Since some of the symptoms of occipital neuralgia are similar to that of other types of headaches, therefore, the diagnosis of this disease is very tricky. The inability of patients to identify the exact location of the pain also leads to the wrong diagnosis. To eliminate the risk of wrong diagnosis doctors asks about the history of the patient. If the patient has received a serious blow on the back of his head or carries heavy load regularly on this area then chances are high that patient is suffering from occipital neuroglia. The other, more reliable, method to diagnose this disease is the use of nerve block anaesthesia. If the patient feels relief in his pain after receiving the anaesthesia then it means pain is coming from the nerves. Doctors also suggest for the blood tests and MRI to make sure that pain is not coming from any other part of the body. MRI does not indicate the presence of pain but it can help doctors to identify any kind of abnormality in the occipital nerves or occipital artery. The diagnosis is very crucial for the treatment of this disease because the wrong diagnosis can change the course of treatment which can increase the severity of the disease.
Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia
Treatment of occipital neuralgia depends on its causes but in all cases first step is to reduce the pain of the patient. Treatment of this disease can be categorised into three categories; self-care treatment, medication, and surgery. There are several conventional but effective methods to get relief from this pain. These methods include
Application of heat to the back side of the head and neck. Hot water in the ice bags can be used for this purpose
Massaging of the affected area is also an effective solution to reduce the pain
Resting on a comfortable bed in calm environment releases pain