Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterized by sudden and recurring jabs of piercing, throbbing, chronic pain.
The pain originates from base of the skull and often radiates to the back, front, and side of the head.
It may also be present behind the eyes, in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head.
It usually causes extreme light sensitivity to the eyes. The pain is caused by irritation or injury to the occipital nerves.
Occipital neuralgia is typically treated nonsurgically, with the goal of alleviating the pain.
Depending on the person, doctors may offer several possible approaches to relieve pain, such as:
If these treatments are unsuccessful, we can treat occipital neuralgia surgically.
Occipital neuralgia can be diagnosed by imaging studies such as CT and MRI scans.
Your doctor will also ask you about your symptoms.
These may include:
Occipital neuralgia is typically managed without surgery, and may resolve with pain management techniques including:
Surgical treatment depends upon the individual person, and may include:
UPMC neurosurgeons may recommend a combination of surgical and nonsurgical approaches to occiptal neuralgia.