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Learn about your scalp numbness, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your scalp numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Scalp Numbness Checker

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Your Scalp Numbness May Also be Known as:
Can't feel head
Can't feel scalp
Can't feel skull
Head numbness
Head tingling
Loss of sensation on head
Loss of sensation on scalp
Loss of sensation on skull
Numb head
Numb scalp

Scalp Numbness Symptoms

Numbness of the scalp is an odd symptom that should be taken seriously. All or part of the skin of the head may feel tight, numb, and unresponsive to touch.

One might think that losing feeling simply means that there is no pain. But when any part of the skin goes numb, the lack of feeling is actually a very uncomfortable sensation. Scalp numbness can be a sign of nerve damage from injury, surgery, or disease, and the numbness can spread to other parts of the head and face. If accompanied by tingling or a pins-and-needles sensation, the numbness may be called paresthesia or neuritis.

Characteristics:

  • Very uncomfortable numbness in all or part of the scalp, sometimes with tingling, shooting, electric-like pain along the top and back of the head.
  • Sharp, burning, tingling pain and numbness of the scalp surrounding a lesion on the surface of the skin.
  • Seizures that occur along with scalp numbness symptoms.
  • Blurred vision or other visual disturbances, such as seeing double.
  • A "bull's-eye" rash anywhere on the body, with head, face, and scalp numbness.
  • Loss of feeling on one entire side of the head.
  • Fever, neck stiffness, and severe pain.
  • Some degree of paralysis.

Who is most often affected by scalp numbness symptoms?

  • People over the age of 50 who had a case of chickenpox in childhood.
  • Anyone who has had surgery or injury to the forehead or scalp, with resulting damage to the occipital nerves
  • Anyone who has sustained a tick bite.
  • Anyone who has been exposed to a person with bacterial meningitis.

Is scalp numbness serious?

  • Temporary numbness following minor surgery or injury is probably not serious but should be brought to the attention of your medical provider.
  • Scalp numbness with seizure or other unexplained symptoms should be examined and treated as soon as possible.
  • Symptoms such as neck stiffness, severe headache, or paralysis along with the scalp numbness must be seen in the emergency room immediately.

Scalp Numbness Causes Overview

Many conditions can cause the symptom of scalp numbness.

Circulation (blood flow) issues:

  • Often lying down on the back with the head turned to one side, as when watching television.
  • Stress, anxiety, and tension, which can cause spasms in the veins and arteries and cut off blood flow to the skin of the scalp.

Trauma:

  • Head injury or surgery, including facelift surgery and surgery to the occipital nerves in the scalp.

    • May result in severe blood loss, which will cause loss of sensation in the scalp.
    • May result in cut or damaged nerves in the head, which will leave the scalp without feeling.
  • Pinched nerves in the scalp or neck where nerves are trapped by bone, muscle, tendon, or cartilage. This cuts off the transmission of signals and causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Pinched nerves are primarily due to:

    • Obesity.
    • Traumatic injury.
    • Repetitive strain injury.

Certain bacterial illnesses, which can affect the nerves in the scalp.

  • Bacteria transmitted by the bite of an infected tick (Lyme disease).
  • Bacterial infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

Viral illness:

  • Some viruses affect the nerves, especially in an adult who had chickenpox as a child (shingles).

Nervous system illnesses:

  • Epilepsy, which interferes with normal nerve functioning.
  • Multiple sclerosis, which causes destruction of the fiber that covers the nerves.

Rare and unusual causes:

  • Tumors growing on the meninges, which is the covering of the brain (meningioma). If a tumor grows near the base of the skull, it may interfere with nerves that transmit sensation to and from the scalp.

Top 9 Scalp Numbness Causes

  1. 1.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent permanent nerve damage. Your doctor will diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome with a physical exam and special nerve tests. Treatment includes resting your hand, splints, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. If symptoms do not improve with these less invasive treatments, your physician may recommend surgery.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, pain in one hand, weakness in one hand
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Lyme Disease

    Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of a tick, which needs to latch on for a few days to transmit the bacteria. This infection can affect the skin, but more dangerously, the nervous system.

