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Head numbness causes

Numbness in Head: Why Does It Happen?

What causes head numbness?

Numbness, sometimes referred to as paresthesia, is common in arms, legs, hands, and feet. It’s less common in your head. Most of the time, head paresthesia isn’t cause for alarm.

Read on to find out more about the most common causes of head numbness.

Numbness is often associated with other sensations, such as:

  • tingling
  • prickling
  • burning
  • pins and needles

People who have head numbness may also have difficulty feeling touch or temperature on their scalp or face.

Because so many conditions can cause head numbness, many other symptoms can occur at the same time. For instance, numbness in the head caused by the common cold may be accompanied by nasal congestion, sore throat, or a cough.

Seek medical help if you experience head numbness along with:

  • a head injury
  • numbness in other parts of your body
  • numbness in an entire arm or leg
  • weakness in your face or other parts of your body
  • confusion or difficulty speaking
  • difficulty breathing
  • vision problems
  • a sudden, unusually painful headache
  • loss of bladder or bowel control

Numbness on one side of your face can also be a sign of a stroke. Learn how to identify the symptoms of a stroke in order to act quickly.

Numbness has a lot of potential causes, including illnesses, medication, and injuries. Most of these conditions affect the nerves responsible for sensation in your scalp and head.

There are several major nerve clusters connecting your brain with different parts of your face and head. When nerves are inflamed, compressed, or damaged, numbness can occur. Reduced or blocked blood supply can also cause numbness. Some causes of head numbness include:

Autoimmune disorders

Diabetes can cause permanent nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy. Numbness is also a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system.

Sinus conditions

  • allergic rhinitis
  • common cold
  • sinusitis


  • anticonvulsants
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • illicit drugs and alcohol


  • cluster headaches
  • eyestrain headaches
  • migraines
  • tension headaches


  • encephalitis
  • Lyme disease
  • shingles
  • tooth infections


Injuries directly to your head or brain such as concussions and head trauma can cause numbness if they damage nerves.

Other conditions

  • brain tumors
  • high blood pressure
  • poor posture
  • seizures
  • stroke

Waking up with numbness in your head can be a sign that you’re sleeping in a position that restricts blood flow to a nerve. Try sleeping on your back or on your side with your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position. If on your side, a pillow between your knees can help the alignment of your back.

Choose the right pillow based on whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper.

Numbness can occur unilaterally on one side of your head. Sometimes, the entire right or left side of your head is affected. In other cases, it’s just one part of the right or left side of the head, such as the temple or the back of your head.

Some of the most common conditions that can affect one side of your head include:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • infections
  • migraines
  • MS

Find out what may be causing numbness on the left side of your face.

People with anxiety sometimes report numbness or tingling in their head. For some, a panic attack might trigger numbness and tingling in the scalp, face, and other areas of the body.

While little is known about the link between anxiety and head numbness, it likely has to do with the body’s fight-or-flight response. Blood flow is directed towards areas that can help you fight a threat or escape it. Without adequate blood flow, other parts of your body may be left feeling temporarily numb or tingly.

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms and medical history. For instance, they might ask when the numbness began and whether other symptoms appeared around the same time.

Your doctor may also prescribe one or more of the following tests to help identify the cause of your head numbness:

  • blood tests
  • neurological exams
  • nerve conduction studies and electromyography
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • nerve biopsy

Since many conditions cause head numbness, it may take some time to identify what’s causing your symptoms.

Once you get a diagnosis, treatments usually address the underlying condition. For instance, if your head numbness is caused by diabetes, treatment will focus on stabilizing blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and insulin treatments.

Over-the-counter medication may be used to treat colds and mild to moderate headaches.

If posture is causing head numbness, try changing your position, using ergonomic aids, or moving more often. Certain exercises, including deep breathing, may also help with posture.

Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage may improve blood circulation and relieve head numbness.

You should contact your doctor if your head numbness appears after you start taking medication.

Head numbness has many possible causes, including illness, medication, and injuries. Causes of head numbness like common cold, headaches, or sleeping positions aren’t cause for alarm.

Numbness in your head usually goes away with treatment. You should talk with a doctor if you have concerns and if your head numbness is interfering with your day-to-day activities.

Causes, Treatment, and Related Conditions


Experiencing tingling or pins-and-needles in your head can be unsettling. These sensations can affect neighboring parts of your body, too, such as the face and neck. You might also feel numbness or burning.

