4 Feb, 2024

Arnold’s neuralgia and occipital neuralgia, are they the same?

Neuralgia is a medical term referring to sharp, stabbing pain along a nerve, usually caused by irritation or compression of the nerve. Two conditions often causing confusion are Arnold’s neuralgia and occipital neuralgia. Though they may share similar symptoms due to their location in the occipital region of the head, they are distinct entities with unique causes and characteristics.

What is Arnold’s neuralgia?

Arnold’s neuralgia, also known as occipital headache, is a condition where the occipital nerves, found in the back of the neck and head, become irritated or compressed. This can result in intense pain radiating to the top of the head and the back of the neck. Arnold’s neuralgia can be triggered by various reasons such as neck trauma, excessive muscle tension, or maintaining an incorrect posture for extended periods.

What is occipital neuralgia?

On the other hand, occipital neuralgia is a broader term used to describe pain in the occipital region of the head, which may be related to irritation of the occipital nerves but can also be caused by other conditions like migraines, cervical issues, and spinal disorders. Symptoms may include sharp pain, scalp sensitivity, and occasionally visual disturbances.

Key differences between Arnold’s neuralgia and occipital neuralgia:

  • Underlying causes: Arnold’s neuralgia focuses on specific irritation of occipital nerves, while occipital neuralgia can stem from various factors including cervical problems, migraines, and muscular disorders.
  • Treatment: Treatment for both conditions can vary. Arnold’s neuralgia often responds well to measures like physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and correcting poor posture, with surgical intervention considered if previous methods fail. For occipital neuralgia, treatment depends on the underlying cause, which could involve administering pain and inflammation medications, physical therapy, and surgery.
  • Diagnosis: Accurate diagnosis is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment. Healthcare professionals will carefully assess symptoms, medical history, and perform physical tests to differentiate between both conditions and other potential causes of occipital pain.


In summary, while both Arnold’s neuralgia and occipital neuralgia involve pain in the occipital region of the head and neck, they are distinct conditions with different causes and treatments. If you experience persistent pain in this area, seeking medical attention is important for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. While this information provides insight, it does not replace professional medical advice.

At Instituto Facial, we specialize in surgical treatment for both occipital neuralgia and Arnold’s neuralgia. If you wish to learn more or schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us via WhatsApp, email at [email protected], or phone at +34 622 732 176.