Occipital neuralgia is a condition caused by injured or inflamed occipital nerves. The occipital nerve is responsible for sensations in the skin found on the back of the scalp and the top of the head. When damaged, it causes unusual painful headaches that can be debilitating.
Signs and Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia pain is often confused with migraines or cluster headaches, but there is a difference. Sufferers from occipital neuralgia report pain in one side of the head, behind the eye, or in the back of the head. It is described as a sharp or stinging pain, or may sometimes present as a burning sensation that radiates across the face or over the head.
The pain for occipital neuralgia may be triggered or exacerbated by neck movement. For some people, this pain may be momentary, or last just a few minutes. For others, it may last for hours or may be constant.
Sufferers may also find themselves sensitive to light and sound or may experience tingling numbness, or itching.
How the Upper Cervical Spine Affects Occipital Neuralgia
The upper cervical spine consists of the top seven vertebrae, which run through the neck. The top two vertebrae, labeled C1 and C2, make up the atlas and axis respectively. These two vital vertebrae support the skull and facilitate neck movement. These two vertebrae make up the most vulnerable part of your spine and are prone to injury. A jolt to the head or neck, or even poor posture, can cause misalignments in this part of the spine.
The occipital nerve arises from just below these vertebrae. When the upper cervical spine is misaligned, it can cause inflammation or put pressure on the occipital nerve. This kind of irritation can pinch the nerve and cause brain signals to misfire. Damage to these nerves causes occipital neuralgia.
How Our Treatment for Occipital Neuralgia Works
The Blair Chiropractic Technique is a modern technique that focuses on the health of the upper cervical spine. Dr. Christina Coblish and Dr. Ryan Moeskau, specialists in the Blair Chiropractic Technique, can apply gentle, swift corrections to help alleviate damage to the occipital nerve, restoring health and prompting the body’s natural processes to begin healing patients of occipital neuralgia.
At our offices, all of our doctors are trained specialists in the Blair Technique, so there is no need for the jerking and twisting of the neck as associated with traditional chiropractic techniques. Dr. Coblish and Dr. Moeskau prioritizes a patient’s comfort, using state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology to pinpoint the areas of concern. Corrections are then made using minimal force in precise locations for the best results.
An upper cervical spine adjustment is a safe, drug-free, non-invasive treatment for occipital neuralgia. Dr. Coblish and Dr. Moeskau service Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Erie, Lafayette, Broomfield, and Denver areas in Colorado.