Posterior Occipital Neuralgia

Posterior occipital neuralgia is pain originating from the base of your skull that often wraps around to the front of the head and behind the eyes. The pain is due to inflamed or damaged occipital nerves in your neck. Pain can be severe and chronic and can affect one or both sides of your head.

Possible causes of posterior occipital neuralgia include:

  • inflammation;
  • trauma, such as whiplash;
  • infections;
  • spinal column compression;
  • diabetes;
  • gout; and
  • tumors.

Symptoms of posterior occipital neuralgia include:

  • headaches starting in the upper neck or base of the skull;
  • scalp tenderness or pain; and
  • light-sensitive or painful eyes.

Once the underlying causes of your pain are determined, in most cases your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation, muscle relaxants to stop spasms, physical therapy, massage, heat, and rest.

Patients usually recover fully from posterior occipital neuralgia once the pain has subsided and any damage to the nerves has been reduced or repaired.

(c) 2007 The American Academy of Ophthalmology

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This post was written by Rob Schertzer