Your occipital nerves are located near the top of your spine and run from the base of your neck to the top of your head. Occipital neuralgia is a disorder that occurs when either of the occipital nerves is injured.
What are the symptoms?
The pain associated with occipital neuralgia can be severe, burning, or throbbing. The pain that you experience is typically felt in the cervical area of your back (near your neck) and in the back of your head. Sometimes it can extend to the sides of your head and cause your scalp to be sensitive to the touch.
What are the causes of occipital neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia is an uncommon disorder. It can occur after an injury, like whiplash, or following a blow to the head. Osteoarthritis of the upper spine can also be a cause.
How is it treated?
Occipital neuralgia might first be diagnosed with a nerve block, which deadens the occipital nerves to see if it relieves pain. The nerves can then be decompressed with additional nerve block injections. A spinal stimulator can keep pain signals from reaching the brain, and can be trialed first to ensure that it is effective for the pain.