Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia - Positions and Techniques
Health Care,  Body System

Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia – Positions and Techniques

Read Time:6 Minute, 45 Second

Chronic pain in the back of the head and neck caused by the condition of occipital neuralgia can seriously interfere with sleep and general well-being. Finding the best sleeping positions and techniques becomes essential for pain relief and improved sleep quality if you are dealing with the difficulties of sleeping with occipital neuralgia.

This article will discuss the best positions to sleep in while experiencing occipital neuralgia, as well as suggestions for pillows and relaxation methods. You can reduce discomfort and improve your ability to get a good night’s sleep by using these techniques, which will improve your daily functioning and quality of life.

What is Occipital Neuralgia

Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia - Positions and Techniques

Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that causes pain in the back of the head, upper neck, and behind the ears that is sharp, stabbing, or electric-shock-like, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Usually, only one side of the head is affected.

The cervical spinal column, or neck, is where the greater and lesser occipital nerves emerge. They penetrate the scalp by passing through the muscles on either side of the head. The pain manifests when these nerves become inflamed or irritated.

The problem is that occipittal neuralgia can be concealed by migraine headaches, despite the fact that it is a rare condition. The number of occurrences could be much higher than what has been identified. The occipital nerve becomes inflamed as a result of migraine headaches, which can affect the back of the head on either one or both sides.

Instead of being diagnosed with occipital neuralgia, the person with the headache is given a diagnosis of a migraine that is irritating the great occipital nerve.

Read More:

Why Does Occipital Neuralgia Make Sleeping Difficult?

Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia - Positions and Techniques

Numerous factors, including occipittal neuralgia, can make it difficult to fall asleep. The Occipital Neuralgia Foundation lists a long list of signs and symptoms that may affect how well a person sleeps, some of which are listed below.

  • Pain is experienced in the neck at the base of the skull
  • Pain spreads to the scalp and possibly the forehead
  • Constant or intermittent pain in the head
  • Shooting pain located in the head
  • Scalp gets tender and hurts when touched
  • Pain occurs above the eyebrows
  • The nerve root is pinched due to injury, irritation or disease
  • Tight neck muscles entrap the occipital nerve, so the neck is painful

People who don’t get enough sleep are probably going to feel sleepy during the day, and sleep deprivation can make pain worse. Additionally, due to the pain and muscle stiffness, the neck’s range of motion is restricted. Sleeping is difficult because of the neck and scalp tenderness and pain, but there is a suggested sleeping position.

Tips for Sleeping With Occipital Neuralgia

If you have occipital neuralgia, there are some things you can do to help you sleep well at night. If the pain persists or is affecting your ability to sleep, try these more natural solutions before visiting your ENT physician.

  • In the fifteen minutes before bed, apply a cool or cold pack to the back of your head and neck. Any pain or inflammation will be lessened by the cold.
  • Make use of a supportive pillow that is comfortable for your neck and head. If you haven’t already, think about experimenting with a cervical pillow.
  • When sleeping anywhere other than on your back, elevate your head with bolstering pillows. Your neck’s nerves experience less stress when you elevate your head.
  • Before going to bed, stay away from caffeine and alcohol as they can make it difficult for you to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Is There a Best Way to Sleep With Occipital Neuralgia?

Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia - Positions and Techniques

With occipital neuralgia, there isn’t just one best way to fall asleep. Depending on the severity of your condition and the drugs you are taking, what is best for you may change. But by elevating their head while they sleep and using a cervical pillow, many people experience relief. For some people, it’s most comfortable to sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees. Try various things until you discover what suits you the best.

If you experience occipital neuralgia, discuss sleep hygiene techniques with your ENT physician. They can take a variety of actions to help you feel better and live a better life.

Why is Quality Sleep So Important for Occipital Neuralgia?

Lack of sleep has negative effects on your health, exacerbates chronic pain, and even impairs your body’s capacity to heal and repair itself. It also makes you cranky and less productive. It has even been used as a form of torture because sleep deprivation is such a serious condition. Sleep is essential to ending the cycle of pain for those with occipital neuralgia. For recovery, sleep is essential because it gives your body and brain a chance to rest.

Unfortunately, occipital neuralgia patients frequently experience difficulty falling asleep at night due to their pain. Finding a comfortable sleeping position can seem impossible when you are experiencing symptoms like dental pain and tenderness in your scalp. The discomfort of lying down or attempting to relax can be brought on by vertigo and neck pain, which can also cause nausea and vomiting. Sharp pain at the back of the skull or behind the eyes can be disruptive and keep you awake for many nights.

Sleep is one of the few things that can help you recover, even though occipital neuralgia can make it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep. As a result, it is crucial that you take action to enhance your sleep quality. These methods can be applied to treat OC pain before, during, and after sleeping.

Can a Pillow Help You Get to Sleep When You Have Occipital Neuralgia?

Best Way to Sleep with Occipital Neuralgia - Positions and Techniques

Frequently, severe pain and discomfort are brought on by the point where a pillow makes contact with your occipital nerve. But nowadays, there are a lot of specialty pillows available.

You might discover that using a pillow with a depression for your head to rest in and a bump to support your neck will keep your neck and spine in the proper alignment while also relieving some nighttime pressure. However, for more detailed information, you should speak with a chiropractor.

Is Chiropractic Care for Occipital Neuralgia Effective?

We touched on this topic briefly above, but if you still need more assurance, we’ll give you an example of a 2003 scientific case study that provides proof that chiropractic care can be beneficial. The same study also mentions that ON cannot be treated in a way that is consistently guaranteed. Nevertheless, as is the case with most medical endeavors, it is best to exhaust conservative treatments (such as chiropractic care) before switching to more invasive treatments like surgery.

In any case, a chiropractor, a specialist in the musculoskeletal system, can treat many other forms of neck pain and can undoubtedly assist in the diagnosis of the problem.

Duration of Occipital Neuralgia Flare-Ups

Back of the head and neck pain are symptoms of occipitital neuralgia. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of the condition, the length of a flare-up can vary significantly. With the right medical care, most flare ups will go away in 1-2 months. However, in some circumstances, symptoms might endure for more than a year. It’s crucial to see a doctor if you experience any occipital neuralgia signs or symptoms because prompt diagnosis and treatment can lessen the frequency and intensity of flare-ups.


The inflammation or irritation of the occipital nerves can result in occipital neuralgia, a painful condition. It is best to sleep on your back with a pillow that supports your neck and keeps you from moving side to side in order to reduce the pain brought on by this condition. This condition may also be treated with medications, injections, and on rare occasions surgery. In order to prevent further inflammation or irritation of the occipital nerves, it is best to avoid doing anything that might do so.

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.