Occipital Neuralgia

Interventional Pain Medicine in Knoxville, TN

Occipital Neuralgia services offered in Knoxville, TN

Occipital neuralgia causes shooting pain in the scalp that’s often so intense patients can’t bear to touch their heads during an attack. If you need help with occipital neuralgia symptoms, visit Pain Medicine of the South in Knoxville, Tennessee. The highly skilled specialists use advanced treatments such as steroid injections and radiofrequency ablation. Call Pain Medicine of the South today or book online for occipital neuralgia relief.

What is occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is a painful condition affecting the greater occipital nerves. These two nerves (one on each side of the head) transmit sensations from the back and top of your head to the brain. The nerve roots are in the vertebrae at the top of your neck, from where they spread through the muscles and scalp.

Occipital nerve injury or irritation can cause pain that patients describe as shooting, electric-shock-like, and tingling. The pain affects one side of the head and may reach the eye. Some people find the pain so intense that they flinch at the lightest touch. You could also develop numbness and tenderness.

Why would I have occipital neuralgia?

You might develop occipital neuralgia if the nerve root in your neck becomes compressed. This could be due to an acute injury that results in spinal misalignment and inflammation, or a chronic condition like arthritis could change the bony structures and compress the occipital nerve.

Scalp or skull surgery can also lead to occipital neuralgia, or overly tight muscles at the back of your head could trap the nerves. Sometimes, there’s no clear reason for occipital neuralgia’s development.

The Pain Medicine of the South team looks for tenderness along the occipital nerve and may perform an occipital nerve block to confirm the diagnosis. Nerve blocks use a local anesthetic to numb the nerve, which can temporarily relieve pain.

Occipital neuralgia symptoms are also common in people with migraine headaches, so an accurate diagnosis is vital to ensure you get the correct treatment.

How is occipital neuralgia treated?

If they can pinpoint your occipital neuralgia’s cause, the Pain Medicine of the South team might be able to help a damaged nerve heal. That won’t always be possible, so anti-inflammatories and pain medicines often contribute to managing pain.

If these measures don’t work well enough, you might benefit from steroid injections and/or botulinum toxin shots to calm down overactive nerves.

If you don’t get sufficient relief, another option is radiofrequency ablation. In this procedure, the Pain Medicine of the South team heats the occipital nerve to deactivate it, preventing pain signals from reaching your brain.

Call Pain Medicine of the South to learn how you could benefit from high-quality occipital neuralgia treatment, or use the online booking form to schedule a consultation.