Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 4, 2021
If you’re beginning to suffer from more frequent headaches or similar symptoms like sensitivity to light or pain when you move your head and neck, you might be wondering where to turn for medical assistance. Your primary care physician may be able to help you find relief, but if you want the best chance to address the issue on the first try, consider connecting with a spine specialist for your care. Below, we take a closer look at how a spine specialist can help you treat these symptoms, which are oftentimes caused by a condition called occipital neuralgia.
What Is Occipital Neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia is a condition that describes an event that leads to irritation, compression or damage to the occipital nerves, which are located near the back of your head. When these nerves become compressed or impinged, headaches and other symptoms are common, including:
- Pain in the back of the head and neck
- Pain behind your eyes
- Head tenderness
- Pain with head or neck movement
- Sensitivity to light
Compression of one of the occipital nerves is the most common cause of occipital neuralgia, but other health issues like tight neck muscles, neck arthritis, spinal stenosis or as a result of trauma to the area (oftentimes the result of whiplash) can all lead to the onset of symptoms. Since many of the causes are closely linked to the cervical spine or neck region, it’s typically in your best interest to consult with a spine specialist if you’re dealing with the above symptoms or have reason to believe you’re suffering from occipital neuralgia.
Treating Occipital Neuralgia
If you believe you may be dealing with occipital neuralgia, set up an appointment with a specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He’ll begin by conducting a physical exam and asking about your symptoms. This is typically all that is needed to provide a diagnosis, but some cases may require MRI to provide a more detailed look at the nerve issue.
If your spine specialist believes you’re dealing with occipital neuralgia, they’ll explain the condition and some of the treatments that may help limit symptoms and provide relief. Some common treatment recommendations include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Occipital nerve blocks
- Occipital nerve stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Warm/Hot compress
- Anti-inflammatory medications
In the vast majority of cases, occipital neuralgia can be resolved through a combination of conservative techniques, and Dr. Sinciropi has helped countless patients lessen or eliminate their occipital nerve symptoms. So if you’re dealing with frequent headaches or pain in the back of your head, know that a spine specialist may be exactly who you need to see in order to find relief. For more information or to set up your first appointment, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.