Occipital Neuralgia

What is occipital neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia refers to sharp, shooting pain arising at back of the head or upper neck, and spreading either to the top of the skull, or to the temple region. This is frequently associated with a dull or throbbing pain behind the eye. It may occur on both sides. This pain is often reproduced by applying mild pressure or tapping over the greater or lesser occipital nerves at the back of the skull. Some patients may have pins and needles or numbness over the scalp.

What are the causes of occipital neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia may follow:

How is occipital neuralgia treated?
Initially, occipital neuralgia is treated with pain medications, local anaesthetic injections, and physiotherapy. Steroids are sometimes used in the short-term. Avoidance of aggravating activities and pressure over the nerves is important. The majority of patients respond to such measures, but a small proportion require surgery.

Traditional neurosurgical strategies to manage this sometimes difficult condition have included:

Peripheral nerve stimulation of occipital nerves has recently emerged as an effective, well-tolerated, and low-risk technique in patients with intractable occipital neuralgia. Over 70% of patients appear to benefit from this new technique.


Conditions Treated

Spinal Conditions Treated

Brachialgia (Cervical Radiculopathy)

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Degenerative Disc Disease

Disc Prolapse

Facet Joint Pain


Lower Back Pain

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis



Trauma (fractures, dislocations, instability)


Pain Conditions Treated

Cervicogenic Headaches

Failed Back Surgery

Occipital Neuralgia

Spinal Anatomy

Overview of Spinal Anatomy

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