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How is occipital neuralgia diagnosed?

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Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and about any injuries you’ve had. You'll receive a physical exam, too, in which your doctor will press firmly around the back of your head to see if he or she can reproduce your pain.

Your doctor may also give you a shot to numb the nerve, called a nerve block, to see if it gives you relief. If it works, occipital neuralgia is likely the cause of the pain. You might also have blood tests or an MRI scan if your doctor thinks your case isn’t typical.

From: Occipital Neuralgia WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Occipital Neuralgia Information Page." American Association of Neurological Surgeons: "Occipital Neuralgia." Jan Brandes, MD, director, Nashville Neuroscience Group at St. Thomas Health Services; assistant clinical professor, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. 


Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 6, 2018

SOURCES: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Occipital Neuralgia Information Page." American Association of Neurological Surgeons: "Occipital Neuralgia." Jan Brandes, MD, director, Nashville Neuroscience Group at St. Thomas Health Services; assistant clinical professor, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. 


Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 6, 2018

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How can I relieve pain from occipital neuralgia?

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