What Causes Head Tingling?
The pins and needles sensation that occurs when a hand or foot falls asleep is generally not a cause for concern, but a head tingling sensation is less common and can be a bit more disconcerting. Numbness or tingling is known as parethesias, and head parethesias can have a number of different causes. Many of these causes are fairly benign, but some are serious medical conditions that require treatment by a medical professional.
If you are experiencing parethesias of the head, one of the following conditions may be the cause:
Shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, can result in numbness and tingling in the face. Shingles is often accompanied by a painful rash, but can in some instances manifest only with facial tingling. Post-herpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles that generally affects people over the age of 50; it can cause a facial tingling sensation that may last for months.
Facial tingling and muscle paralysis can be a result of Lyme disease. These symptoms don't occur for months or even years after the original tick bite that transmitted the infection, so it can be difficult to diagnose.
Trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP), which is caused by unintentional injury to the trigeminal nerve, is another potential cause. TNP can be the result of dental procedures, surgery, trauma to the face, diabetes, or a stroke. The primary symptom of TNP is a constant dull, burning facial pain, but it can be accompanied by numbness and tingling.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that often causes parethesias. Nerve damage, caused by the destruction of the nerve's protective covering, interferes with the brain's signals to the rest of the body and can result in numbness or tingling in the head or any other body part.
Migraines can sometimes cause a tingling sensation in arms, legs, face, or lips. Numbness and tingling is the most common sensory aura experienced with migraines, and often starts in the face and spreads throughout one side of the body.
Head tingling is a not infrequent response to stress or fear, and may be a symptom of anxiety or panic attack. It is generally accompanied by other symptoms of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate, perspiration, and shortness of breath.
Sudden head tingling or numbness can be the result of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke. A stroke is damage to the brain as a result of a blockage or breakage of an artery. Other symptoms include confusion, severe head pain, and difficulty speaking, walking, seeing, or swallowing. Receiving prompt medical treatment can prevent major damage and allow for the reversal of stroke symptoms. Symptoms of a transient ischemic attack are similar to those of a stroke, but will usually disappear within 24 hours.
Trauma to the head or spinal cord can cause a nerve injury that results in head tingling. Neck injuries in particular may cause numbness in the back of the head.
A tumor in the brain, sinus cavity, or spinal cord can cause numbness or tingling by pressing on or infiltrating nerves. In some cases, tumors in other parts of the body can secrete substances that cause parethesias; this is particularly common with lung cancer.
These are some of the more common causes of head tingling, but they are not the only ones. Depending on what other symptoms you are experiencing, you may be able to make an educated guess about what is causing the tingling sensation. Since it is possible that a serious medical condition is the culprit, it is always best to have your head tingling symptom properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor.