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Alternative Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia

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Headache related image Photo: Getty Images

If you have occipital neuralgia and react badly to drugs or don’t want injections or surgery, there are alternative therapies available to treat this condition. These include:

Chiropractic Adjustment:

Chiropractic neck adjustment loosens muscles, releasing tension and allowing inflammation to heal and the pressure to be taken off the nerves. Patients with occipital neuralgia have recovered and become symptom-free after having chiropractic treatment. An author from The Clinical Chiropractic Journal wrote "There is no uniformly effective treatment for this condition, once conservative treatment fails, surgery is the next option but there are many reported side effects and failed surgical cases. This case demonstrates how this syndrome was relieved in one patient by chiropractic management." The article then went on to describe a patient who was essentially cured by chiropractic adjustments.

Cranial Osteopathy

Patients with long-term headache conditions were found to benefit from cranial osteopathy. Cranial osteopathy is a type of head manipulation and massage that disperses pressure and stress from the body. In 2004, 26 people were involved in a study to assess the value of osteopathy in patients with chronic headache conditions. All 26 were given muscular relaxation exercises to do at home and they completed a headache diary about the frequency and intensity of their headaches, but the placebo group was given no other intervention. The control group also had three osteopathic treatments. It was found that "The people in this study who did relaxation exercises and received three osteopathy treatments had significantly more days per week without headache than those who did only relaxation exercises."

Nutritional Therapy

Greater attention to diet, and in particular, B vitamins may help relieve occipital neuralgia by boosting the body’s ability to heal itself. Vitamin B12 aids normal nervous system development and nerve regeneration so some patients take a B12 supplement. Having plenty of fatty acids like fish oils or flax seed oils can be helpful in reducing inflammation around the nerves.


Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is totally worthless. A massage isn't going to help this situation and in fact may hurt it significantly. Go to a good neurologist, if they don't listen dump them immediately. You will have an uphill fight every step of the way. Good luck.

May 29, 2016 - 11:44pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Massage does nothing for my occipital nerve headaches either. If the compression of the nerve is due to overly tight muscles, maybe massage would help. But there are many possible causes of irritation to the nerve. I wouldn't expect massage to help in more than a small fraction of sufferers.

October 14, 2017 - 6:40am
EmpowHER Guest

I have occipital neuralgia caused by trauma because of cervical manipulation by a chiropractor. Please do not recommend this to your readers.

September 23, 2014 - 4:15pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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