Last updated on January 12th, 2018
Do you experience or have experienced scalp numbness? Have you ever wondered what scalp numbness mean? Scalp is a troubling lack of sensation in the scalp that can spread to regions of the head and face. You should acknowledge that there are many causes that could lead to scalp numbness among them being severe health conditions or infections. Go through this article to discover more on the causes and symptoms of scalp numbness as well as effective remedies.
Numbness in the scalp or head is usually alarming condition for a severe condition or a disease. It can signify the presence of conditions such as head injuries, epilepsy, Lyme disease among other conditions. It is always advisable to seek immediate medical attention once the scalp numbness occurs. It is always very difficult to diagnose the cause of scalp numbness but here are some conditions and diseases that can help you identify what may be the cause of the numbness in your scalp
- 1 What causes scalp numbness?
- 1.1 1. Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- 1.2 2. Epilepsy or Seizure Disorder
- 1.3 3. Occipital neuralgia Scalp
- 1.4 4. Pinched or Compressed Nerve
- 1.5 5. Multiple Sclerosis
- 1.6 6. Meningitis Scalp Numbness
- 1.7 7. Scalp or Spinal Cord Injury
- 1.8 8. Lyme disease and Scalp Numbness
- 1.9 9. Cerebral Vascular Accident (Stroke)
- 1.10 10. Positional Numbness in Head
- 1.11 11. Other causes
- 2 Symptoms of scalp numbness
- 3 Treatment for numbness in scalp
What causes scalp numbness?
Here are the most common reasons for numb feeling in head:
1. Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Shingles or herpes Zoster is among the diseases that can cause numb scalp. It is caused by similar infection that causes chickenpox. The involved virus is known as varicella zoster. This infection is more prevalent among people aged 50 and above but can also be experienced in childhood. Those who previously had chickenpox have high risk of developing Herpes Zoster. According to Healthyhorns.utexas.edu “The first sign of shingles is often burning, sharp pain, tingling, or numbness in your skin on one side of your body or face.” When shingles is present on the head, some symptoms such as visual disturbances and scalp numbness may be experienced. This infection usually vanish within few weeks but severe shingles should be treated.
2. Epilepsy or Seizure Disorder
This is another condition that may make head feels numb. Epilepsy or seizure disorder is a common neurological disorder and can affect children and adults of both gender. “Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well.”[epilepsy.com]
Due to the fact that epilepsy is accompanied by several seizures, during such seizures a person may experience shaking. Other symptoms include scalp numbness or head numbness. The remedies for this condition involve treatments and live style changes.
3. Occipital neuralgia Scalp
Occipital nerves transmits feelings at the back of the head and top of the head to the brain. “The two occipital nerves make their way through muscles at the back of the head and into the scalp. They sometimes reach nearly as far forward as the forehead, but do not cover the face or the area near the ears” [hopkinsmedicine.org]. Any irritation anywhere along the course of the two occipital nerves can lead to shooting, electric or tingling pain likewise to that of trigeminal neuralgia. This can also lead to scalp numbness and occipital headache. The main causes can be pinched nerve root in the neck or prior injury or surgery to the nerve or your scalp.
4. Pinched or Compressed Nerve
Pinched nerve or Scalp nerve pain is due to too much pressure on the nerve by the surrounding tissues. In some circumstances, the tissue may be a borne, muscles, tendons or cartilage. According to Mayoclinic.com, conditions that may lead to compressed or pinched nerve include obesity, injury, stress from repetitive job, hobbies and sporting activities and rheumatoid. So when the nerve in the scalp is pinched or compressed, decreased sensation, numbness and tingling in head may occur. Other symptoms will include muscle weakness, tingling, and pins and needles sensation.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
This is a progressive neurological disease that is caused by the destruction of myelin sheath covering nerve fiber. Usually communication from your brain to the body muscles and organs occur through this sheath, so its damage will definitely interfere with the neurological communications. This miscommunications will occur alongside many symptoms including scalp or head numbness or numbness and abnormal sensation in other parts of the body. Other symptoms include impaired sensation, paralysis, fatigue, depression and blurred vision.
