When Your Head Hurts: Trigeminal And Occipital Neuralgia
In occipital neuralgia, it’s the occipital nerve that’s affected.
The occipital nerve runs from the top of the spinal cord up the neck and up the scalp. When the occipital nerve is damaged, inflamed, or irritated, an individual might experience pain that begins at the back of the head and radiates forward.
Pain behind the eye, a tender scalp, sensitivity to light, or pain when moving the neck might also occur. Because there are two occipital nerves running up from the neck over the scalp, it’s possible to only experience pain on one side of the head at a time.
Washing the hair or lying on a pillow might become very difficult. Additionally, the pain associated with occipital neuralgia can be similar to other head pain conditions, so it’s easy for an occipital headache or occipital migraine to be mistaken for something else and go undiagnosed.
Conditions related to trigeminal and occipital neuralgia
There are certain conditions that are commonly associated with neuralgia, although the type is not limited to only occipital neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia.
A few of these conditions include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Some infections, such as AIDS or shingles
- Chronic renal insufficiency
- Certain medications