Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterised by piercing, throbbing, or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head but can present on both sides.
Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia
It is often described by patients as an intense pain that feels like a sharp, jabbing, electric shock sensation originating at the back of the head and/or neck and spreading upwards. Other symptoms include:
- Aching, burning, and throbbing pain that typically starts at the base of the head and goes to the scalp
- Pain on one or both sides of the head
- Pain behind the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Tender scalp
- Pain when you move your neck
The location of pain is related to the areas supplied by the greater and lesser occipital nerves, which run from the area where the spinal column meets the neck, up to the scalp at the back of the head. Occipital neuralgia is caused by pressure or irritation of the occipital nerves. This is normally related to a head or neck injury; other causes include tight muscles surrounding the nerves, or inflammation in that area. However, oftentimes the exact cause is not identified.
So How Might Upper Cervical Chiropractors Be Able To Help?
We analyse the area of the neck closest to where the occipital nerves exit the spine. Specifically, the occiput, C1, C2, and C3. We assess the alignment of these bones as well as measuring nervous system function to analyse for pressure being caused in this region. If we find one of the bones has misaligned in relation to another and pressure on the nervous system being caused as a result, then it is possible that this is causing irritation to the occipital nerves.
Misalignment And Upper Chiropractic Care
We also find that when there is a misalignment present the muscles around the joint tighten up to stabilise and protect the area. We know that tight muscles close to the occipital nerves can also cause irritation and produce the characteristic symptoms of occipital neuralgia. This is another reason to examine this area of the spine for a mechanical cause of these neurological symptoms.
Why Pick Top Chiropractic for Occipital Neuralgia?
Our aim is to correct the alignment of the bones of the upper neck and reduce pressure upon the nervous system. When we are able to do so, given enough time and the right corrections we begin to see people’s symptoms reduce and eventually resolve.
If you or someone you know is suffering with occipital neuralgia then why not book a complimentary call with us and find out how we might be able to help - https://calendly.com/elliott-41/15min
Or if you have headaches but this doesn’t match your symptoms why not check out one of our other headache blogs to find out if we could help you.