Greater occipital nerve

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Nerve: Greater occipital nerve
Gray800.png
Posterior primary divisions of the upper three cervical nerves. (Great occipital nerve labeled at center top.)
Gray's p.923
Innervates semispinalis capitis, scalp
From C2

The greater occipital nerve is a spinal nerve, specifically the medial branch of the dorsal primary ramus of cervical spinal nerve 2. This nerve arises from between the first and second cervical vertebrae, along with the lesser occipital nerve. It ascends after emerging from below the suboccipital triangle beneath the obliquus capitis inferior muscle. It then passes through the trapezius muscle and ascends to innervate the skin along the posterior part of the scalp to the vertex. It innervates the scalp at the top of the head, over the ear and over the parotid glands.

Clinical relevance[edit]

Disorder of this nerve is one of the causes of cervicogenic headaches, referred to as occipital neuralgias. A common site, and usually misdiagnosed area of entrapment for the greater occipital nerve is at the obliquus capitis inferior muscle.[1]

Occipital pain management[edit]

Some innovations in pain management technology utilize neurostimulation to target tension headaches that originate from the occipital nerve. Most people experiencing tension headaches will notice increasing intensity with time and pain originating in the back of the head (occipital) moving to the front of the head (supraorbital), and by targeting specific parts of the brain in that pathway, migraine relief can be achieved.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cho JC, Haun DW, Kettner NW, Scali F, Clark TB (July 2010). "Sonography of the normal greater occipital nerve and obliquus capitis inferior muscle". Journal of Clinical Ultrasound 38 (6): 299–304. doi:10.1002/jcu.20693. PMID 20544865. 
  2. ^ Migraine Treatment Technology Explained http://www.reedmigraine.com/treat/conditions[unreliable source?]

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