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What Can Cause Head Numbness?

By Madeleine A.
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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Head numbness can be caused by nerve trauma, stroke, and seizure disorder. In addition, the herpes virus, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders can cause numbness of the head. This condition is also referred to as head paresthesia and is characterized by diminished sensations in the head and possibly a tingling or a "pins and needles" sensation.

A head injury can cause nerve damage, which can lead to head numbness. Injuries to the head can cause significant blood loss, causing diminished sensations in the head as well. Not only can an injury or head trauma cause numbness, they can also cause a concussion, a severe jarring of the brain. Concussions can cause severe headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and excessive sleeping.

Spinal cord injuries can also cause head numbness and need to be evaluated and treated as soon as they occur. These types of injuries can damage certain spinal cord nerves and contribute to head numbness. Conditions affecting these cervical nerves include herniated or degenerative disc disease, meningitis, and multiple sclerosis. When these medical conditions are present, other symptoms typically accompany numbness in the head, as it is seldom the only manifestation of a significant medical condition.

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, can affect facial nerves causing excruciating pain, itching, and head numbness. It is typical for the head numbness of the shingles virus to occur unilaterally, or on just one side. Treatment for shingles includes prescription antiviral medications, anti-itch medications, and either over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription analgesics.

Epilepsy or seizure disorder can contribute to numbness in the head. Because seizures disrupt blood flow through the neck artery, they may cause numbness in the face and head. Epilepsy can be treated with anti-seizure medication and sometimes with a special epilepsy diet. Although not all healthcare providers recommend this diet, it has shown to decrease the incidence of seizures.

Positional numbness of the head can be caused by exerting pressure on blood vessels. This can contribute to a decrease in circulation and subsequent numbness. The result can be numbness of the face, head, and neck. In addition, headache, pain in the shoulder, and neck pain can also occur from circulation impingement. Although these symptoms can be alarming, they are generally mild and temporary.

When numbness in the head or any other part of the body persists, a healthcare provider should be consulted. Typically, numbness in the head is not serious, but it can sometimes indicate a serious condition. With the help of diagnostic tests and a physical examination, the healthcare provider may be able to determine the cause and recommended a treatment plan.

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Discussion Comments
By anon939731 — On Mar 15, 2014

I was in gym and I used parallel. After that I washed my head and neck with cold water. I have paresthesia in my head. I am worried about it.

By fBoyle — On Sep 11, 2013

I have head numbness when I'm having an anxiety attack and when I get migraines.

I'm not sure why this happens but my doctor said that it's normal to have these kinds of symptoms from anxiety. My theory is that when I'm having an anxiety attack, I start to breathe very quickly. I don't get enough oxygen, I think this is why my head becomes numb.

When I calm down, the numbness slowly goes away.

By SteamLouis — On Sep 10, 2013

@fify-- Temporary numbness can happen with injuries, especially if a nerve is affected but it shouldn't last long. If the numbness doesn't go away, please see a doctor. Ask your parents to take you if you need to.

Numbness isn't usually a symptom of a concussion. A concussion usually causes headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. If any of these other symptoms show up, then you definitely need to go to a hospital.

By fify — On Sep 10, 2013

I got hit in the head with a volleyball at school today. It hurt at first but now it just feels numb. I went to the school nurse and she put some ice on it. I hope the numbness goes away soon.

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