Causes of Headaches and the Greater Occipital Nerves

Causes of Headaches and the Greater Occipital Nerves

Ok let’s talk about headaches. There are many
types of headaches: Cluster Headaches, Migraine Headaches, Tension Headaches, Sinus Headaches.
Today we want to cover more of the tension headache and the general type of headache
that we know can be caused from nerves in your neck. Now the most common type of headache
is one where the nerves will come from the base of the skull and cervical I, or what
is called the Atlas bone. In our neck, there are seven vertebra that make up that cervical
spine; from the side and from the back. The two big nerves that we want to talk about
are the greater occipital nerves. One is on the right and one is on the left. Here and
then back here. The reason that we talk mainly about those with headaches is because that
is an area that can be very troublesome for people when they have headaches. Now, those
headaches – if they’re caused by those greater occipital nerves – those nerves run between
the skull and the cervical I, and they run right up the back of the head. Some of that
can come to the top of the head. Some of that can come to just above the eyes. Some of those
branches will come down into your temple areas. So there can be three areas, towards the top
and front, that can be from those nerves. Where the nerve can get pinched in the back
here and come all the way to the front, especially if that pinching causes swelling around that
nerve and that nerve stays swollen for a while, it will travel up and over. You can still
have the headache at the back called the occipital headache, because those nerves can get pinched
back here and just not travel to the front. But you can have it on both sides. Some people
will have it just on the right or just on the left. But, those nerves can travel up
and over, and up and over, and you can also have it here. Your pain can be at the base
of that skull. Now, sometimes people – if it gets really bad – these headaches stay
and they can become chronic for them. Long term they keep having them over and over again.
Maybe they’re taking some sort of pain killer to try to settle those down. But sometimes
you’ll have it not just here but all the way to the front to where you feel like the headache
is pretty much everywhere around the head. What we want to try to do with these headaches
is eliminate the cause of the problem. At Schneider Clinic, we are going to look at
this area when we see those type of symptoms. We will see if there is something we can work
on in that area to determine, “Do you have headaches caused by the greater occipital
nerves?” That is today’s lesson in headaches caused by problems caused by the greater occipital
nerve in the upper part of your neck or the lower part of your skull called the occiput.
So, if you have tried all of those other things, some of them I would say are good things.
Maybe you’ve tried essential oils and rubbed those on the neck or on the back of your head.
Maybe you’ve done the drug route with over the counter medicine where you’ve taken Advil,
Aleve, or Tylenol. Maybe you’ve even visited your medical doctor and they have prescribed
a stronger medication for you. It would still be a good idea, in my opinion, to check this
and see “Is that where my headaches are originating from and can that be helped to where you do
not need the medications and all the side effects that go with them. What I would tell
you is… call us. We’ll do a free consultation with you. You can call our number, 574-293-7000.
You can also visit us on the web, which you are on, at and learn more
about this. You can live chat us on our website, or go to the New Patient request section and
request to be a new patient. Come visit us. We’d love to help you.


(1 Comment)

  • Art V.

    Has anyone ever cured occipital nerve pain?

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