What causes tingling in the head?
When a person experiences a tingling sensation, they usually are experiencing paresthesia. Paresthesia occurs when a nerve is damaged or under pressure for a long time.
For example, a person may wake up with a tingling, limp arm because they slept on it all night. In most cases, the tingling goes away quickly and there are no lasting effects.
A person may also experience tingling in their head, or head paresthesia. Although this sensation may be concerning, many potential causes of a head paresthesia do not cause lasting damage.
Keep reading for more information on the possible causes of tingling in the head, as well as when to see a doctor.
1. Sinus and respiratory infections
Sinus infections, colds, flus, and other infections cause a person’s sinuses to become irritated and inflamed.
As the sinuses enlarge, they can put pressure on surrounding nerves. When this occurs, it can trigger head paresthesia.
Over-the-counter cold medications, warm compresses, or steam can help reduce inflammation and relieve the pressure on the nerves. Once the pressure is released, the tingling sensation will likely resolve.
2. Anxiety or stress
When a person feels anxious or is under a lot of stress, they may feel a tingling sensation in their head.
Stress triggers the release of norepinephrine and other hormones. These are responsible for directing blood flow to the areas of the body that need it most.
As a result, extra blood is sent to the head, which may cause a person to feel a sensation of tingling.
3. Headaches and migraine
Other common causes of tingling include certain types of headache and migraine.
Cluster, eyestrain, and tension headaches may all trigger a tingling sensation in the head due to changing pressure and blood flow.
A migraine aura may occur before a migraine episode. A tingling sensation is a common part of migraine auras.
Diabetes occurs when the body can cannot produce insulin or cannot use it properly. Insulin is responsible for processing sugar in the blood. When there is not enough insulin, a person’s blood sugar levels can become too high and cause a variety of symptoms.
Without treatment, diabetes can lead to nerve damage. People with diabetes tend to experience nerve damage in the outer extremities, such as the feet.
However, it is possible for people to experience nerve damage in the face and head, which may be a source of tingling.
5. Substance misuse and medications
A person who uses recreational drugs or drinks excessively may experience a tingling sensation in the head.
In addition, some prescription medications — such as anticonvulsants and chemotherapy medications — may also cause a tingling sensation.
6. Injuries to the head
If a person injures the back of their head, they may damage the nerves inside the brain. As a result, they may feel a tingling sensation in the head or face.
They may also experience facial paralysis, wherein the muscles in the face do not work.
Other head injuries may damage the nerves in the outer part of the head. If this occurs, a person may also feel a temporary sensation of tingling or numbness in the affected areas.
8. Simple partial seizures
Simple partial seizures can affect people with epilepsy. When a person has a simple partial seizure, they do not lose consciousness, as the seizure occurs in only one part of the brain.
Instead, someone having a simple partial seizure may experience numbness or tingling that lasts for a few minutes. The tingling may be in the head or face.
9. Autoimmune conditions
Autoimmune conditions attack parts of a person’s body. In some cases, autoimmune conditions attack the nerves and surrounding tissues. If this occurs, a person may experience tingling in the head.
Some autoimmune conditions that may cause tingling in the head include:
10. Occipital neuralgia
Two occipital nerves run on both sides of the head. They from the neck to the top of the head, stopping at about the forehead.
These nerves are responsible for the feelings and sensations on the top and back of the head. If something irritates either of them, it can cause shooting pain or a tingling sensation in the head.
Occipital neuralgia is a condition that can and cause tingling.
11. Other infections
Though not common, some infections can cause nerve damage in the head, which can lead to a tingling sensation.
Some bacterial or viral infections that can cause nerve damage include:
A stroke occurs when a person loses the blood supply to their brain for a short time. The loss of blood causes a loss of oxygen, which can damage the brain.
Symptoms of a stroke include:
- loss of function
- vision problems
- tingling or numbness in different areas of the body, including the head
- drooping on one side of the face
13. Trigeminal neuralgia
The trigeminal nerves run on both sides of the face and give sensation to the forehead, cheeks, teeth, and jaw.
Sometimes, the trigeminal nerve can become irritated or compressed, which can cause numbness or tingling in the face.
14. Other causes
Less commonly, some other conditions may cause a person to feel tingling in the head. Some of these are benign, while others are potentially dangerous.