6. Meningitis Scalp Numbness
This one is a very dreadful disease that can easily lead to death. Meninges is the membrane that cover your brain and spinal cord. When this membrane get infected, the resultant disease is refered as meningitis. This disease should be treated as soon as its symptoms are alleged. It is believed that bacterial meningitis is very contagious and the symptoms are also dangerous, they include fever, neck stiffness, numbness or pain in the scalp or head as well as death.
7. Scalp or Spinal Cord Injury
Trauma to the whole head or spinal cord is another terrible cause of scalp numbness. The numbness will basically be due to the damage or injury to the nerve on the scalp or due to the decreased sensation due to intense blood loss. Injury to the spinal cord can also lead to numb feeling in head that may not relieve over time.
8. Lyme disease and Scalp Numbness
This is a bacterial infection due to bite from infected tick. The major symptom to look at is what is refered to “bull`s eye” rash within the bite. Other related symptoms include face and scalp numbness or numbness in head. The resultant symptoms may appear after several months or years after the initial infection. This disease is very challenging to diagnose unless the diagnosis is done by medical expert.
9. Cerebral Vascular Accident (Stroke)
Obstruction of arteries to your brain or bleeding into the brain due to damaged artery may lead to cerebral vascular accident or what is well known as stroke. This may result to limited blood supply to brain leading to death of the brain cells. This is a serious condition that should be treated in emergency setting. Its symptoms include extreme numbness on the head and inability to speak logically among other serious symptoms.
10. Positional Numbness in Head
If you sleep or watch your Television while you are lying on your back with your head twisted to one side, blood flows may be restricted through the artery on your neck. Decreased blood circulation to the neck and head can lead to numbness in head or scalp. This numbness will stay until the position of the head is changed or twisted to the other side.
11. Other causes
Apart from the above causes of scalp numbness causes, here are more reasons for your scalp numbness:
- Whiplash Scalp
- Stress and Anxiety
- Facelift Operation
Symptoms of scalp numbness
Due to the fact that scalp numbness has got wide range of causes, early or symptoms occurring during scalp numbness will depend on the causes. Usually the diagnosis for scalp numbness is challenging unless done by medical professional. Scalp numbness can just stay for few minutes and disappear but can be due to something very serious. Here are some of the common symptoms occurring alongside scalp numbness:
- Itching, prickling skin and inflamed red rash on the scalp skin
- Small-fluid filled blisters
- Pain or bruised feeling
- Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
- Loss of consciousness or awareness.
- Temporary confusion
- A staring spell
- Psychic symptoms
- Speech and swallowing difficulties
- Bladder problems
- Tingling sensation in head scalp
To diagnose numbness in scalp, a neurologist can do evaluation of the resultant symptoms, the onset of the symptoms and location of the numbness. They can also carry out physical examination including electromyography, nerve biopsy, and blood test as well nerve condition, to do proper diagnosis. All these are carried in the attempt to define the underlying causes for proper medication
Treatment for numbness in scalp
To treat scalp numbness, you will have to have a prior knowledge on the primary causes. The treatment for scalp numbness usually depend on the underlying causes and the severity of the associated symptoms. More importantly, scalp numbness is often related to serious or life-threatening conditions that will only demand treatment from qualified medical professional. Some of the treatments they may prescribe include:
- Surgery to repair damaged nerve endings
- Medications for blood pressure
- anti-inflammatory medications
- anticoagulant drugs and oral medications
- creams, acyclovir for herpes or shingles
- lifestyle and diet changes
- physical and psychological therapy
Numbness usually dissolve of its own but can be a symptom of serious underlying conditions. Anything from diagnosis to treatment should be done by a medical experts. Scalp numbness may have severe symptoms including death and hence should be given prompt medical expert.
Our Sources of References
- Numbness and tingling on scalp: http://www.healthboards.com/boards/brain-nervous-system-disorders/23823-numbness-tingling-scalp-3.html
- Numbness After Scalp Injury: https://www.realself.com/question/scalp-injury-doctor-needed
- Numbness in Head: http://www.just-health.net/Numbness-In-Head.html
- Scalp Numbness Treatments: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptoms/scalp_numbness/treatments.htm
- Numbness: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/numbness/basics/causes/sym-20050938
- Causes of Head Numbness: http://www.livestrong.com/article/151353-causes-of-head-numbness/
- Numbness/itching sensation of scalp: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Neurology/numbness-itching-sensation-of-scalp/show/296885
- Numbness and tingling in scalp: http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=9&m=771384