As an extension of the prior post, I’m going to stay on the topic of Occipital Neuralgia / Occipital Nerve Syndrome ( ON / ONS ).
Occipital Neuralgia / Occipital Nerve Syndrome
We have been treating this problem for over 15 years and have a very mature experience in helping many different types of ON/ONS. In our practice, the number one cause of this condition is a whiplash injury. We likely have the largest and most developed experience of treating post-whiplash ON/ONS in the US. Our commitment to treating this condition has helped many people and has helped us refine how to both diagnose and treat ON/ONS as a leader in this field.
We have learned that Whiplash injuries come in many different forms, not just automobile accidents. These whiplash injuries can be caused by high or low speed MVA, boating accidents, falls from various heights, falls from various objects ( ladder, horse, bike, etc. ), physical altercations, explosive blasts, traction injuries to upper extremity, and more…. So you see, we have had to adjust our own understanding/definition of what causes a whiplash type injury. Whiplash can also cause other types of neuralgias/ headache syndromes, but we will stay on topic of the ON/ONS today.
Just a reminder, the classic Occipital Neuralgia (ON) headache starts in the back of the head (occipital region), radiates up and over top of head ( and/or across the temple) into the forehead and then ultimately radiates to behind the eyes. This is just the most common pattern and but patients present with variations. We have seen them all.
We are often treating these patients with our multi-disciplinary team because post-whiplash headaches can be caused by other post-whiplash conditions in addition to ON/ONS. You have to determine if one or all of them are part of the list in every patient. Concussion can cause a centralized headache. Injuries to the cervical spine can cause cervicogenic headaches. Ocular disturbances can cause headaches as well. When our team of providers are activated earlier in the process we are able to better and more accurately identify the sources of the headache and treat them earlier. For those of you that suffered a long time, you understand the importance of this comment.
So whether your whiplash injury happened last week or 10 plus years ago, and you have a headache that is not resolving, you need to see our team for an evaluation. It should be part of your stratified care approach to this clinical problem. Don’t forget, each of us are the chairperson of our own Board of Health and you have to be your own best advocate.
May you live without chronic pain.
Neuro = Nerve
Pax = Peace