Among the cranial neuralgias, occipital neuralgia is the most frequent. It is an intense pain in the back-lower part of the head due to some condition that involves the greater or lesser occipital nerve.
This condition can be caused when the occipital nerve is exposed to a non-penetrating trauma, if there is a tension in the nuchal ligament, if the fatty tissues and muscles in the occiput harden, by arteriosclerosis or continuous injuries due to some activity that is carried out daily, for example, by keeping the neck extended for a long time, also known as whiplash syndrome. Although many times the origin of the ailment is not found. To counteract this pathology, you must go to the doctor, who will explain and prescribe the best treatment; However, in this FastlyHealarticle, we will inform you all about occipital neuralgia: symptoms and treatment.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of occipital neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia can often be confused with another condition since they exhibit similar signs, so a series of tests must be done to diagnose it correctly. Among the main symptoms are:
- Pain: one of the most characteristic symptoms of occipital neuralgia is the pain in the back of the head, where the occipital nerves are located, and that often extends to the frontal area. This pain can be very intense, with a stinging sensation and episodes of burning pain; sometimes, it can also cause numbness in the affected area. This pain occurs when the occipital nerve is compressed when the cervical spine is tilted laterally or rotated; it can even be excruciating to rest the head on the pillow at bedtime.
- Alteration of the sensation of the occipital area: the skin that covers the size tends to become very sensitive to the touch. Any stimulus on the occipital nerves can trigger tingling, a stinging or burning sensation, numbness, or irritation. There may also be a partial decrease or loss of sensitivity; there will be no active response to stimuli that cause pain, vibration, or temperature changes.
- Pain or discomfort in the back area of the eyes: Although it is not a symptom that always occurs, it may happen when the ailment spreads to the front room of the head.
Treatment to relieve occipital neuralgia
You must consult your doctor if you have any recurring ailment that involves any area of the head. If you are correctly diagnosed with occipital neuralgia, they will advise you on the best treatment after examining your condition.
In general, terms, to treat occipital neuralgia, the following are used:
- Drugs against pain: depending on the intensity of the pain and its state, one pill is recommended more than another; the dose can also vary for each person and condition.
- Block the nerve: it is a very effective way to control the situation; it consists of injecting corticosteroids, alcohol, or anesthetics, such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, at the most sensitive point occipital nerve. It is recommended to give a light massage to spread the solution. It acts immediately so that in a few minutes, you will have a feeling of well-being that can last for months or years, but it is usually necessary to apply again.
- Nerve surgery: if no other treatment has worked, surgical intervention will be required; for this, a section of the occipital nerve is cut, resulting in total relief in most patients but with the possibility of resurgence. Cause of a more profound condition. In addition, sensitivity is lost in the area involved.
Prognosis of occipital neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition, nor can it trigger any other life-threatening illness. And most will respond to doctor-recommended treatment but may increase in frequency as we age. In other cases, this condition may improve or disappear over time.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.