One of the worst things about fibromyalgia, in addition to chronic pain and fatigue, is the way in which people who suffer from it risk many other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases and especially chronic headaches.
It is estimated that up to forty percent of people with fibromyalgia suffer from migraine or another type of persistent headache. But like fibromyalgia, it’s hard to know what causes your headaches. And like fibromyalgia, migraines are often misdiagnosed. In fact, some people who suffer from persistent headaches do not really suffer from migraines, but from a related condition called occipital neuralgia. So, what is occipital neuralgia? How is it related to fibromyalgia? What can you do to treat it?
What is occipital neuralgia?
Occipital neuralgia is a condition that causes chronic pain at the base of the skull. One often describes an electric shock or similar that is placed in the muscular discharge. Pain usually radiates from the back of the head and neck to the side of the head or behind the eye.
The root of the condition is found in the occipital nerves. These are nerve pathways from the back of the neck and back through the sides of the head on the scalp. But sometimes, injuries or inflammation of the muscles of the spine cause the tissue to begin to press on these nerves. This leads to a condition called neuralgia, where the nerves will send pain signals to the brain.
This causes symptoms that are similar to migraine, which makes it difficult to diagnose the disease. Doctors can make the diagnosis by performing a physical examination, pressing a finger at the base of the skull to see if the pain worsens. In addition, they can also give something called nerve block, which interrupts the interaction between the ribs, which can help show that neuralgia disrupts the site of the migraine.
But there are many different conditions that can lead to neuropathy, so it can affect people with fibromyalgia more often than the general population.
How is it associated with fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia puts you at risk of suffering a series of different conditions and some of them are also factors that contribute to neuralgia. For example, diabetes is a very common complaint among people with fibromyalgia. And the nervous pain caused by diabetes can contribute significantly to the risk of occipital neuralgia.
We also know that having fibromyalgia makes you more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disorder is one in which the body’s immune system begins to attack the body itself. This produces a painful inflammation in the body. And a common autoimmune condition is something called arteritis. Arteritis causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels. This inflammation can put pressure on the occipital nerves and may be the cause of the neuralgia.
And fibromyalgia also seems to affect the nerves. Fibromyalgia seems to activate the nerves to send pain signals to the brain. And it is possible that the same nervous connections may contribute to the symptoms of occipital neuralgia.
Therefore, there are many possible reasons why fibromyalgia may contribute to the condition, but you probably want to know if you have what you can do to treat it.
How can it be treated?
There are a number of things you can do to offer help immediately. The best thing you can do is rest a little. Moving the neck can aggravate the pain. Instead, sit down and apply a warm compress to the back of the neck. And massaging the muscles of the neck can help, like the basic painkillers available without a prescription.
Your doctor may also prescribe several medications that can help with the symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help relieve the muscles to tighten the nerves. They can also prescribe steroid injections to help reduce inflammation of the tissues.
In addition, the doctor can administer regular nerve block injections. These nerve blocks usually go away after a week or two, so you may need a series of treatments to help control the symptoms.
In combination with rest and warm compresses, these medications are usually enough to help resolve the worst symptoms of the disease.
So you suffer from neuralgia? Do you think it is related to your fibromyalgia? Let us know in the comments.