These additional causes include:
When to see a doctor
A person may not need to see a doctor if they experience tingling in the head on occasion. If the tingling comes and goes quickly, is associated with a cold or other acute infection, or comes along with a headache, it will typically go away without treatment.
However, if the tingling persists or causes interruptions to a person’s life, they should speak to their doctor as soon as possible. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a stroke or seizure should seek emergency medical attention.
Whenever a person is concerned about their symptoms, it is always best to speak to a doctor for a full diagnosis.
In most cases, tingling in the head is not a major cause for concern.
However, since there are some more serious underlying conditions that may be responsible, anyone experiencing persistent or chronic tingling in the head should speak to a doctor.
Tingling in Head: 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.
Causes of head tingling or numbness
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:
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.
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, 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:
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:
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, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, are characterized by neuron damage or loss. Some of these conditions can cause tingling in the head.
A number of other conditions can cause head tingling, including:
Specific symptoms and causes
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:
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
- infections that affect the facial nerve
- migraines and other headaches
- stress or anxiety
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:
- migraines and other headaches
- stress or anxiety
Tingling in the head and dizziness
When head tingling is accompanied by dizziness or light-headedness, it could indicate:
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:
When to see your doctor
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 Brain Tingling?
A few years ago, I watched a YouTube video called “Virtual Barbershop.” It was one of those viral videos that attempted to be somewhat educational. It featured (somewhat silly) barbershop sounds recorded with a special microphone that made the sounds appear as if in 3-D, to demonstrate how the brain localizes sounds.
Although it was meant to be funny and a bit of a gag video, I noticed that some of the 3-D sounds actually relaxed me. In fact, I realized it was the same calming feeling I got when watching, of all things, Bob Ross’ “Joy of Painting” videos. Curious, I watched some of Bob’s YouTube videos, and sure enough, his soothing voice, brushing and tapping sounds, and calm, deliberate actions had me nearly falling asleep.
By some happy little accident, I noticed a “recommended” video in the YouTube side bar called “Oh, such a good 3-D ASMR video.” I immediately felt relaxed upon hearing the sounds in the video, and even felt a small “tingle” in my head. That’s how I discovered that I had ASMR.
ASMR? It sounds like some horrible affliction—an acronym for a weird, one-in-100 million condition. “Hi, I’m Deirdre, and I have ASMR.” What is it—and why is my brain tingling?
What is ASMR?
ASMR, short for autonomous sensory meridian response, is a pleasant feeling caused by certain auditory or sensory stimuli. ASMR enthusiasts call these sensations “tingles,” or “brain bubbles,” since they are mostly felt in the head and down the spine, and produce a sense of deep relaxation. Common triggers for ASMR tingles include tapping sounds, hair brushing, massage, whispering and more.
ASMR has a large online presence, particularly on YouTube—a search of “ASMR” yields 5.1 million results. ASMR channels are curated by “ASMRtists,” who produce videos designed to induce tingles. Many focus on simple, relaxing sounds, or ramble in a soft whisper to the viewer. Others feature first-person views of elaborate role-plays, such as cranial nerve exams, applying makeup, or ear cleaning (a personal favorite). Still others focus on guided meditation, positive affirmations and anxiety relief, which are relaxing even for those who don’t experience ASMR. Of course, as with most things on the Internet, some ASMR videos can get very strange.
In spite of its admittedly weird nature, I appreciate how my ASMR helps me unwind from the stresses of graduate school. However, as a neuroscience graduate student, I was curious about what’s going on in my brain when I get ASMR. Why would listening to a whispering voice or watching someone fold towels cause a tingly feeling? Why do only some people feel relaxed when they hear or see triggers?
Craig Richard, a professor in the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Virginia’s Shenandoah University, also asks these questions. He is the founder of the ASMR University website, and host of the ASMR University Podcast. Richard created ASMR University to “help gather and share what is known about ASMR, and also to inspire others to expand the understanding of ASMR through research and publications.”
Indeed, despite ASMR’s growing popularity, there have only been three peer-reviewed studies of the phenomenon, and the main focus has been on social studies. Research has barely begun into what goes on in the brain during ASMR. But here’s what might be happening.
A relaxed body map
Sometimes, you need to hear trigger sounds to get ASMR tingles. When sounds reach the brain, they are processed in the auditory cortex. But, this happens for all sounds we hear—what is it specifically about tapping or whispering that triggers the tingles?
