Surviving migraine without medication is difficult. Treating occipital neuralgia without medication seems downright close to impossible. Now, it looks like I’ll have to do both.
A headache specialist finally serves my area. I typically prefer female doctors, but every headache specialist I’ve ever encountered has been male. This one was no different. What was different, however, was I didn’t have to drive over three hours to see him. And, he came up with a treatment plan (that didn’t involve a million medications I’ve already tried) within the first visit.
Unfortunately, it was a treatment plan I can’t commit to following.
Dr. G. believes I may have occipital neuralgia, which is complicating my migraines and triggering them more often than they would otherwise be triggered. However, the only way to diagnosis the problem is to treat it, and see if the treatment works.
I’ve actually been down this path before. In 2008, a pain management doctor believed the same, and gave me a single occipital nerve block. It didn’t help, and so we didn’t repeat it. Dr. G. believes we may have given up too early or that my migraine (which lasted from mid-2007 to mid-2009) was too entrenched to shake. A nerve block now might provide some relief.
But, I can’t take it, at least not without putting efforts to conceive on hold for at least two months. The nerve block includes a steroid, which is contraindicated in pregnant women. The steroid remains active in the body for up to two weeks. If I need two, they’d be given at least three weeks apart. Therefore, Dr. G. won’t do it unless I agree not to get pregnant for at least two cycles.
I’ve decided I’m not going to do that. So, I’ve been digging for natural treatment options that could relax the neck muscles and perhaps provide some relief. I’ve also been trying not to spend hours and hours at a time reading or typing with my head at a downward tilt. (Apparently, that aggravates the nerve.)
So far, I’ve read that massage, heating pads, and meditation may help relax the area and calm the nerve. I’m interested to hear if any of you suffer from occipital neuralgia, or migraines triggered by occipital neuralgia. Do you have any tricks for relieving the pain? What works for you?