Known as paresthesia, the tingling sensation is common in the limbs (arms, legs) and extremities (hands, feet). You’ve probably experienced temporary paresthesia after sitting with your legs crossed for too long or falling asleep with your arm behind your head.

Paresthesia can occur when a nerve sustains continued pressure. When you remove the source of pressure, it often goes away. Injuries or illnesses that damage the nerves can also cause it.

Head paresthesia has a wide variety of causes. It can be temporary (acute) or ongoing (chronic). Read on to find out more about tingling in the head.

Most of the conditions that cause tingling in the head aren’t serious. In rare cases, head tingling can be a sign of a serious medical problem.

Colds and sinus infections (sinusitis)

The sinuses are a series of connected cavities behind your nose, cheeks, and forehead. Infections such as colds, flus, and sinusitis can cause the sinuses to become swollen and inflamed. Enlarged sinuses can compress nearby nerves, leading to head tingling.

Migraines and other headaches

Migraines cause intense throbbing or pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head. Changes in blood flow and pressure in the head may result in tingling. A migraine aura occurs before a migraine. It can cause sensory symptoms, such as tingling, typically in the face.

Other headaches that may trigger head tingling include:

  • tension headaches
  • cluster headaches
  • eyestrain headaches

Stress or anxiety

Stress can sometimes lead to tingling in the head. Stressful situations activate your body’s fight-or-flight response. Stress hormones, such as norepinephrine, direct blood to the areas of the body that need it most. As a result, you might experience tingling or a lack of sensation in other areas.

Head injuries

Injuries that impact the base of the skull can damage nerves inside the brain. This can lead to symptoms such as facial paralysis, numbness, or tingling. Injuries directly to the nerves responsible for the sensation to the head may also cause tingling or numbness in the injured area.


Diabetes is a common metabolic disorder associated with high blood sugar. Over time, untreated diabetes can lead to nerve damage. Although cranial nerve damage is less common, older adults who have diabetes can develop it. It can cause numbness in the face and other areas of the head.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

MS is a chronic, degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. Tingling and numbness are common symptoms. They can affect the face, neck, and other parts of the head.

Epilepsy and seizures

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Certain types of seizures, such as simple partial seizures, can cause tingling in the face.

Infections that cause nerve damage

Bacterial and viral infections can affect the nerves in the head, triggering tingling and numbness in the head, face, and neck. Some of these conditions include:

  • hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Lyme disease
  • shingles
  • encephalitis

Autoimmune diseases that cause nerve damage

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. Sometimes, the nerves in the brain are affected, leading to head or face tingling. Some autoimmune conditions that cause head tingling include:

  • fibromyalgia
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • lupus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjögren syndrome

Drugs and other substances

Tingling or numbness in the head can be a side effect of some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs or anticonvulsants. Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can also cause head tingling.

Neurodegenerative conditions

Neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, are characterized by neuron damage or loss. Some of these conditions can cause tingling in the head.

Other conditions

A number of other conditions can cause head tingling, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • hypothyroidism
  • poor posture
  • stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • electrolyte imbalances
  • brain tumors

The location of your head tingling may help your doctor determine its cause. Other symptoms can also provide clues. Keep a record of all your symptoms to share with your doctor.

Here are some specific symptoms of head tingling and what could be causing them:

Tingling in head on one side only

Certain conditions may cause tingling on only one side of the head. Tingling can be on different areas on the left or the right side of the head, including the top of the head, back of the head, ear, temple, or face.

The following conditions can cause tingling on only one side of the head or face:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • diabetes
  • infections that affect the facial nerve
  • migraines and other headaches
  • MS
  • stress or anxiety

Tingling in the head and face

Tingling in the head can occur alongside tingling in the face on one or both sides. Conditions that can cause tingling in the head and face include:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • brain aneurysm
  • brain tumor
  • cold and sinus infections
  • diabetes
  • infections that affect the facial nerve
  • migraines and other headaches
  • MS
  • stress or anxiety
  • stroke

Tingling on one side of the face could be a warning sign of a stroke. A stroke is life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention. Knowing the signs of a stroke can help you act quickly.

Tingling in the head and neck

When a nerve in the neck becomes irritated, it can cause pain and tingling in the neck or head. Herniated discs and bone spurs can result in a pinched nerve. This can lead to neck tingling, known as cervical radiculopathy.

