Occipital neuralgia is a neurological condition in which the occipital nerves — the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord at the base of the neck up through the scalp — are inflamed or injured. Occipital neuralgia can be confused with a migraine, or other types of headache, because the symptoms can be similar. But occipital neuralgia is a distinct disorder that requires an accurate diagnosis to be treated properly.
Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia can cause very intense pain that feels like a sharp, jabbing, electric shock in the back of the head and neck. Other symptoms of occipital neuralgia may include:
- Aching, burning, and throbbing pain that typically starts at the base of the head and radiates to the scalp
- Pain on one or both sides of the head
- Pain behind the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Tender scalp
- Pain when moving the neck
And all of this leads to a migraine, generally speaking.