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Occipital Neuralgia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Occipital neuralgia is a quite rare headache disorder that can inflict pain throughout occipital nerves, from the top of the spinal cord to the scalp. It often causes piercing pain in areas like the upper neck, behind the ears, or back of the head.

Unlike other types of headache disorder that happen gradually, occipital neuralgia is characterized by sudden onset. Even brushing your hair could trigger occipital neuralgia.

Though the pain is intense and sharp, it lasts only a few seconds to a few minutes. Around three out of every 100,000 people are affected by occipital neuralgia annually.

Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia

The main symptoms of occipital neuralgia are marked by a sudden onset and severe pain, which happen more on one side of your head than on both sides. The onset of intense pain won’t last long, but tenderness around the nerves may remain afterward. When occipital neuralgia occurs, you will feel a piercing pain rather than a dull throbbing pain.