If you are experiencing neck pain and pain in the back of your head that shoots to the top of your head, you may be suffering from occipital neuralgia.
Occipital neuralgia is a condition in which chronic pain occurs within the skull as well as intense pain that spreads through the scalp and starts in the back of the head. According to the International Headache Society, an affected nerve is responsible for the pain in the skull and scalp. More specifically, the pain is often elicited by pressure that is placed on both the major and minor nervus occipitalis.
Symptoms of occipital neuralgia are similar to those of tension type headaches and migraine and are therefore often misdiagnosed. However, a correct diagnosis is needed to find effective treatment. To accurately diagnose occipital neuralgia, physicians will conduct a thorough history and physical exam. Once this condition is suspected, an occipital nerve block can be performed. If pain relief is reported from the nerve block, a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia is confirmed.
In order to determine the cause of occipital neuralgia, a detailed history and physical exam will be performed. Questions relating to vision changes, dizziness, as well as nausea or vomiting will help to determine if there is impingement of the cranial or cervical nerves. In addition, doctors perform various assessment tests including percussion of the nervus occipital major and minor in an attempt to elicit tenderness.
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