Best Ways To Sleep With Occipital Neuralgia

9 Best Ways To Sleep With Occipital Neuralgia

When experiencing pain, including occipital neuralgia, it’s always challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential to health and wellness, so learning the best ways to sleep with occipital neuralgia is necessary to reduce pain and headaches.

Occipital neuralgia is one of the minor common types of headaches. As a result, little is known about it besides the headache categories.

We can categorize what is known is that occipital neuralgia as a primary headache as opposed to a secondary headache and that the Occipital Nerve, a nerve located at the base of the neck that can become irritated, constricted, or otherwise aggravated, is what causes it.

What is Occipital Neuralgia?

diagram of occipital neuralgia

Pain from a damaged or inflamed nerve is known as neuralgia.

Occipital neuralgia or occipital nerve pain is a condition in which nerves that run through the scalp, known as occipital nerves, are inflamed or injured.

It leads to headaches and migraines that feel like severe, throbbing, piercing, or shock-like pain in the upper neck, the base of the skull, the back of the head or behind the ears, the eyes, or laterally across the eyes and lower forehead.

Light sensitivity, fuzzy vision, vertigo and dizziness, tooth pain, tension around the neck and shoulder muscles, and other symptoms are also common signs of occipital neuralgia. Occipital neuralgia pain is excruciating and discomforting and can impact all facets of your life, including how well you sleep.

Occipital Nerves come in three types:

  • the Greater,
  • Lesser, and
  • Third occipital nerves.

90% of Occipital Neuralgia cases affect the Greater Occipital Nerve, about 10% affect the Lesser Occipital Nerve, and a small percentage affect the Third Occipital nerves.

Even though Occipital neuralgia is rare, when it occurs, it is usually painful and is known for preventing people from sleeping. However, there are best ways to sleep with occipital neuralgia that may help you.

Causes Of Occipital Neuralgia

Neck or head trauma might result in occipital neuralgia. However, we may link many cases to chronic neck pain or unknown origin. Below are the possible causes of occipital neuralgia.

1. Compression of the greater and lesser occipital nerves, or the C2 and C3 nerve roots, results from degenerative changes to the cervical spine.

2. Injury to the greater or lesser occipital nerves.

3. C2 and C3 nerve roots being affected by tumors

4. Cervical disc disease

5. Osteoarthritis of the upper cervical spine

6. Blood vessel inflammation

7. Infection

8. Diabetes

9. Gout

9 Best Ways To Sleep With Occipital Neuralgia

Below are the best ways to sleep with occipital neuralgia

1. Make use of a Special Chiropractic Pillow For Occipital Neuralgia

One of the best ways to sleep with occipital neuralgia is to make use of a special chiropractic pillow for occipital neuralgia.

Chiropractic Pillow

When you lie down and place your head on a pillow, you are likely to put more pressure on the occipital nerve, which causes occipital neuralgia. This nerve is situated on the back of your head, close to the base of the skull.

There are several specialty pillows available, including pillows for occipital neuralgia.

Finding a pillow with depression for your head to rest in and a bump that supports your neck in the right way may help reduce specific nighttime pressures and maintain the normal alignment of your neck and spine.

This should ease some pain and facilitate restful sleep. To learn more about these unique chiropractic pillows, speak with a chiropractor.

2. Reduce caffeine consumption

Another best way to sleep with occipital neuralgia is by reducing caffeine consumption.

Excessive caffeine is a clear issue when dealing with occipital neuralgia and sleep. It will prevent you from falling asleep if that is your goal. Caffeine is known for causing sleeplessness when consumed excessively.

You don’t have to quit immediately; you might limit your intake after a specific time every day, preferably a few hours before night. Doing this ensures you won’t have any caffeine in your system when it’s time to go to bed. Therefore, you will have a better chance of falling asleep.

3. Practice yoga

Participating in yoga would be another approach to reducing stress. Yoga is an ancient practice that uses different body positions and stretches to build muscle and release tension. Many chiropractors recommend learning yoga as an addition to their musculoskeletal care.

Yoga helps to relax the body’s muscles, including the muscles in the back of the neck. It’s not advisable you take it up on your own, though. You need a qualified yoga instructor to guide you if you’re practicing yoga for specific medical reasons like occipital neuralgia.

4. Apply Chiropractic Massage to Occipital Neuralgia Treatment

Long-term relief from headaches like those brought on by occipital neuralgia is frequently achieved with chiropractic massage, a type of professional massage performed under the direction of a chiropractor (ON).

Sometimes, in the case of ON, the reason might be identified as tight neck muscles pressing against an occipital nerve.

Of course, releasing tension so the muscles may relax is one of the best ways to treat tight muscles. Regular chiropractic massage sessions help ease tension and tightness in the muscles surrounding the neck. It can help you sleep better and lessen some of the pain caused by occipital neuralgia.

5. Take Up Exercise

Incorporating a regular fitness regimen into your lifestyle is another long-term improvement you can make. First, exercise can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly and soundly, just like yoga and the other methods described above.

We recommend doing exercise at least three times a week.

6. Chiropractic Care

Another best way to sleep with occipital neuralgia is with chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments may realign vertebrae in the neck, a junction or pathway for many nerves, which relieves tension in and around the nearby muscles, including those that entrap the occipital nerves, although the precise mechanisms by which chiropractic care can relieve specific headaches are not fully known.

You can reduce some of your ON discomforts if you combine chiropractic treatment with your chiropractic massage routine. Better sleep results from less discomfort. It is also a long-term approach.

7. Make use of both cold and hot compresses

Keep in mind that irritated muscles can contribute to occipital neuralgia. Using cold and hot compresses can help reduce inflammation. Your Occipital Nerve should feel some pressure relief if the inflammation is reduced. The pain should decrease as soon as the pressure is released.

8. Eliminate some diet

Food allergies can occasionally cause issues like occipital neuralgia. If so, you ought to stay away from the specific allergens that are the cause of the issue. If you cannot identify the specific allergy causing your problem, try removing one allergen from your diet at a time to see if this brings any relief.

Chocolate, citrus fruit, cheese, alcohol, and coffee are common foods that can cause headaches. One of them may be causing you issues or may not.

9. Take a Hot Bath Before Going To Bed

A hot shower before bed not only eases tension, but if it becomes a habit, it also tells your body when it is time to sleep. You can include a shower in your nightly wind-down routine.


How Can the Occipital Nerve Be Calmed?

The Occipital Nerves should be equally responsive to the usual nerve-soothing methods, which include;

1. Easing the tension in the surrounding muscles

2. Reducing swelling in the surrounding muscles

3. Realigning the essential skeletal structure.

If you can perform those three things, it should help relieve your pain.

Is occipital neuralgia treatable with medication?

The hyperactive nerves can be calmed down with medication and three steroid injections, either with or without botulinum toxin. Surgery may not be necessary for some patients who respond well to a non-invasive therapy. Still, in some cases of patients who do not get relief, surgery may be necessary.


When you have occipital neuralgia, comfortably lying down might be difficult. As a result, many people with occipital neuralgia have difficulty sleeping. This guide discusses the best ways to sleep with occipital neuralgia to minimize pain. Ask your doctor if your occipital neuralgia pain is severe and affecting your daily activities.

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