The answer may lie in another brain area that helps with body awareness and sensation, called the somatosensory cortex. This strip of brain tissue is essentially a “body map.” Each area of the body is represented along the strip, from head to toe.
Richard explains, “The sensory experiences (tactile, audio, visual) happening inside any one person will be going to different parts of the sensory cortex. The surprising thing is how this wide array of sensations can all result in a similar perception of tingles and relaxation.”
Further, there is a lot of cross-talk between brain regions. Specifically, ASMR might involve a “conversation” between the auditory and somatosensory cortex. The information about the sounds may travel to the somatosensory cortex, and activate certain body-associated regions as if they’re actually being touched. For example, watching an ASMR video featuring ear cleaning, the sounds of “scratching” in your ear may be activating the “ear” portion of the somatosensory cortex, making it seem as though you’re actually experiencing the act.
That might explain why I got tingles during the “Virtual Barbershop” video—it created a 3-D space in which I “felt” the sounds affecting different parts of my body.
Mirror, mirror in my brain
Perhaps you can’t stand whispering, but instead get tingles from watching massage videos. Rest assured, there’s another possible explanation for your tingle trigger.
The brain has cells called “mirror neurons,” which are located in higher-order areas of the brain. Mirror neurons activate when watching someone doing a motion or task, and are thought to mimic the movements that are seen. It’s as if you’re performing the movement in your mind, but not physically. Unsurprisingly, mirror neurons also connect to the “body map” and motor areas of the brain.
“This network of neurons subtly recreates an experience in your brain as you watch it,” said Richard. “In other words, you are activating a similar set of neurons as the person [who] is actually experiencing the action. Your brain is ‘mirroring’ the action it is seeing.”
Richard explained that mirror neurons might also be a component to learning and empathy. “Just like when you wince when you see someone cut their finger, viewers of ASMR videos may be mirroring the relaxation being simulated in the video.”
So, in the case of a massage ASMR video, it’s possible that watching massage movements activates mirror neurons, making it seem as if you were receiving a massage. Or, if you watched someone performing precise, meditative hand gestures, mirror neurons would make it seem like you were performing the calming gesture. That, combined with the connection to the body map, could possibly explain how watching such actions triggers tingles and relaxation.
Why do tingles feel good?
Whether they’re caused by an auditory-sensory conversation, or mirror neurons, or something else entirely unknown, tingles share one common factor—they feel really good, and produce a feeling of relaxation. This is caused by release of chemicals in the brain.
“It is likely that neurochemicals like dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and/or serotonin are involved in the sensation of ASMR,” Richard says.
For instance, dopamine is one chemical that is associated with reward. Specifically, it’s associated with food, sex, and drugs. However, it’s also associated with “frisson,” or chills that happen when listening to music. Taken together, dopamine might be released when listening to relaxing sounds, creating ASMR tingles. Another chemical, oxytocin, is associated with social bonding. In ASMR role plays, the ASMRtist often creates a sense of personal intimacy with the viewer, often with close contact and detailed attention to the viewer. This personal attention may trigger an oxytocin release in the brain, which again might be related to tingles.
“If someone has a biological change which alters the production of these chemicals or alters the sensitivities of the receptors for these chemicals, then that could explain some aspects of the biology of ASMR and the varied responses to ASMR triggers,” explained Richard.
Similarities to other sensations
ASMR shares similar characteristics with other body sensations. For instance, gently running fingers down someone’s arm or back can cause similar sensations to tingles. Tingles can also feel like the sensations you get from scalp massagers. For the curious, these are great ways to mimic tingles if you can’t experience ASMR from videos.
In a recent studyby UK researchers Emma Barratt and Nick Davis, around 6 percent of participants who had ASMR also had synesthesia, the ability to “hear” numbers or “see the color” of a sound. However, there was no significant association between ASMR and synesthesia. Paradoxically, ASMR may be linked to misophonia, or the inability to tolerate certain sounds. For example, chewing sounds cause ASMR in some people, but others can’t stand it. Anecdotally, those with ASMR experience tingles with certain peoples’ sounds, but when others make the same sounds, it disgusts them. It could be that the same neural mechanism that causes tingles could also operate in reverse, so to say, and cause discomfort when hearing certain sounds.
Like many uncommon brain conditions, “ASMR is starting off as a poorly understood phenomenon which will require neurobiological studies to give it wider validity and deeper understanding,” Richard says.
