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Occipital neuralgia

Ivan Garza, MD
Section Editor
Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Neuralgia is a form of neuropathic pain that is characterized by the following features [1-3]:

Paroxysmal, brief (seconds to a few minutes), shock-like or lightning-like pain that follows a peripheral or cranial nerve distribution and can spread to adjacent areas in the course of the attack.

By definition, no objective neurologic deficits are found in the distribution of the affected nerve. (See "Overview of craniofacial pain".)

Attacks can be provoked by nonpainful stimulation (allodynia) of trigger points or zones.

A refractory period follows attacks; the duration of the refractory period shortens as the disease progresses.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 25, 2017.
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