Call Us Today: 952-841-2345

Call Us Today: 952-841-2345

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Occipital Neuralgia

The occipital nerves run from the top of the spinal cord, up through the back of the head to the scalp. They are the primary source of sensory feedback for the skin on the top-most region of the neck, the back of the scalp, the ears, and the top of the scalp.

Sometimes, the occipital nerves become compressed or inflamed, causing pain. This condition is called occipital neuralgia.

What causes occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia occurs when the occipital nerves become irritated or pinched. This can be the result of an injury to the area, tightened muscles surrounding the nerves, or inflammation of nearby tissues.

Doctors often have difficulty identifying the exact cause of occipital neuralgia, but it has been found to be commonly associated with other conditions, such as:

  • Physical trauma to the back of the head
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tumors near the nerves
  • Conditions affecting nearby vertebral discs
  • Localized infections
  • Gout
  • Diabetes

What are symptoms of occipital neuralgia?

The primary symptoms of occipital neuralgia include:

  • Pain running from the base of the head to the scalp
  • Pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Pain when moving the neck
  • Light sensitivity
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Pain behind the eye

The symptoms of occipital neuralgia are commonly mistaken for migraines. However, they are two very different conditions with different treatment methods, so if you experience these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis.

How is occipital neuralgia treated?

Twin Cities Pain Clinic offers a variety of effective treatment options to relieve pain caused by occipital neuralgia:

Schedule an appointment with Twin Cities Pain Clinic to learn how we can help treat your occipital neuralgia pain.


Telemedicine and in-clinic appointments available. Schedule today: 952-841-2345