Future use of ASMR
Despite the current lack of studies on ASMR, many researchers are just now getting involved in understanding this phenomenon. For instance, Richard’s ASMR University is dedicated to helping solve the puzzle of what chemicals are involved, and to recruiting people with and without ASMR to help study its effects.
But, why should we care about some weird tingling sensation? What difference does it make if certain people’s brains are wired that way? Many believe that ASMR has the potential to be used as part of therapies for mental health or stress management. Indeed, in the Barratt and Davis study, 98 percent of participants watched ASMR videos to relax, 82 percent to help them sleep, and 70 percent to reduce stress. The same study found an increase in “flow,” or concentration during a task.
Richard agrees. “[The Barratt and Davis study] helps to support the hope that ASMR could someday be approved as a medical treatment to help people with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and/or chronic pain—but there is still a lot of research and clinical testing that needs to be done,” he says.
For now, though, I’ll take pleasure in the fact that I don’t know why my brain tingles.
Richard encourages readers to take an ASMR survey at this link.
What can cause a tingling sensation on the scalp?
A tingling, prickling, or pins-and-needles sensation on the skin is called paresthesia. A wide range of factors can cause paresthesia on the scalp.
In most cases, paresthesia on the scalp is temporary. People may also feel itching, burning, or numbness.
If it lasts for a long time or comes back regularly, paresthesia may result from an underlying nerve disorder or nerve damage.
This tingling sensation on the scalp can arise from a wide range of factors, including:
Paresthesia can also be a side effect of some medications.
This tingling is not always unpleasant. ASMR is a pleasurable tingling sensation that begins in the scalp and moves down the back.
Here, we explore the wide range of factors that can cause a tingling sensation on the scalp. We also describe how a doctor makes a diagnosis and possible treatments.
ASMR is a sensory experience, in which an auditory or visual trigger stimulates a tingling sensation on the skin.
This tends to start in the scalp and move down the neck into the back, following the line of the spine and spreading into the arms, as well. Many people describe it as a pleasurable or relaxing experience.
Not everyone experiences ASMR. For those who do, watching online videos can stimulate the sensation and help with relaxation or sleep.
Skin irritation or a sensitive scalp
A common, temporary cause of a tingling scalp is irritation. A trigger for this irritation is often a chemical in a product, such as:
- laundry detergent or dyes
- heat treatments for the hair
- hair dye or bleach
- highly fragranced shampoos or conditioners
- other cosmetic products
Also, when too much shampoo or conditioner remains on the scalp, this can cause tingling and itching, so it is important to rinse the hair thoroughly.
Some people have more sensitive scalps than others. This sensitivity may relate to having fewer oil-producing glands on the scalp, making it drier. Or, it may result from having more sensitive nerve endings.
When a doctor can find no other clear cause of scalp tingling, sensitivity may be to blame.
A range of skin conditions can cause tightness, itching, and a tingling sensation on the scalp. These symptoms often accompany a rash, and they may appear before the rash begins.
Some of these skin conditions include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis. This causes swollen, red patches of skin that may have white- or yellow-crusted scaling. It can also cause itching and scalp tingling. In infants, doctors call seborrheic dermatitis “cradle cap.”
- Scalp eczema. Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema causes itchy, dry, thick patches of skin. It is more common in children than adults, and it often affects the nape of the neck.
- Psoriasis. One form, called plaque psoriasis, causes red patches of skin with silvery scales to develop on the body, and scalp psoriasis is a common manifestation.
Medication side effects
Certain medications can cause paresthesia, a tingling sensation on the skin, as a side effect.
This does not tend to be serious, and it does not usually require people to stop using the medication. However, consult a doctor if the tingling is extremely bothersome.
Labetalol, a beta-blocker that treats high blood pressure, can cause a mild, temporary tingling sensation on the scalp or skin. This usually occurs when a person starts taking the medication.
Some medications that treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, also have this side effect. For instance, lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) caused paresthesia in 2% of participants who took it during a clinical study.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause symptoms in areas with hair, such as the scalp. The infection can cause hair loss, in addition to scalp tingling and pain.
Topical and prescription antifungal treatments are available, including antifungal shampoos.
Head lice or mites
Head lice are small insects that live in a person’s hair and feed on blood from their scalp. Their bites can be very itchy.
