Nerve Decompression Operation For Occipital Neuralgia

We wanted to share a wonderful success story of a delightful patient that suffered for many years with severe debilitating headaches in the back of the head that started over 6 years ago without any apparent trauma or whiplash.  She was diagnosed with possible occipital migraines or occipital neuralgia by her medical team.  She had tried years of medications, physical therapy, and injections.   The only thing that gave her relief were occipital nerve blocks.  These are injections performed in order to place medicine around the nerves that travel from the spine up to the back of the skull to the scalp.   The goal is to decrease inflammation around these nerves to try to improve the cause of the pain and headaches.    

After failing many years of conservative measures, she was referred to us for evaluation for a surgical approach to try to help her severe headaches.   Research in the field of Plastic Surgery over the past decade has demonstrated that many severe debilitating headaches are caused by nerves in the head and neck region.  These nerves get irritated and then create pain in the distribution that the nerve covers.   The occipital nerve will cause pain in the back of the head.   Other nerves may cause pain in the forehead and temples.    

In our office this patient had temporary relief of her constant posterior head pain with nerve blocks that we performed to make the nerves stop working for a few hours.   This coupled with the other nerve blocks that she had received over the past few years, and the lack of any other improvement provided the support needed to recommend a surgical approach to decompress, or to take pressure off, the nerves in the back of the head.   Specifically this included the greater occipital, lesser occipital, and third occipital nerves.   

We want to celebrate with her –  2 ½ months of NO headaches since the day after the operation!   While we can not guarantee that every patient will see these same outcomes, we have come to expect this for many of our patients.   We expect this to be a permanent change for her in the coming months.  

We could not be more excited for her – especially after many years of near constant pain!