Occipital Neuralgia:
What Is It and How Is It Treated?

blog occipital neuralgia
Occipital neuralgia is a condition where patients experience intense headache, sometimes migraine, that starts in the neck and radiates to the back of the head.


Occipital neuralgia is caused by the compression of the greater occipital nerves (GON). These are sensory nerves that traverse 2 muscles in the neck and give sensation to the back of the head. The GON can be compressed as they traverse the semispinalis muscle in our neck or the trapezius muscle. This compression is responsible for the symptoms associated with occipital neuralgia.
Most patients who suffer from occipital neuralgia had history of whiplash injury associated with car accidents, lifting heavy weights, previous neck surgery among other causes.


Occipital neuralgia can be treated with decompression of the GON as it tracks through its potential points of compression. This is done through a small incision, hidden in the scalp, minimally invasive and can be done in less than an hour.

Recovery From the Procedure

Few days after the procedure, patients can resume their daily life, avoiding lifting heavy weights. Sutures are removed 8 days after the procedure


This intervention has a very high success rate; Either significant improvement of the neuralgia or complete cure. Thorough evaluation by an experienced surgeon is a must to achieve the best results.


About the author
Dr. Ahmad Saad

Dr. Ahmad Saad

Medical Director – IMAGN Institute, Barcelona

Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Asst. Prof. of Plastic Surgery – University of California, San Diego

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