First of all, sorry about not having a blog for last week. It might have been a senior moment, but to be truthful I was in the midst of moving into a new home with my wife.

This week I’d like to talk about a particular type of headache called occipital neuralgia. Yes, the name is long and hard to pronounce, but this condition does occur fairly frequently. The occipital nerve supplies among other areas the back of the scalp and there is one nerve for each side-ie one for the left and one for the right. If you happened to get hit on the back of the head. some of the pain you experience comes from this nerve.

What happens if you haven’t had any accident and still have pain in the back of your head? If the pain has been going on for several days, is severe or associated with blurry vision, difficulty walking or talking or confusion, you should go to the ER right away, because something bad might be going on. Strokes, bleeding within the brain, tumors are some serious causes of this type of pain.

Yet one cause of pain in the back of your head is not so serious. Occipital neuralgia can cause severe, sharp pain from your upper neck into your scalp. The pain may come and go and is usually not related to moving your neck ( unlike pain from neck arthritis which will get worse with neck movement). Sometimes a tingling sensation is associated with the neck pain.

Treatment involves antiinflammatory medications such as Iburofen. If a particular spot on your scalp is very tender, this trigger point can be injected with a long acting local anesthetic and a steroid. The pain may recur and at times can be chronic.

Most importantly is to make sure that nothing more serious is going on before arriving at this diagnosis.