Occipital neuralgia is a condition that affects the two greater occipital nerves and their ability to transmit what you feel in the back and top of your head to your brain. When there is irritation of a nerve, at any point of its course, the result is the patient suffering from some kind electric or tingling pain. The course of an occipital nerve usually start between the bones of the spine (upper neck region), and then make their way through the muscles at the back of your head before reaching into the scalp.

Signs and symptoms

  • Neck movement causing pain
  • Scalp becomes extremely tender
  • Sensitive to light sources
  • Experiencing pain on one or both sides of your head
  • Throbbing and burning pain that starts "radiating" from the base of your head to the scalp
  • Sensitive to loud noises
  • Migraine

Note: these are just a few signs and symptoms provided for informational purposes. Do not attempt self-diagnosis based on this list.


Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. By taking the right medication and getting ample rest, patients get good pain relief. Do note that most medications for the treatment need to be prescribed by your doctor. Medications could include muscle relaxants, gabapentin and more. An operation is also rarely needed to treat this condition. Occipital nerve stimulation and microvascular decompression are also two other types of treatments that may be considered.

Northern Neurology Specialties, Dr. Jill Bressler – Experts You Can Trust for Occipital Neuralgia Treatment

Northern Neurology Specialties and Dr. Bressler have the proper medical experience and expertise to diagnose conditions associated with occipital neuralgia. In addition to diagnostic testing, we would also likely refer you to our trusted network of subspecialists. It’s pertinent that you seek examinations and diagnostics with the appropriate individuals so that we can together work on a comprehensive treatment plan. Contact us to talk about occipital neuralgia and treatment options.