One of the early signs of head lice is a tingling sensation on the scalp or the feeling of something moving under the hair. A person may also notice itching and painful red areas of skin where the lice have fed.
People can sometimes see the lice or their eggs near the base of hair shafts. Lice have six legs and are black or whitish gray as adults, while the eggs may appear as small white or yellow dots.
Lice are most common among children. They can pass from person to person and are especially likely to spread in kindergartens, day care centers, and other schools.
Alopecia (hair loss)
Alopecia is a blanket term for conditions that cause hair loss. When hair follicles are damaged or irritated, it can cause itching or tingling, as well as areas of hair thinning.
When tingling, discomfort, or pain in the scalp results from hair loss, the symptom is called trichodynia. It can result from conditions such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
Anxiety or stress
A tingling sensation, or paresthesia, in the scalp is often the result of issues with the nerves, and some people experience nerve-related symptoms due to anxiety or stress.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, panic attacks can cause paresthesia. This may relate to how blood flow changes in response to psychological stress and may also be linked with stress hormones.
Other symptoms of a panic attack include:
- a rapid heart rate
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
At the onset of a migraine episode, a person may have a sensory experience called an aura. The sensations may be visual, auditory, or tactile and can include tingling or prickling sensations on the skin.
Visual auras are the most common type, occurring in more than 90% of people who experience auras during migraine episodes. The next most common type of aura involves a pins-and-needles sensation.
Called a paresthesia aura, this sensation travels outward from its origin and generally affects one side of the face or body. People may also experience numbness afterward.
Shingles is a medical condition caused by the varicella zoster virus.
It occurs in people who have previously had chickenpox, which results from the same virus. After chickenpox subsides, the virus lies dormant in the body and can reactivate years later, causing shingles.
Shingles is characterized by a blistering rash. This tends to develop on one side of the face or body — including the scalp — and often on a single strip of skin. A person may experience itchiness, pain, or tingling on the skin before the rash develops.
Shingles also causes the following symptoms:
The nerves relay sensory information from the skin to the brain. When this signal is interrupted, people may experience unusual sensations on their skin.
A tingling sensation can arise when there is pressure on the nerves, such as when a person sits in a position that causes their legs to “fall asleep.” This is paresthesia, and it goes away when the pressure on the nerve is relieved.
A pinched nerve or nerve injury can cause paresthesia that lasts longer or returns frequently.
Medical conditions that affect the nerves can also cause tingling and numbness in various parts of the body.
One example is multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic nerve condition. In people with MS, paresthesia most often occurs in the arms, legs, or face. Learn about the early signs of MS here.
Some people with diabetes also experience tingling and numbness. Diabetes can cause small blood vessel damage that leads to nerve damage.
The medical term for this nerve damage is diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and it usually affects the feet, arms, or legs, but it can arise in other parts of the body.
Fibromyalgia is an example of a chronic pain syndrome, and it causes a person to have a heightened response to pain. Fibromyalgia also commonly involves paresthesia.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- stiff muscles in the morning
- poor sleep
- cognitive difficulties
- widespread pain without an obvious trigger
A doctor will first ask a person about their symptoms, such as when the symptoms appeared and what makes them worse or better. They will also perform a physical exam to look for rashes, bites, burns, and other signs.
If the doctor suspects that a skin condition is causing the tingling, they may take a small sample of skin from the scalp to examine under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy.
They may also collect some hairs and examine these for signs of affected growth, the presence of lice, or other signs of damage.
If the doctor suspects a condition that affects the nerves, they may perform other tests and assessments.
Treatments for scalp tingling depend on the underlying cause.
It may help to use products that do not contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Switching to a soft-bristled brush and avoiding heat treatments can also help.
Avoid products that contain the following irritants:
- sodium lauryl sulfate
- sodium laureth sulfate
The labeling for many products refers to sodium laurel and sodium laureth sulfates as SLS.
A doctor can advise about the best treatment when paresthesia results from an underlying condition, such as those involving the nerves or skin, migraine episodes, or infection.
There are many causes of a tingling sensation on the scalp. For most people, this is a temporary symptom, but if it lasts for a long period or arises frequently, it can indicate an underlying medical condition.
Most causes are treatable, and the treatments vary widely.
Head tingling in
Weird Sensation in the Head, Tingling Sensation in the Head: What Is the Cause?
