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Keywords:

  • occipital;
  • neuralgia;
  • stimulation;
  • headache;
  • neuropathic pain

Abstract

Objective.  The aim of this study was to examine the hypothesis that subcutaneous occipital stimulation influences pain due to occipital neuralgia.

Materials and Methods.  Between 2001 and 2004 eight patients with intractable occipital neuralgia were referred to our center. Their records were reviewed. Each patient was interviewed over the telephone. They were all offered a trial of stimulation using a percutaneous lead over 1 week. If they achieved 50% pain reduction a permanent lead was implanted. The impact of occipital stimulation was measured by pain score, analgesic requirements, and employment status.

Results.  Seven proceeded to a permanent stimulator. There was a reduction in the visual analog score postimplantation in five of the seven patients. The total quantity of opiates taken after implantation showed a marked reduction. Of the seven who had a permanent implant two acquired full-time employment.

Conclusion.  Occipital neuralgia is a useful and reversible treatment for intractable occipital neuralgia.