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Face and Jaw Surgery

Lower back of the head pain

05/22/2007

Question:

I have had this pain in the lower back left side of my head for a couple of weeks now. The pain is a constant dull ache and gets severe at times sort of like a pulsating/sharp pain and it radiates to the side of the head, face and forhead area on the same side(left side). The pain started with a bad headache following a cold. I saw my MD about a week ago, she examined my eyes and the muscles in the area, then she told me that it`s most likely a cold virus that has caused neuritis in that area. She put me on Motrin for a week and it has not helped . When i take motrin the pain subsides a bit, but when the effect of the medication goes away the pain is back. I can`t even sleep on my left side anymore because it becomes painful and therefore effecting my sleep. please tell me what you think it is and what i should do?

Answer:

You may have cervicogenic (i.e. originating from the neck) headache also known as occipital neuralgia. Sometimes it develops spontaneously and occasionally it follows an injury such as trauma or whiplash. If you are having significant unremitting pain, you may benefit from an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medicine) + steroid (cortisone like medicine) in the area of the left occipital nerve (back of the head) by a pain medicine specialist.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University