Melbourne's acupuncture and herbs experts

Occipital Headache: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

An occipital headache, also known as occipital neuralgia, is a type of a headache that affects the back of the head. The pain can be severe and debilitating, with frequent episodes. A headache is one of the most common complaints seen by doctors, will millions seeking treatment every year.

Although our connective brain tissue is insensitive, the scalp, head muscles, periosteum, dura and blood vessels are all pain-sensitive and allow for many possible causes of head and facial pain.

Occipital neuralgia is a headache syndrome, which can be either primary or secondary. Primary headaches have no obvious disease-related or structural cause, namely, migraines, tension, and cluster headaches. Whereas, secondary headaches have an underlying disease process that may include tumour, trauma, infection, systemic disease or haemorrhage.

Occipital neuralgia is categorised by chronic pain behind the eyes, at the back of the head, or in the upper neck.

The Cause of Occipital Headache

The cause of occipital neuralgia can be divided into two groups, those with structural causes and those with idiopathic, or ‘unknown’ cause.

Structural Causes include:

  • Trauma to the greater/lesser occipital nerves,
  • Compression of occipital nerves or C2 and or C3 nerve roots by degenerative cervical spinal changes,
  • Cervical disc disease, and
  • Tumours affecting C2 and C3 nerve roots.

Occipital Headache: Clinical Symptoms

The most common symptoms of occipital headache include:

  • Aching
  • Burning Pain
  • Throbbing Pain

Throbbing pain is usually one-sided and continuous, with infrequent, shooting pain. The pain usually radiates from the suboccipital area to the posterior and/or later scalp; occasionally with pain behind the eye, over the neck, temples and frontal regions.Western Medical Treatment for Occipital Headache

Management of occipital headaches/neuralgia usually starts with recommended conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, massage, and medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), neuropathic medications (seizure medications, tricyclics antidepressants), and, in some cases, opioids

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Treatment for Occipital Headache

Acupuncture, along with Chinese medicine treatment can effectively treat and manage occipital neuralgia/headaches. Patients often observe reduced severity and frequency of pain; greater range of motion of the neck; and reduce need for medication.

Make an appointment today with one of our experienced Chinese medicine practitioners to help with your pain management condition.

Written by

Sustain Health
Sustain Health is a multidisciplinary, wellness clinic located in South Melbourne, Australia. We believe good medicine is about looking at the whole being, treating the person and keeping them well. We view each patient as an individual affected by their unique lifestyle, diet, environment, emotions and attitude. Every individual’s health needs a tailored approach to achieve better and sustainable medical solutions. Sustain Health currently offers its clients: * Fertility * IVF Support * Acupuncture * Chinese Medicine * Chiropractic

Sustain Health's Profile

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top