The greater and lesser occipital nerves run up from the top of the spinal column to the neck and scalp on the back of the head. When these nerves are compressed or irritated, they can cause occipital neuralgia, a type of unique head pain. Headaches that begin at the top of the neck and spread up through the back of the head can be a symptom of occipital neuralgia. At Medici Spine & Pain, our physicians can diagnose occipital neuralgia and find treatments to offer relief at our clinics in the Atlanta area.
There are several possible causes of occipital neuralgia. Inflammation in the neck and scalp can cause nerve irritation of the occipital nerves, triggering head pain. Localized inflammation can be caused by diabetes, gout, vasculitis or repetitively keeping the head in a forward, bent position. Compression of the nerves can occur in the neck, caused by injury, osteoarthritis or muscle tension. Symptoms of occipital neuralgia include piercing or throbbing pain in the back of the neck and head. This condition can become chronic and may require treatment for relief.
Treatments for Occipital Nerve Pain
To relieve occipital neuralgia pain, our doctors at Medici Spine & Pain explore the possible causes of nerve irritation to determine the best treatment. Physical therapy and massage can be implemented to help reduce nerve irritation from movement or muscle tension. Treating inflammatory conditions can also help relieve nerve pressure. This may include steroid injections and medication management. The right combination of treatments help to provide pain relief and limit the episodes of headaches caused by occipital neuralgia.
If you have head pain that starts in the back of the neck and runs up the back of the scalp, contact us at Medici Spine & Pain. We can determine if you have occipital neuralgia or another condition and find the best treatment option.