might do to diagnose your condition can be a short-term treatment, too.

What is the difference between migraine and occipital neuralgia?

But that’s where the similarities end. Occipital neuralgia and migraines require different treatments because their sources of pain are different. Migraines are related to changes in the brain. Occipital neuralgia is due to compressed or irritated nerves that run from the neck, up the back of the head to the scalp.

Does occipital neuralgia go away on its own?

Prognosis. Occipital neuralgia can last for a very long time, but it may stop by itself after a while. Generally, occipital neuralgia is a long-term condition that requires treatment to lessen the pain.

What happens if occipital neuralgia goes untreated?

Left untreated, complications of untreated occipital neuralgia can be serious or even life threatening. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you.

Is occipital neuralgia caused by stress?

Occipital neuralgia is caused by damage to the occipital nerves, which can arise from trauma (usually concussive or cervical ), physical stress on the nerve, repetitive neck contraction, flexion or extension, and/or as a result of medical complications (such as osteochondroma, a benign bone tumour).