Occipital headaches

Occipital headaches are one of the world's most common health problems (16%), with 80-90 percent of Americans experiencing a “tension headache” at some point in their lives. For this reason, the interventional pain management specialists at Sussex Pain Relief Center in Georgetown and Lewes, Delaware, have developed expert treatments to address the symptoms of occipital headaches. If your current headache management just isn't working, reach out by phone or through the online scheduler to learn how Manonmani Antony, MD, DABA, DABIPP, and her team of compassionate specialists can help.

Occipital headaches FAQ

What is an occipital headache?

Occipital headaches are prevalent and are a frequent cause of doctor or emergency room visits. Although headaches are a common health problem, occipital neuralgia is a specific type of headache.


If migraine medication isn't working, your recurring headaches may not be migraines after all. Occipital neuralgia is a nerve-induced headache that can be confused with migraines because the symptoms can be similar. This nerve-induced headache requires different treatment.

What are the symptoms of occipital headaches?

The symptoms of occipital headaches and migraines are similar. These symptoms may include:

If you experience these symptoms, it's important to seek prompt treatment.

What are the causes of occipital neuralgia?

Occipital neuralgia is due to compressed or irritated nerves that run from the neck, up the back of the head to the scalp. These nerves are found at the second and third vertebrae of the neck.

right occipital nerve distribution

"Nerves can become entrapped due to muscle spasms or head or neck trauma, such as whiplash," says pain management specialist Dr. Antony

How is a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia made?

Nerve block: "If the pain disappears after we numb the occipital nerve with a local anesthetic, then we can be confident that occipital neuralgia is causing the headache," says Dr. Antony

What treatments are available for occipital headaches??

Radiofrequency Ablation of C2/C3 third occipital nerve is the preferred treatment. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is performed under local anesthetic with x-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance. RFA is a minimally invasive method that involves the use of heat and coagulation "shut off" the pain signals that are sent to the brain from the joints and nerves.

happy woman

Dr. Antony states that more than 80 % of patients who have these procedures usually have > 50 % pain relief for more than 6 -12 months; some have more than 2 years.

Call Dr. Antony and the team at Sussex Pain Relief Center for an occipital headache consultation today. You can also book online.