Occipital neuralgia is a rare type of chronic headache disorder. It occurs when pain stems from the occipital region and spreads through the occipital nerves. The occipital nerves run from the top of your spinal cord to your scalp.
Unlike headaches or migraines, occipital neuralgia can be triggered quickly, even with a simple touch like brushing your hair. The most severe part of the attacks is brief, with intense, sharp pain lasting only a few seconds to a few minutes. Migraine pain, which is also severe, lasts much longer than pain from occipital neuralgia.
It’s estimated that occipital neuralgia affects about three out of every 100,000 people every year.