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Occipital Nerve Pain

Occipital neuralgia is most known as a headache syndrome that involves the occipital nerves. The condition is sometimes confused with a migraine or headache, but occipital neuralgia only occurs when the occipital nerves are inflamed or injured. Compared to migraines and other head pain, occipital neuralgia is extremely uncommon. Similar to many conditions like psychiatric disorders, this occipital neuralgia is diagnosed primarily from symptoms and scans. While a doctor may order a CT scan to examine the cervical facet joints, a MRI can be used to observe the soft tissue imaging of the neck. These sophisticated diagnostic techniques are designed to help providers locate the exact source of pain. According to many studies, the average age of people with occipital neuralgia is 52.

Causes

The most common causes of occipital neuralgia are usually the result of underlying conditions such as:

  • Cervical disc disease
  • Blood vessel inflammation
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Trauma to occipital nerves
  • Tumors in neck
  • Headaches

Symptoms

Patients with occipital neuralgia typically experience shocking, throbbing, and shooting pain, which starts at the base of the head and radiates to the scalp. Additional symptoms of the condition may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tender scalp
  • Pain behind the eye
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Pain on both sides of the head

Treatments

Fortunately, certain mediation, therapies, and procedures can substantially lessen the intensity of the symptoms.

  • Medication Management: Topical medication is great for nerve pain as they usually do not have any side effects. Anticonvulsants and antidepressants may also be used for pain. Some of the most used medicine for treating occipital neuralgia include aspirin, desipramine, dilantin, and ketamine lotion. A provider will develop a medication management regiment to ensure the proper use of the medicine.
  • Occipital Nerve Blocks: Typically performed by extremely experience neurologists and anesthesiologists, these types of blocks may temporarily deaden pain nerves. As a result, this is the perfect treatment for reliving symptoms associated with occipital neuralgia such as headaches and migraines.
  • Physiotherapy: Most people report that massage and exercise can ease the pain that is caused by occipital neuralgia. Physiotherapists are trained to provide hands-on release of tight muscles and joints around the affected body part.
  • Botox: The primary purpose of this injection is to block muscles around the occipital nerve, which ultimately reduces pain and discomfort. This treatment provides a temporary relief to the symptoms of occipital neuralgia.

Patients can even drastically reduce severe symptoms of occipital neuralgia in the comfort of their home by resting in a quiet room or applying heat to the neck. If a patient does not respond to these treatments, surgery may also be considered.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute today.

Our Patient Reviews

Allied Pain & Spine Institute

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Based on 8 reviews

Michelle T.

I fly in to see Dr. Petros from Southern California.  I wouldn't do so if he wasn't the best there is.  He is compassionate and has always treated me kindly. I can tell he is sincere in the way he talks to me and is diligently looking for solutions that work best with me and my chronic pain needs.  Very out of the box approach, which I appreciate these days!  I would truly recommend Dr. Petros to anyone looking for a Dr. that not only cares about you as a patient but has the confidence and skill set to get results! His office staff is friendly and caring too.  Allied Pain and Spine Institute is the Gold Standard in pain care in my humble opinion!! When I find a doctor that understands the issue and always goes above and beyond to help me, I do what I can to continue seeing them. I am so glad I found this office!!

Louise W.

Dr Petros is amazing!  When he uses a needle his aim is "right on".  He is also very personable, an altogether great guy.  I always find my visits to him to be very informative. I have had both sides of my degenerated back injected (epidural shots) with complete success.  He allows me to have no sedative, which is cool because his jokes and stories in the operating room are really good.  He greatly enjoys his work, and enjoys the difficult challenges of getting a needle into the right place in my back.  My arthritic knee is perhaps more straight-forward, but other doctors have failed to give me pain relief.  Dr Petros studies the structure with ultrasound before injecting it.  The result - instant relief! On my recent visit for a broken back (ski accident) the doctor and staff were very accomodating to help me make a dinner engagement shortly after my appointment.  This is definitely a five-star operation!

Ellie O.

Wow, wonderful doctor!!! I avoid all the doctors like the plague...seriously it makes my blood pressure go up when I have to go but I chose Dr. Vaidya. My friend referred him to me, he's simply the best... TOP NOTCH!!! He turned out to be a breath of fresh air. Dr. Vaidya really stands out head and shoulders above everyone else. I usually don't write reviews but he's so outstanding that I really wanted to do it for him. He's the most honest and caring doctor I have met.  He listens and gives you full attention and committed to find the best individual solution for you. He always goes out of his way to get you the most appropriate treatment and he will make it happen. He's very knowledgeable in his field. He's very professional, friendly, personable and definitely easy to talk to. His integrity is very valuable. He's one of the sharpest and most driven individuals you will ever meet.

Keith M.

Simply the best doctors and staff in the area. I've fought back and neck pain for over 30 years, and Dr. Petros and his team have kept me from the operating table and able to enjoy my life. I've had injections, acupuncture, as well as back braces. He listens to my concerns, cares very deeply for my pain and discomfort, and has successfully treated everything from stenosis, pinched nerves, herniated disks, and even helped me with the symptoms from shingles and lung disease. I couldn't be happier with the care he has given me over the years.

Kaitlin Z.

Dr. Vaidya has changed my life. I am in my late 20s with chronic pain and nothing had worked until I came here. All services here are wonderful and the staff is absolutely amazing. I can't recommend enough!!

Tracy B.

I have been a patient of Dr. Vaidya for a few years after not getting what I needed from other spine and pain doctors. I was looking for a doctor who would think outside the box and come up with some other ways to treat my growing amount of pain. Between Dr. Petros and Dr. Vaidya, they have brought me to a place where my pain is better managed. And let's just talk about bedside manners! I have never met doctors in the past 23 years of this back journey of mine that has as amazing bedside manners as these guys. I have cried and laughed with the team at Allied Spine. The way that I am always greeted and promptly cared for is bar none! The front office staff, and especially Nas, has been a God sent. I would never go anywhere else.

Justin P.

I am a new patient of DR Petros and my experience was great for my first two visits so far. He really takes time to listen to your issues and provides thorough answers and treatment options. The front desk staff are all very nice and respond in a timely manner to requests. Highly recommended all around!

Lisa A.

I have seen Dr. Vaidya for about 2 years. He is an amazing doctor.the attention and care you receive is well over 5 stars. He knows who I am by my face, he knows my health history with out looking in my chart, he remembers conversations we have had at previous appointments. He truly cares for his patients. I will be moving our of state, and will travel back here each month to see doctor Vaidya. I lost my insurance over a year ago and pay out of pocket to see the doctor, it is worth every penny to be treated with respect, as a person and with care. I love all the staff and feel like I am visiting family when I come in for my appointments.

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