If you suffer from headaches, neck or facial pain it may be a very treatable condition. One of the most common causes may be a problem between your head and the first two vertebras in your neck.
Occipital Neuralgia, also known as C2 neuralgia, is a medical condition characterized by chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the eyes. These areas of the head correspond to two nerves located in the back of the neck at the base of the skull, the greater and lesser occipital nerves.
One of the main symptoms of this condition is chronic headache. Other symptoms of occipital neuralgia may include; tenderness and pain at the base of the skull, in one or both sides, aching, burning, and throbbing pain that typically starts at the base of the head and radiates upwards into the scalp, pain behind the eye, sensitivity to light and tenderness throughout the scalp.
One of the major causes of Occipital Neuralgia is compression to either the greater or lesser occipital nerves as they penetrate the muscles high up in the neck just under the skull. This can be caused by an injury such as whiplash, or poor posture and head position that develops gradually over time. Two very common forms of treatment for this condition may include referral to a Pain Management Doctor for trigger point therapy, or a nerve block, or referral to a Physical Therapist, or possibly both. Physical Therapists are licensed health care professionals that specialize in human anatomy and mechanics, including evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of the head, neck and spine. Once you are evaluated by a Physical Therapist and your condition is determined to be Occipital Neuralgia, treatment for this condition will emphasize decompression of the occipital nerves through improving head position, posture and muscle flexibility and control. A Physical Therapist may use manual therapy techniques such as mobilization to the first two vertebras in the neck to improve vertebral alignment and mobility reducing compression to the occipital nerves. They may use a new technique called Dry Needling to assist with releasing the suboccipital muscles that attach the head to the neck, improving the muscles soft tissue mobility and flexibility, which will assist with decompressing the occipital nerves. You will also be educated in exercise, proper head position, posture and body alignment, which will reduce stress and compression to the occipital nerves. It is usually the combination of pain management and physical therapy that clinically results in the best outcomes for the treatment of headaches due to suboccipital neuralgia. So there are treatments out there if you feel you suffer from this condition, but the first step in treatment is to contact your General Practitioner and ask for a referral to a Pain Management Doctor or a Physical Therapist.
Professional Rehabilitation Services, is a group of privately therapist owned Physical Therapy Practices in Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions using the latest in evidence based therapies provided by highly credentialed Physical Therapists. In addition to being licensed Physical Therapists, our providers have additional specialty certifications and training in orthopedics, manual therapy, sports therapy, strength and conditioning, vestibular treatment, and dry needling.
For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, STC, CWcHP, Cert. DN, at Professional Rehabilitation Services (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Richard A. Owens, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. SHT, CWcHP, Cert DN (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, or Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and contact any of our offices and schedule a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your pain or dysfunction with a Therapist!