What Causes Head Numbness?

image001Numbness in the head can be concerning and is often a sign that a disease or other serious condition is present, including head injuries, Lyme disease and epilepsy. You will need to seek medical attention immediately when numbness in the head occurs. While it is difficult to diagnose numbness of the head without professional medical assistance, the following can help you narrow down what may be causing your discomfort.

Causes of Numbness in Head

1. Head Injuries

Head injuries may include nerve damage that can lead to numbness in the head. A severe injury can also cause significant blood loss which can diminish the sensations in this area. Many head injuries also cause a concussion or jarring of the brain that may lead to nausea, confusion, excessive sleeping or severe headache.

2. Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spinal cord may cause damage to the nerves here that can lead to numbness in the head. Degenerative discs, herniated disks, multiple sclerosis or meningitis may cause damage to these cervical nerves.

3. Paresthesia

Numbness of the body that does not have a clear explanation is referred to as paresthesia. This term can also be used to be used to refer to numbness in the head. It is characterized by diminishing sensations in the head which may be accompanied by a “pins and needles” tingling sensation.

4. Irritation of the Cervical Nerves

The cervical or C1-C4 nerves in the spinal cord, brain stem, brain or trigeminal nerve can become irritated and lead to numbness. These parts of the body help to provide sensation to the face and head. A variety of conditions can cause irritation to these areas and then numbness in these areas.

5. Shingles

Shingles may also be known as herpes zoster and is caused by the chicken pox virus which remains dormant in the body after the initial infection. This condition causes red patches or blisters that will eventually dry and crust over throughout the course of 3-4 weeks. This can also cause numbness on one side of the head, vision problems, headaches, fever, trouble hearing or trouble tasting.

6. Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that is spread by a bite from a tick. This infection will cause a circular shaped red rash around 6-7 days after the initial bite which can last for several weeks. In some cases an infection can last for months or years. These long infections can cause numbness in head, memory problems, paralysis of the facial muscles, migratory joint pain, vision disturbances and heart problems.

7. Multiple Sclerosis

This is an autoimmune disease that can affect the brain stem, brain or spinal cord. Those between 30-40 are most likely to see symptoms of this disease. Multiple sclerosis symptoms include numbness of the head, paralysis, blurred vision, pain or uncomfortable sensations throughout the body, difficulty concentrating, impaired speech or hearting, depression and fatigue.

8. Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain

Trigeminal neuropathic pain is caused by complications following a dental procedure, physical trauma, surgery or diseases such as diabetes. Symptoms of this condition include numbness in the head, tingling and a dull or sharp pain that is constant.

9. Epilepsy

Seizure disorders such as epilepsy will disrupt the blood flow through your neck artery which can lead to numbness in your head or face.

10. Exerting Pressure on Blood Vessels

Pressure on different blood vessels can decrease circulation, leading to numbness in the neck, face or head. This can also lead pain in the neck and shoulders or headaches. These symptoms should be temporary compared to symptoms of more severe conditions.

Treatments for Numbness in Head

If this is the first time you have experienced numbness in the head and you have not yet contacted a physician about your condition, seek medical assistance right away. These symptoms may be related to a severe or life threatening condition that only a trained medical professional may diagnose.

  • The treatment for this condition will vary based on the duration and severity of the numbness. Surgery to repair the damaged nerve endings, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medications, anticoagulant drugs, oral medications, creams, acyclovir for herpes or shingles, lifestyle and diet changes or physical and psychological therapy may be necessary to alleviate your symptoms.
  • Make note of specific periods when this symptoms appears such as when you are urinating, when you are performing physical activities or if the numbness is accompanied by a rash to your doctor better determine what the cause of the numbness may be. Before you can treat numbness in the head you will need to evaluate the underlying cause. A neurologist can evaluate the specific symptoms which are occurring, the onset of these symptoms and the specific location of the numbness to better understand what the underlying cause may be. They may need to perform physical examinations including nerve conduction, electromyography, nerve biopsy or blood tests to make a concrete diagnosis.
  • In most cases, treating the underlying cause will help to relieve the numbness in the head. In many cases your doctor will advise that you attempt to avoid stress or follow calming techniques to avoid repetitions of these symptoms in the future. Supplements of calcium, vitamin B12, thiamine, glucose, hemoglobin and others may be used to help alleviate numbness in the head. Some antidepressants, anti-inflammatories or pain killers can be used to provide relief as well.