What Happens If Occipital Neuralgia Goes Untreated?

Will occipital neuralgia go away on its own?

Occipital neuralgia can last for a very long time, but it may stop by itself after a while.

Generally, occipital neuralgia is a long-term condition that requires treatment to lessen the pain..

What kind of doctor do you see for occipital neuralgia?

Primary care doctors, urgent care and emergency room doctors, neurologists and pain specialists are all involved together in many severe cases of occipital neuralgia, though their treatments most often involve medications or minimally invasive procedures.

Does occipital neuralgia show up on MRI?

Radiographic imaging is of limited utility in the diagnosis of occipital neuralgia but is primarily concerned with excluding structural pathology of the cord, the spine, the occipital nerves or adjacent structures. As such, MRI is best suited to this task 1,4.

Where does occipital neuralgia hurt?

Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterized 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. Typically, the pain of occipital neuralgia begins in the neck and then spreads upwards.

Is occipital neuralgia caused by stress?

Occipital neuralgia is caused by damage to the occipital nerves, which can arise from trauma (usually concussive or cervical), physical stress on the nerve, repetitive neck contraction, flexion or extension, and/or as a result of medical complications (such as osteochondroma, a benign bone tumour).

Does exercise help occipital neuralgia?

Some cases of occipital neuralgia may be related to poor posture stressing the nerves. The chin tuck exercise aims to stretch the muscles and connective tissue in the painful area and strengthen the muscles that align your head over your shoulders. Stand with your upper back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart.

Can a virus cause occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia The pain can sometimes include the forehead. It is suspected that tense muscles or ligaments may press against the nerve, causing irritation, inflammation and subsequent pain. Other causes may include viral infection, trauma to the neck or bad posture.

Is occipital neuralgia a symptom of MS?

In patients with multiple sclerosis, clinical features in occipital neuralgia that were predictive of the presence of a C2-3 lesion were unilateral episodic symptoms, sensory loss, later onset of occipital neuralgia, and progressive multiple sclerosis phenotype.

Is occipital neuralgia life threatening?

Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. Most people get good pain relief by resting and taking medication.

How do you relax the occipital muscles?

Apply gentle pressure from your fingertips at the base of your skull. This massage can help calm tight muscles and release tension. You can also place a rolled towel under your head and neck as you lie down on your back. The pressure from the towel can provide a gentle massage.

What medication is best for occipital neuralgia?

What medications can you use to treat occipital neuralgia?Prescription muscle relaxants.Antiseizure drugs, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) and gabapentin (Neurontin)Antidepressants.Nerve blocks and steroid shots. The nerve block that your doctor might do to diagnose your condition can be a short-term treatment, too.

How do you relax the muscles in the back of your head?

Massage can undo clenched muscles and help you relax, so it can be especially good for stress or tension headaches. Have someone else gently massage your head, neck, and shoulder muscles. Or do it yourself with a targeted mini-massage. Gently rub the painful spot on your head with your fingertips for several seconds.

Can bad posture cause occipital neuralgia?

Posture issues may also cause occipital neuralgia if the patient’s head is often held forward and down, as this position can place excessive pressure on the nerve over time.

How long does it take for occipital neuralgia to go away?

Patients are able to go home the same day, and full recovery is generally expected within one or two weeks. In some cases, occipital release surgery only works temporarily, and the pain returns.

Do I need to see a doctor for occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia can be very difficult to diagnose because of its similarities with migraines and other headache disorders. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care when you begin feeling unusual, sharp pain in the neck or scalp and the pain is not accompanied by nausea or light sensitivity.

What triggers occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is most commonly caused by pinched nerves in the root of a person’s neck. Sometimes this is caused by muscles that are too tight in a person’s neck. In some cases, it can be caused by a head or neck injury. Chronic neck tension is another common cause.

Does occipital neuralgia affect vision?

This pain is typically one-sided, although it can be on both sides if both occipital nerves have been affected. Additionally, the pain may radiate forward toward the eye, as it follows the path of the occipital nerve(s). Individuals may notice blurred vision as the pain radiates near or behind the eye.

Can occipital neuralgia be cured?

Although a specific cure for occipital neuralgia does not exist, there are many effective symptomatic treatment options.

How can I treat occipital neuralgia at home?

How can I relieve pain from occipital neuralgia?Apply heat to your neck.Rest in a quiet room.Massage tight and painful neck muscles.Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen.

How do you sleep with occipital neuralgia?

Sleep on your back. Use a pillow that supports the neck and keeps the head aligned with the body (neutral position) Avoid sleeping with the neck bent because that can increase pressure on the nerves. If sleeping on your side, be sure to use a pillow that does not raise the head higher than the shoulders.