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What are the alternative treatments for occipital neuralgia?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
Answered : 6714 Questions
Hi, I have a relative who has chronic occipital neuralgia . Typically symptoms include burning scalp pain . She has recently had nerve stimuluation of the occipital nerve to deal with this problem. My questions are the following : how long should we see an improvement ( it has been 2 days since the procedure ) what alternative treatments are available for dealing with occipital neuralgia if this doesnt work ( i.e. nerve block , etc) Any other modern treatments ? thanks for your help. She is at her wits end with the pain . XXXXXXX
Posted Fri, 24 Jan 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 5 hours later
Brief answer.....given below Detailed answer.... Hello, Thanks for the query. I feel very sorry for the agony being faced by your relative because I know the pain and other symptoms are really very troubling for the patient suffering from chronic occipital neuralgia. It is needless to suggest anti inflammatory pain killers like Motrin or prescription muscle relaxants or anticonvulsants like GABAPANTINE,CARBAMAZAPINE etc or antidepressants because all these must have been tried by the patient. Nerve stimulation procedure is generally tried for 4-7 days and the response is noted. If the response is good and patient reports significant improvement in pain and quality of life,then a Permanent device is implanted otherwise the programme is shelved. If all the above method fails,then surgery is resorted as last measure. Surgery involves a procedure called as microvascular decompression where blood vessels are identified and adjusted in such a way so as they don't compress the nerves. Occipital neuralgia is not a life threatening condition and in general most of the patients do report significant improvement with conservative methods and non surgical methods. I hope it helps,however you may revert to me for any further query. Best of luck Thanks
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