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Occipital Neuralgia


Occipital neuralgia is a condition involving the occipital nerves, causing neck pain and headaches. There are two occipital nerves which are primarily involved in occipital neuralgia:

👉 Greater occipital nerve
👉 Lesser occipital nerve

These nerves originate from the upper segments of the spine and travel up into the head, innervating the scalp. There is a greater and lesser occipital nerve on each side of the head. Irritation of one, or more of these can create painful symptoms along the distribution of the nerve.

Greater Occipital Nerves

Greater Occipital Nerves

Lesser Occipital Nerve

Lesser Occipital Nerve


⚠️ Tension/tightness
⚠️ Aching pain
⚠️ Shooting, stabbing pain
⚠️ Headache / Migraine
⚠️ Tingling

Symptoms of occipital neuralgia are often reported as persistent pain and headaches, which can be better or worse depending on various factors (posture, activity, time of day, etc). Patients may experience radiating pain that extends through to the forehead and at times feels like a deep pressure behind the eye.


🔱 Nerve entrapment   Learn More
Occipital neuralgia is commonly caused by entrapment of the greater and lesser occipital nerves. As each nerve passes through various muscles and connective tissues along its pathway through the upper neck and head, there are various points where entrapment can occur. When the nerve becomes physically tethered to the surrounding tissues due to fibrous adhesion, there is often resulting pain and inflammation. 
🔱 Fibrous adhesion 👉   Learn More
There is often chronic dysfunction of the upper segments in the neck, where the small, but very important muscles are lacking range of motion and contributing to the symptoms.
Nerve entrapment and adhesion is often a consequence of chronic poor posture and loading of the upper segments of the neck. This often results from postures where the head is looking down for long periods i.e. looking down at a device. 


A diagnosis can often be made clinically, without the need for further investigations.

✅  Full history – all the details of your unique case
✅  Clinical evaluation – including hands-on palpation and clinical testing 

Familiar symptoms are often reproduced with clinical evaluation, which can be diagnostic of nerve entrapment.
👉 Imaging (MRI/CT/X-ray) is not required in most cases of occipital neuralgia.


Occipital neuralgia due to nerve entrapment can be treated non-surgically in the majority of cases. We utilise Shockwave therapy in addition to our hands-on and instrument assisted techniques, to release the nerve entrapment and reduce symptoms.

▶️ Hands-on soft tissue treatment
▶️ Instrument-assisted soft tissue treatment
▶️ Shockwave therapy
▶️ Rehabilitation exercises, as required

If you, or anyone that you know is suffering with Occipital Neuralgia that won’t go away despite everything you’ve tried so far, please consider scheduling an Initial Consultation (link below on this page).

Dr. Christopher Aysom, Principal Clinician
BChiroSc, MChiro (Chiropractor)

Apex Soft Tissue & Spine
Pymble, NSW, Australia

initial consultation

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Suite 3/969 Pacific Hwy
Pymble NSW 2073


0410 577 353


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