Occipital neuralgia (ON) is characterized by severe pain in the occipital region due to an irritation of the occipital nerves. Traumatic injuries, mass or vascular compression, and infective and inflammatory processes could cause ON. The dislocation of a nerve/muscle/tendon, as can happen in malformations such as the Chiari I malformation (CIM), also can be responsible. Usually, headaches associated with CIM and ON are distinguishable based on specific features of pain. However, the diagnosis is not easy in some cases, especially if a clear medical history cannot be accurately collected. Determining if the pain is related to ON rather than to CIM is important because the treatments may be different.
Keywords: arnold chiari malformation; occipital neuralgia.