Your Fibromyalgia may be the Cause of Occipital Neuralgia

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It’s estimated that up to forty percent of people with fibromyalgia suffer from migraines or some other form of a persistent headache. But like fibromyalgia, it’s hard to get to the bottom of what’s causing your headaches. And like fibromyalgia, migraines are often misdiagnosed. In fact, some people who suffer from persistent headaches aren’t actually suffering from migraines, but from a related condition called occipital neuralgia.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is a condition that causes chronic pain at the base of the skull. People often describe it as an electric shock or even similar to being stabbed in the muscle. The pain usually radiates from the back of the head to the neck and to the sides of the head or behind the eye.

The root of the condition lies in the occipital nerves. These are nerves that run from the back of the neck and the spine up through the sides of the head to the scalp. But sometimes, injuries or inflammation of the muscles in the spine cause the tissue to start pressing on these nerves. This leads to a condition called neuralgia, where the nerves begin to send pain signals to the brain.

That delivers the side effects that are like headaches, which makes it hard to analyze the condition. Specialists can analyze the condition by performing a physical exam, squeezing their finger into the base of the skull to check whether your agony deteriorates.

What’s more, they can likewise give you something many refer to as a nerve piece, which close off the communication between the nerves, which can help demonstrate that it’s neuralgia as opposed to headaches.

How is fibromyalgia related to occipital neuralgia?

Fibromyalgia puts you in danger of various distinctive conditions and some of them are additionally contributing variables to neuralgia. For instance, diabetes is a typical grievance of individuals with fibromyalgia. Also, the nerve torment from diabetes can contribute significantly to the danger of creating occipital neuralgia.

In addition, we know that having fibromyalgia makes you more likely to develop autoimmune conditions. An autoimmune condition is one where the body’s immune system begins to attack the body’s own tissue. This results in painful inflammation all over the body.

And a common autoimmune condition is something called arteritis. Arteritis causes inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels. This inflammation can put pressure on the occipital nerves and can be a root cause of neuralgia. What’s more, fibromyalgia likewise appears to influence the nerves themselves. Fibromyalgia appears to trigger your nerves to send torment signs to the mind.

What’s more, it may be the case that similar nerve associations can add to the manifestations of occipital neuralgia. Fibromyalgia seems to activate the nerves to send pain signals to the brain. And it could be that the same nervous connections can contribute to the symptoms of occipital neuralgia.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and about any injuries you’ve had. Doctors can diagnose the condition by performing a physical examination, pressing with your finger at the base of the skull to see if the pain worsens. In addition, they can also give you something called nerve block, which interrupts the interaction between the nerves, which can help prove that it is neuralgia instead of migraines.

You might also have blood tests or an MRI scan if your doctor thinks your case isn’t typical. You have to get the right diagnosis to get the right treatment. For example, if you have occipital neuralgia and you get a prescription for migraine medication, you may not get relief. But there are many different conditions that can lead to neuropathy, and that is why it could affect people with fibromyalgia more often than the general population.

Signs

Occipital neuralgia can cause extraordinary agony that feels like a sharp, punching, electric stun in the back of the head and neck. Different indications  like Torment behind the eye, Delicate scalp, Torment when you move your neck, Affectability to light, Hurting, consuming, and throbbing agony that normally begins at the base of the head and goes to the scalp. Read More the signs of Fibromyalgia here.

Causes of Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia happens when there’s weight or disturbance to your occipital nerves, possibly due to damage, tight muscles that entangle the nerves, or aggravation. Ordinarily, specialists can’t discover a reason for it. Some medicinal conditions are connected to it, like, Neck pressure or tight neck muscles, Injury to the back of the head, Tumors in the neck, cervical disc disease and Blood vessel inflammation.

 

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Treatment

The first thing you’ll want to do is to relieve your pain. You can try things many things like Resting in a quiet room, Massaging tight and painful neck muscles, Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen and Applying heat to your neck. If those don’t help, your doctor may prescribe medications for you, including, Nerve blocks and steroid shots.

The nerve block that your doctor might do to diagnose your condition can be a short-term treatment, too. It may take two to three shots over several weeks to get control of your pain. It’s not uncommon for the problem to return at some point and to need another series of injections. Muscle relaxants are also prescribed.

An operation is rare, but it might be an option if your pain doesn’t get better with other treatments or comes back. Surgery may include Occipital nerve stimulation. Your doctor uses a device called a neurostimulator to deliver electrical pulses to your occipital nerves. They can help block pain messages to the brain. Micro vascular decompression is also done. Your doctor may be able to relieve pain by finding and adjusting blood vessels that may be compressing your nerve.

Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. Most people get good pain relief by resting and taking medication. But if you still hurt, tell your doctor. She’ll want to see if there’s another problem that’s causing your pain.

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Reference:

  • What is Occipital Neuralgia? by Wyatt Redd via Fibromyalgia Treating

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