Other sources of head and neck tingling include:

  • arthritis
  • migraines and other headaches
  • MS
  • stress or anxiety

Tingling in the head and dizziness

When head tingling is accompanied by dizziness or light-headedness, it could indicate:

  • diabetes
  • low blood sugar or low blood pressure
  • ear infections and other ear conditions
  • fainting
  • head injuries
  • infections
  • medication
  • panic attacks
  • stress or anxiety
  • stroke or TIA

Head paresthesia is often temporary. Depending on the cause, it could go away on its own. Otherwise, home remedies and lifestyle changes might help improve your symptoms.

Your day-to-day posture and stress level can contribute to head tingling. Try the following:

  • Get more sleep.
  • Reduce sources of stress in your life where possible.
  • Make time for relaxing activities, such as meditation or walking.
  • Avoid repetitive movements.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Seek treatment for an underlying health condition.

Treating the underlying condition often relieves head tingling. Make an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms to identify the source of the head tingling.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications can treat colds, sinus infections, and other infections that are causing your head tingling. Other conditions, such as diabetes and MS, require a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and alternative therapies.

If you suspect the tingling is a side effect of any medication you’re currently using, speak to your doctor. They can find another medication that will work for you or see if you’re able to discontinue use. Don’t suddenly stop taking any medication without the OK from your doctor.

General treatments for head tingling include topical creams, medications, and physical therapy in some cases. Alternative therapies that can help include:

  • acupuncture
  • biofeedback
  • massage

Tingling in the head is sometimes a sign of an underlying condition that needs medical treatment. See your doctor if head tingling is getting in the way of your everyday activities or if it isn’t going away. Your doctor can determine its cause and find the right treatment for you.

If you don’t already have a primary care doctor, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.

Although tingling is less common in the head, it can occur. It’s often not a sign of a serious medical condition. With treatment, tingling in the head usually goes away.

Why is my head numb? Reasons why you need to urgently go to the doctor | Healthy life | Health

Everyone is already used to the fact that a person's arms and legs go numb. But when a feeling of numbness and a familiar tingling occurs in the head, it surprises many. At the same time, this condition can be considered normal, but in some cases, doctors are alert and conduct a complete examination. When it is necessary to sound the alarm, was told by Irina Ryabokon, Ph.D., a neurologist at the Institute of Child and Adult Neurology and Epilepsy named after St. Luke.

Causes of the problem

“There are a number of major nerve clusters that connect your brain to different parts of your face and head. When the nerves are inflamed, compressed, or damaged, numbness can occur. Reduced or blocked blood supply can also cause numbness,” says Irina Ryabokon.

The reasons why numbness of the head can develop, the neurologist says, are varied. So, for example, if such a symptom appeared due to a cold, headaches, or because of an uncomfortable sleeping position, then there is no need to worry. But if a person suffers from some kind of disease, takes a number of drugs or has suffered an injury, you need to be wary. A head injury or concussion can cause numbness if the nerves are damaged.

“By the word “numbness”, which actually means loss of sensation, patients often understand various sensations, such as crawling, burning, tingling (so-called paresthesias). To find out the cause of such sensations, it is extremely important to determine what exactly is meant - a decrease, lack of sensitivity or paresthesia, ”explains Ryabokon.

The neurologist notes that with paresthesias, sensitivity can be preserved, sometimes even increased. Less common are situations when paresthesias are combined with a violation of sensitivity in a given area (feeling of touch, pain sensitivity - a prick, a feeling of vibration, and others).

“Paresthesias (without desensitization) can have multiple causes, and the cause may not always be determined. For example, they can be side effects of certain drugs or are associated with strong excitement, anxiety. Especially when changing the localization of sensations, ”the neurologist notes.

But a violation of sensitivity in a certain area of ​​the head or face already requires a detailed examination. “The cause may be vascular disorders, nerve damage, brain disease. The unilateral and persistent nature of the disorders requires a visit to a doctor and a detailed examination,” she says.

Quite serious diseases can cause such a symptom. “Diabetic neuropathy can cause permanent nerve damage. Numbness is also a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system,” says the specialist.

In addition, in the list of what may indicate the appearance of numbness of the head, the following items :

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • cold;
  • sinusitis;
  • brain tumor;
  • arterial hypertension;
  • stroke;
  • seizures of epilepsy;
  • use of prohibited substances;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • taking anticonvulsants.

"You should see a doctor immediately if you develop head numbness after starting medication," says the neurologist. The specialist also notes that the list of causes of numbness in the head can be supplemented with headaches and cluster pains (severe pain syndrome), tension pains, migraines, encephalitis, Lyme disease, shingles, and dental infections.

