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Numb Head Causes

Numb Head Causes

Numbness in the head can be caused by different factors, including injury or trauma to the neck muscles, a stroke, and even a neurological disorder. This article elaborates on its various possible causes, symptoms, besides the diagnostic and treatment options.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Head numbness can be a result of nerve irritation, or a pinched nerve, especially in the neck and upper back region. The medical term used for this condition is head paresthesia. It is usually caused by stress and anxiety, and muscular problems in the neck, shoulder, and upper back region.

However, occasionally, head numbness can be an indicator of conditions far serious than the ones mentioned above. Such a condition usually puts pressure on the nerves that spread to the scalp.

Generally, irritation of the cervical and trigeminal nerves, spinal disorders, neurological diseases, infections, as well as herniated discs are associated with this condition. A few common causes that may lead to numbness in the head are mentioned below.

Probable Reasons and Symptoms

Multiple Sclerosis - This is an autoimmune neurological disorder, which involves the loss of the myelin sheath that surrounds certain nerve fibers and can affect both, the brain and the spinal cord.

Symptoms: head numbness, blurred vision, dizziness, and partial paralysis in extreme cases

Herpes Zoster (Shingles) - This condition is defined as a sudden outbreak along a nerve path, which is usually accompanied by severe neuralgia. Shingles affects the cervical and trigeminal nerves.

Symptoms: tingling sensation and numbness in the head -- usually on just one side of the head, flu, changes in vision

Meningitis - Meningitis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, and it affects and impairs the meninges of the brain.

Symptoms: fever, nausea, head numbness, and pain in the head region

Epilepsy - This is a central nervous system disorder, which is distinguished by convulsions and loss of consciousness.

Symptoms: tingling feeling in the head, muscle spasms, head numbness

Trigeminal Neuralgia - This is an intense nerve disorder accompanied by fits and mainly affects adults. The exact cause of this disease is not known, but it affects the trigeminal nerves.

Symptoms: numbness in the head and facial region, jabbing pain affecting one side of the face at a time

Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident) - A sudden loss of brain function because of the blood vessels rupturing, or shutting in the brain and leading to necrosis of the brain tissues, is termed stroke.

Symptoms: dizziness, head numbness, loss of muscle control

Spinal Cord Disorders - Degenerative disc diseases, spinal arthritis, herniated discs, and any injury to the spinal cord, might lead to head paresthesia.

Symptoms: tingling and numbing sensation in the head, loss of motor control

Ischemic Heart Attack - This is a less serious condition as compared to a stroke, as it interrupts the supply of blood to the brain only for a brief period.

Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, faintness, numbness in the head

Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disorder - Any of the several neurological disorders involving the vertebral arteries and the basilar that disrupts the blood flow to the cerebellum and brain stem.

Symptoms: headache, numbness, muscle weakness, hearing loss, slurred speech

Hyperkalemia - When the potassium level in the circulating blood increases and goes higher than the normal range, it might lead to hyperkalemia. Many a time, it is associated with either the use of diuretic drugs, or kidney failure.

Symptoms: nausea, a pulse that is weak, slow and irregular, sudden collapsing due to irregular heartbeat, numbing of the head

Lyme Disease - It is an inflammatory disease caused due to the bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick.

Symptoms: fever, joint swelling and rashes, neurological problems, lightheadedness and numbness

Apart from the above-mentioned causes, a few other conditions that can lead to numbing of the head are migraine, vasculitis, brain tumor, and spondylitis. These conditions are sometimes accompanied by a tingling sensation as well. Apart from these, one can experience pain, dizziness, and nausea. The presence of such symptoms can indicate a more serious health condition than minor injury or trauma to the muscles of the neck and back regions.

Diagnosis and Treatment Variations

The treatment for head numbness depends upon the diagnosis of the underlying cause(s), or health conditions. Therefore, physicians carry out a complete analysis of the medical history of the patient, as well as the history of the symptoms, like the time and frequency of occurrence, the exact location, where the numbness is felt, and whether it is accompanied by other symptoms, like dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and pain.

The next step for diagnosis would be a blood test and a series of neurological examinations including:

» Nerve biopsy
» Nerve conduction studies (NCS)
» Electromyography (EMG)
» Count of blood cells
» Hemoglobin levels
» Calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and thiamine levels

Once the exact cause is ascertained with the help of these diagnostic tests, physicians prescribe the appropriate medications, supplements, and therapies to address the issue. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant drugs may also be required for treating head numbness, depending upon the underlying condition. At the same time, proper stress management can help one cope with the numbness and other associated discomforts. Meditation and stress-relief techniques, too, are some of the proven and effective ways in this regard.

Proper diagnosis can play an important role in treating a numbing sensation and preventing any complications that can arise, if it is not treated on time. If you experience numbness in the head for a considerable period, and if it is accompanied by various aforementioned symptoms, then it is more likely to be associated with nerve injury, or a disorder. Such a condition, if not diagnosed and attended on time, may lead to a serious neurological complication.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is purely for informative purposes, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.