Occipital Neuralgia – Understanding and managing your chronic headache or migraine
Migraines impact an astounding 4.9 million Australians, with nearly one in every four households having an affected family member. This prevalent condition results in an estimated annual economic burden of $35.7 billion, accounting for both treatment costs and work-related losses (1).
Neurologists diagnose and treat migraines with multiple medications and complementary treatments like massage, physical therapy, and acupuncture are also available and may help. However, up to a third of migraine patients do not achieve full relief from these traditional methods.
A common underlying issue for many chronic migraine and headache sufferers is neuralgia. This condition, likened to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist, involves the compression of superficial nerves in the head and neck. Frontal, temporal and occipital neuralgias are often underdiagnosed but can be pivotal triggers for persistent headaches and migraines.
Lipi has a specialised interest in the diagnosis and treatment of neuralgia-associated migraines. She commences her approach with an in-depth patient history and physical examination, subsequently performing local anaesthetic blocks to pinpoint the compressed nerves. For certain patients, targeted Botulinum toxin injections may also be beneficial. Those diagnosed with neuralgia might be candidates for surgical interventions, designed to decompress and release the affected nerves. Such surgeries are validated for their safety and effectiveness in multiple peer-reviewed journals. For those with extensive nerve damage, alternative surgical avenues might be explored.
Recently, Lipi travelled overseas to undertake clinical observerships with pioneering surgeons in the field of headache deactivation surgery, often termed migraine decompression or occipital neuralgia decompression surgery. She has visited and trained with experts such as Dr. Bahman Guyuron, Dr. Ziv Peled, Dr. Gerald Austen, Dr. Lisa Gfrerer and Drs. Saja and Giorgio Pietramaggiori. Furthermore, she is a member of the Migraine Surgery Society.
If you believe neuralgia might be triggering your headaches or migraines, Dr. Shukla welcomes you to arrange a consultation.