“Numbness of the head is sometimes only on one side. Or only the temple or the back of the head may suffer. Typically, such conditions signal the following diseases: Bell's palsy, infections, acute migraine, ”the doctor notes.

Physiological state

“Often a feeling of numbness of the head occurs during sleep. When you wake up with a numb head, it may be a sign that you are sleeping in a position that restricts blood flow to the head, ”the neurologist notes. Here you can try to cope with the problem of sleep correction. “Try in this case to sleep on your back or on your side, putting your head and neck in a position that will not bring discomfort. If you are lying on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees, this will help straighten your back,” advises Irina Ryabokon.

How can a neurologist help?

In the presence of such a symptom and the exclusion of the physiological causes of its development, it is worth visiting a specialist. You should contact a neurologist. He will examine you and ask about your symptoms and medical history. He may also order one or more of the following tests to help determine the cause of head numbness: blood tests, nerve conduction and electromyography, MRI, CT scan, nerve biopsy.

Since quite a few conditions cause head numbness, it may take some time to determine what is causing the characteristic symptoms. It is not worth leaving the situation unattended, because you can lose time, and then you will have to be treated longer and more difficult.

There are contraindications. Be sure to consult your doctor.

Why does neck numbness occur? Causes, accompanying symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.


1. Causal factors2. Malfunctions of the cervical spine 3. Migraines4. Hypertension5. VVD

A neck or nape lesion is considered a frequent complaint of patients suffering from problems with the cervical spine for a long time. However, doctors say that such manifestations can be factors indicating quite dangerous diseases. In medical practice, many diseases have been described that can provoke numbness of the back of the head, therefore, if such symptoms occur, a series of diagnostic examinations will be required.

Causative factors

The primary source of head numbness and neck cramping is thought to be prolonged sitting at a computer, typical manual procedures and driving. Quite often, the symptoms of such a plan are caused by carrying a weight on the shoulder. In this situation, the right area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe head or its left side goes numb, based on the place of loading. However, problems arise not only with the detrimental effects on the shoulders and neck. Muscular disorders in most patients are manifested as a result of psychological and emotional stressful situations. Consider several factors that affect the formation of numbness.

Malfunctions of the cervical spine

The presented lesion is considered the most common provocative case of the described symptoms.

This is due to the blockage of the cervical region as a result of contraction of the spinal muscles. Usually numbness is localized on the right or left side of the head. Patients with this disease experience painful aching sensations during turns back, forward and sideways. Discomfort can radiate even to the frontal area. Diagnosis is carried out using MRI of the cervical spine.

Doctors note that there is no fever or other disorders. Excessive load on muscle structures appears as a result of prolonged physical exercise (especially in an untrained person), sleeping in the wrong position, and sudden head movements.


When numbness of the neck begins to appear, the causative factor may be in the functional lesion of the head joints, characteristic of ordinary migraine. The presented blocking effect quite often exacerbates the symptoms or can even provoke severe attacks. You can get rid of manifestations, discomfort, frequency of seizures and their duration by getting rid of the cause, which MRI of the brain helps to find. In some situations, the approach of seizures is previously indicated by the period of the prodrome, which includes the following symptoms:

  • increased level of weakness in the body;
  • nausea;
  • feeling of pressure in the head.

According to statistics, approximately 20% of patients develop a special aura - visual perceptions in a specific area of ​​the visual field. They are able to bend, shine and shimmer. Patients worsen with physical activity. At this time, they try to find a place where it is quiet, dark and cool. In girls, migraines can occur during menstruation. Headache attacks often appear in the first days of bleeding, but can form at a later date or during ovulation.


High blood pressure is a dangerous disease that may not show any symptoms for quite a long time.

In a certain group of people, this disorder is characterized by fatigue, headache, dizziness and lack of sensation in the back of the head. There are cases when swelling of the facial area is formed, “wadding” in the legs, insensitivity during touching. Most patients do not complain of any manifestations.

Prolonged hypertension can lead to dangerous complications. In particular, high blood pressure worsens the course of atherosclerosis and related disorders. Over time, it leads to the development of other diseases. The initial and advanced stages of atherosclerosis are diagnosed during CT angiography of the cerebral vessels.


Vegetovascular dystonia is a clinical conclusion that combines several disorders that are associated with the functioning of internal organs. The symptoms of the disease are varied. They are formed separately and in combination with signs of other somatic abnormalities. For a correct examination, the patient will need to undergo instrumental diagnostics.

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