Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH

Occipital neuralgia refers to the pain which is usually sharp and felt in the upper neck and behind the ears. The pain may involve only on one side of the upper neck. Numbness can also occur in these regions.


Occipital neuralgia is caused by trauma to the occipital nerves found in the back of the head.

Tight occipital muscles in the neck may lead to pinched nerves and cause occipital neuralgia or contribute to this condition.

Keeping the head in a downward or forward position for a longer time may trigger or contribute to this condition.

Any injury in this area or inflammation (including blood vessel inflammation) can lead to irritation of the nerves and may cause pain.

Compression of the nerve can be due to osteoarthritis in the upper spine.



Apart from pain in the upper neck the symptoms include: pain behind the eye, on one side of the head, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, vertigo, pain and tight muscles when moving the neck, dizziness, scalp tenderness, etc.


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Spasms and tightness of muscles surrounding occipital nerves may cause or worsen occipital neuralgia pain. Magnesium supplements have been shown to decrease muscle tightness and spasms. Magnesium is also important for nerve health (including occipital nerve) and the transmission of signals through the nerves. In addition, magnesium dilates and relaxes blood vessels which is beneficial in occipital neuralgia.

Try to use good magnesium such as citrate, bisglycinate, etc. internally (2 times a day 200-400mg of elemental magnesium) and additionally apply magnesium chloride oil on the neck several times during the day.


Apart from magnesium other following muscle and nerve relaxants can be recommended:

– Massage of the neck and upper back muscles.

– Alternative hot and cold compress on the neck.

– Rest and sleep.

– Herbs: Chamomile, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Ashwagandha, etc.

– Serrapeptase as a natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory agent.

– Sublingual methylcobalamin (B12) – 1000-2000mcg under the tongue after breakfast.

– Good quality multivitamin-mineral supplement >

– Alpha-Lipoic Acid (600-1200mg a day): Very affective in reversing nerve damage in the body (especially when combined with sublingual methylcobalamin form of B12) such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. It also helps prevent and treat diabetes, heart damage and cataract. It increases body levels of glutathione and CoQ10, improves skin condition, memory, removes heavy metals from the body and increases energy. Together with Acetyl L-Carnitine reduces sciatic pain caused by a herniated disc, lowers blood pressure and was able to improve vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease. Read more >

– VIDEO: Occipital Stretch Release Exercise for Instant Neck Pain Relief & Pinched Nerve >


Alternative (contrast) hot and cold showers or compress to the neck area and back will give a tremendous boost to the blood circulation, improve metabolism, the elimination of toxins, and stimulate both the nervous and the immune system. Always start with hot shower and after about 3 – 5 minutes when your body is warm enough take a 3 – 5 min cold shower slowly reducing the temperature until it is really cold. After that, repeat this procedure alternating the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 3-5 times in a row. You can also start the whole treatment with hot shower followed by prolonged cold bath.

Another excellent and very simple water treatment is hot foot bath. Keeping your feet for about 30 minutes in hot water can be very helpful in boosting immunity and reducing congestion and pain from any area of the body. The very important benefit of water treatments such as hot foot bath is its ability to move blood from different parts of the body such as brain, chest, abdomen, etc. which is very helpful when the blood in brain and internal organs is congested, inflamed and often overloaded with toxins and impurities. It might be very beneficial in case of pain, sinusitis, headaches, cancer, arthritis, any inflammation or even fibromyalgia which is believed to be caused by too much blood in the brain which overstimulates the nervous system leading to increased sensitivity to pain.

If you are a diabetic use thermometer or ask someone to check the temperature as diabetics have lower sensitivity to heat and may burn themselves.

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Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.