    You should see your doctor in the next few days to discuss symptoms and get treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, muscle aches, irritability, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Non - Allergic Rhinitis

    Nonallergic rhinitis is a medical condition which involves chronic (persistent) sneezing and having a runny, congested nose without any apparent cause. While the symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis are similar to those of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), there is no allergic reaction. Nonallergic rhinitis can be triggered by certain odors, weather changes, medications, or foods.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by avoiding triggers of the symptoms, and also taking steps to relieve the symptoms once they appear. Symptom relief can be helped by rinsing nasal passages using a squeeze bottle (included in saline kits), blowing the nose regularly, getting an air humidifier for home use, and staying hydrated. You should not overuse nasal decongestants, as this may actually worsen your symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    congestion, mucous dripping in the back of the throat, runny nose, frequent sneezing, eye itch
    Symptoms that never occur with non-allergic rhinitis:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Carotid Artery Dissection

    A carotid artery dissection is the tearing of the walls of the carotid arteries, which deliver blood to the brain from the aorta. This is a medical emergency.

    Call 911 immediately. Diagnosis is done by CT or MRI, and treatment involves anti-clotting medication for at least 3-6 months. Surgery may be necessary for those who can't get this medication.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, headache near one temple, numbness on one side of body, steady headache, history of headaches
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

    Scalp Numbness Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having scalp numbness.

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  5. 5.Brain Tumor or Mass

    A brain lesion can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Nonetheless, they are a potentially serious issue and should be discussed with a physician.

    You should seek care today, since your symptoms indicate that something serious might be going on. In order to diagnose a brain lesion, imaging must be conducted. It is likely you will be sent to a brain specialist.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability
    Symptoms that always occur with brain tumor or mass:
    hidden: any focal neuro sign
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  6. 6.Temporomandibiular Joint (Tmj) Dysfunction Disorder

    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear, and it connects the jaw to the side of the head. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition which can be caused by excess tension in jaw mucles, faulty alignment between upper and lower teeth, arthritis in the joint, or injury of the jaw or face.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This is a complex condition to treat, because the causes are not always clear. Treatment may include resting the jaw with a soft diet, pain medications, and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, history of headaches, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, pain in the back of the neck, jaw pain
    Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibiular joint (tmj) dysfunction disorder:
    pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when sick collect excess mucus and can become infected.

    You should visit a physician or urgent care facility in the next day or two. It’s likely your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. In the mean time, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain & fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck, no longer produces adequate levels of hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential for many bodily functions including breathing, heart rate, and metabolism.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Hypothyroidism is a complex condition that is usually treated with hormone replacement therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Chemotherapy - Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

    Chemotherapy has many effects on the body. Some types of chemotherapy can cause irritation of the nerves in ones hands and feet, resulting in symptoms like pain, numbness or tingling.

    You should discuss your symptoms with your oncologist.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    distal numbness, muscle aches, pain in both hands, numbness, pain in both feet
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Scalp Numbness Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate scalp numbness treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if, along with scalp numbness, there is:

  • Fever, headache, stiff neck, and severe pain.
  • Numbness and weakness throughout one side of the body, along with sudden severe headache and difficulty walking and speaking.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Any unexplained scalp numbness, especially if there are other symptoms such as headache, fever, incoordination, or seizure.

Scalp numbness remedies that you can try at home:

  • Being careful of how you lie down, and varying positions so that the pressure is not constantly on just one part of your scalp.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Scalp Numbness

  • Q.Is your scalp numbness getting better or worse?
  • Q.Is your scalp numbness constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our scalp numbness symptom checker.

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Scalp Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced scalp numbness have also experienced:

    • 7% Headache
    • 4% Facial Numbness
    • 3% Scalp Pain
  • People who have experienced scalp numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 40% Less Than a Day
    • 23% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced scalp numbness were most often matched with:

    • 2% Lyme Disease
    • 1% Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • 1% Non - Allergic Rhinitis

Scalp Numbness Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having scalp numbness.

Take a quiz