How We Can Help
Occipital Neuralgia Treatment Information
We specialize in advanced therapies and administer a full range of treatment options for occipital neuralgia, including:
- Pain medicines. Medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or other prescription pain medicines may be enough to control your pain from occipital neuralgia. Narcotic pain medicines are not effective for this pain. We work with you to find the medicines with the fewest side effects that work best for you and your health.
- Antidepressants. Chronic pain can lead to depression and anxiety. In turn, these conditions may make chronic pain harder to treat. We may prescribe you antidepressants to improve your quality of life, as well as increase the effectiveness of your pain treatments.
- Referral to psychological counseling. We may refer you to expert psychologists or psychiatrists for counseling. These professionals help you cope with your pain and its effects on your life. Counseling can improve your quality of life and allow you to respond better to pain treatment.
- Nerve blocks. Nerve blocks keep your occipital nerve from sending pain signals to your brain. Our physicians carefully inject a long lasting anesthetic medicine and steroid directly into the occipital nerve. If your pain is caused by occipital neuralgia, the nerve block will stop the pain in as little as 15 minutes. The nerve block may last several weeks. When the anesthetic wears off, you can return to the office for another nerve block injection. Nerve blocks can also be used to diagnose the source of pain.
- Nerve stimulation. Electrical impulses sent through your occipital nerve may block pain signals to your brain. Your physician places a temporary wire through your skin and into your occipital nerve. Your physician then sends electrical impulses through the wire to see if it relieves pain. If stimulation works, a permanent generator is implanted under your skin and connected to your nerves through lead wires. The generator is small, and the procedure is minimally-invasive. The generator may be implanted at your physician’s office or at an outpatient surgery center.
- Radiofrequency lesioning. If you have severe chronic pain, you may choose to undergo radiofrequency lesioning, also called radiofrequency ablation. During this 20 to 30 minute procedure, special radio waves are carefully directed at your occipital nerve through a small needle. Your physician uses images of your nerves to guide the needle into the correct place. The radio waves burn the nerve so it no longer sends pain signals.
Occipital Neuralgia Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.
Occipital Neuralgia Support Services
Learn more about the management of chronic pain from occipital neuralgia at the websites below:
A Sampling of Occipital Neuralgia Support Services
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
This website includes information on occipital neuralgia treatments and research.
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
This website shares information for patients about the causes and diagnosis of occipital neuralgia.