If you are worried about a weird feeling in your head that comes and goes or tingling on the scalp that feels unusual, seek help from expert doctors experienced in diagnosing and treating every type of headache. Recurring paresthesia and unfamiliar headaches can be symptoms of some life-threatening ailment and must be thoroughly investigated. The specialist doctors at the Advanced Headache Center come up with the most targeted treatment options to relieve these sensations by addressing their causes to improve your quality of life.
There are so many conditions that can cause a weird feeling in the head. There is a sensation of tightness, weight, or pressure in the head that ranges from mild to severe and comes and goes. Most conditions that cause tingling in the head are not serious and may result from tension headaches, sinus, and ear infections. Abnormal or recurring severe pressure may be a sign of some underlying medical problem, such as a brain tumor or aneurysm in rare cases.
Also known as paresthesia, it is just like a burning sensation. You may experience the same pin and needle sensation when your foot falls asleep or feel numbness in the head. It is a rare occurrence, but some people go through it on a regular basis. Some people experience it all the time. You must consult an expert headache doctor, as knowing about this condition and its causes are essential for getting the most appropriate treatment.
What Causes a Weird Sensation in the Head?
You may experience a weird feeling in the head that comes and goes due to several reasons. It can result from staying in the same position for too long, which constricts the blood to certain areas in the body.
Some other causes of tingling sensation in the head include:
- Injury to nerve or nerves
- Intense pressure on the nerves
- A negative effect of certain medications
- Vitamin B12 or other vitamin deficiency
- Abnormal levels of certain electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, or calcium
- A spinal injury such as herniated disc that puts pressure on the spinal nerves
- Mercury poisoning
- Sinus infection such as flu or cold
The tingling or head paresthesia can also result from certain medical conditions such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Atherosclerosis – plaque buildup in the blood vessels which leads to the restriction of blood flow
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Seizures and seizure disorders like epilepsy
- Hypothyroid (underactive thyroid)
- Brain tumors
- Shingles (herpes varicella-zoster virus)
- Autonomous sensory meridian response or ASMR
Most of these medical conditions are related to the circulation of blood that affects the nerves. Lack of blood flow to a specific part of the brain can result in tingling sensation, make the top of the head sore to touch, and other problems if they are not addressed timely.
Depending on which part of the brain is affected, you may experience a peculiar sensation in the head accompanied by pain or headache.
How Stress and Anxiety Affect the Head
Stress and anxiety have been linked to a chemical imbalance in the body that cause weird feeling in head. People with anxiety have trouble controlling worrying thoughts that build pressure and increases their stress levels. The feelings of stress and anxiety can be upsetting, challenging to manage, and often result in a variety of strange side effects.
If you suffer from anxiety, stress, or depression, consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment, as suppressing these feelings can trigger migraines and other kinds of headaches.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)
Brain tingles can also result from autonomous sensory meridian response or ASMR. It is a newly discovered phenomenon that can result from hearing a specific type of sound such as whispering or finger tapping. Research is still underway for this area of neuroscience, but it is becoming popular. It has been found that there are a variety of sounds that can trigger such a response.
When Professional Medical Help Becomes Necessary
Even though tingling in the head is not classified as a disorder, persistent symptoms of weird feelings in the head should not be ignored. Consulting a physician and getting your condition diagnosed is necessary to relieve the unusual sensations.
Seeking professional medical help for paresthesia becomes necessary in the following circumstances:
- It is becoming more frequent
- It changes its intensity or severity
- It is accompanied by pain
- It occurs on different sides of the head
- It lasts longer than normal
- It has started recently
- It turns into a severe headache
The expert and experienced doctors will run a variety of tests, including MRI, bloodwork, electromyography or electroencephalography, and, if necessary, a nerve biopsy. Combined with your medical history and physical exam, the physician figures out what is causing these weird feelings and suggests the most effective treatment that works best for your specific discomfort.
Occasional tingling in the head is not a cause for concern, but if this sensation persists and begins to affect your routine life with headaches and other severe symptoms, seek medical help immediately. It is best to get a doctor’s advice regarding diagnosis and treatment as some serious underlying conditions may be responsible for chronic tingling in the head. The pain management specialists at the Advanced Headache Center come up with the most positive solutions that provide relief and ensure you enjoy good health in the long run.Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.Advanced Headache Center41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
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