Tingling and Numbness in the Face and Back of the Head

Head Sensitivity Map – Head Dermatomes

Sensitivity of the FACE and TOP OF THE HEAD is mediated by the right and left Trigeminal nerve (5th brain nerve), which originate from the brainstem and divide into three branches each:

  1. Ophthalmic nerve travels through the ceiling of the orbit and enters the face above the eye. It innervates the front half of the top of the head, forehead, eyebrow, upper lid, the skin on the top of the nose, cornea, eye conjunctiva, and frontal sinuses.
  2. Maxillary nerve travels across the bottom of the orbit and enters the face below the eye. It innervates the skin on cheeks, upper lip, sides of the nose, lower eyelid, a part of mucosa in the nose, paranasal sinuses, upper gum, and upper teeth.
  3. Mandibular nerve: mental branch travels along the inner side of the jawbone, enters the skin on the sides of the chin and innervates the skin of the jaw. Auriculotemporal branch innervates the skin in the front of the earlap, and temporal region.

facial innervation

Picture 1. Sensitivity map of the head – head dermatomes
(Click to enlarge image)
(source: Wikipedia)

Sensitivity of the BACK OF THE HEAD is mediated by the first three spinal nerves (cervical nerves C1-C3) .
Sensitivity of the NECK and most of the EARLAP is provided by the superficial cervical plexus composed by cervical nerves C1-C4.

What Causes the Numbness on the Head?

Head or face tingling or numbness is caused by irritation of the cervical (C1-C4) nerves, Trigeminal nerve, or parts of the spinal cord, brainstem or brain responsible for the sensitivity of the head/face.

Causes include: spinal disorders, like herniated disc, neurological diseases, like multiple sclerosis, vascular disorders, like atherosclerosis, infections, like meningitis, poisoning, epilepsy, tumors, injuries, metabolic changes, like hypokalemia, and other causes listed below.


Disorders primarily affecting nervous tissue include:

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster (shingles) is a reactivation of a chicken pox virus in the nerve roots of Trigeminal or cervical nerves at any time (months, years) after chickenpox infection, resulting in:

  • Tingling on the one side of the face, scalp or trunk, followed by a band of red patches and painful blisters that crust over and fall off in 2-3 weeks. Sometimes there is no rash but only tingling sensation.
  • Fever, headache, vision, hearing or taste problems may appear.

Herpes zoster can be treated by acyclovir or famcyclovir.

Post-herpetic Neuralgia

Post herpetic neuralgia is a complication of Herpes zoster reactivation, mostly seen in patients over 50 years of age. Facial tingling, numbness or pain may last several months or years.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms include:

  • Circular red rash with a pale centre appearing few days or weeks after a tick bite (rash lasts few weeks). Fever and fatigue are sometimes present.
  • Months or years after the tick bite (there is no rash at that time), tingling, paralysis of facial muscles, vision disturbance, problems with memory, migratory joint pain (especially in knees) and heart problems can appear.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux) is a chronic nerve disorder of unknown origin, mostly affecting adults, and causing:

  • Sudden severe shock-like (or mild) facial pain, lasting from few seconds to two minutes, triggered by tooth brushing, shaving, chewing, speaking, laughing, or even a slight breeze. Tingling and numbness as a warning symptom before the pain attack. Symptoms often progress in frequency and severity.

Trigeminal Neurophatic Pain

Trigeminal neuropathic pain can appear as a complication of trauma, dental procedure, surgery, or disease, like diabetes or stroke. Symptoms, usually on one side of the face, include:

  • Constant, dull, burning pain
  • Numbness and tingling

Trigeminal Deafferentation

Pain in trigeminal deafferentation (interruption of sensory nerve fibers) results from nerve damage, usually during treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (alcohol injections, surgery). Main symptom is:

  • Continuous burning numbness

Anesthesia Dolorosa

Anesthesia dolorosa is usually a complication of treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. Symptoms:

  • Facial numbness and constant or stabbing pain occurring at the same skin area

Treatment of Trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathies , complementary treatment

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is, as believed, an autoimmune disease affecting the brain, brainstem or spinal cord. Symptoms usually appear between 20-40 years of age and include:

  • Blurred vision, or even blindness, usually at one eye at the time
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body
  • Unusual sensations or pain anywhere in the body
  • Difficulty speech, hearing loss, dizziness, impaired balance, difficulty with concentration
  • Fatigue, depression

Transverse myelitis and acute flares of multiple sclerosis are often treated with steroids.


In epilepsy, abnormal electrical activity in the brain cells can cause episodes of:

  • Tingling, numbness, changed taste or smell, strange emotions or behavior
  • Convulsions, muscle spasms, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

In a rare Guillain-Barré syndrome, immune system, usually some days or weeks after respiratory or food poisoning, attacks peripheral nerves. Symptoms can develop fully in few hours or few weeks, rarely extend over 2 months and may include:

  • Muscular weakness and numbness starting in the feet and progressing to the upper trunk and head; sometimes symptoms start in the hands or face and proceed toward the legs
  • Difficulty with bladder and bowel control
  • Severe back pain
  • Slow heart rate
  • Difficulty with eye and facial movements, speaking, chewing or swallowing (6)
  • Difficulty breathing (only in severe cases)
  • Consciousness is not affected

Tabes Dorsalis

Syphilitic myelopathy (Tabes dorsalis) is a rare complication of untreated syphilis. Symptoms:

  • Abnormal sensations (“lightning pains”)
  • Muscle weakness, loss of reflexes
  • Loss of coordination, difficulty walking, wide-based gait
  • Psychiatric illness


Anxiety and Panic Attack

Symptoms in anxiety and panic attack include:

  • Feeling of fear and tightness, faintness
  • Trembling
  • Rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, sweating, hot flashes, chills
  • Tingling or numbness in hands, arms, feet, legs, face, toungue, mouth, lips or other body parts


Food allergies can cause tingling lips, throat and skin itch, and swollen face.

Ciguatera poisoning after eating big tropical fish, scombroid poisoning with spoiled fish, and paralytic shellfish poisoning can causetingling, skin rash and diarrhea.


Stroke and Transitional Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Stroke is a damage of a part of the brain, occurring after a blockage or break of the brain artery due to atherosclerosis, thrombosis or rupture of an arterial aneurysm. Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke” occurs when a blood supply is only briefly interrupted; symptoms appear suddenly and may disappear within an hour (in TIA always within 24 hours) and include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, swallowing, seeing
  • Trouble walking, dizziness
  • Severe headache.

Symptoms in the stroke may be permanent, but can often improve within weeks/months with proper rehabilitation.

Vertebrobasilar Circulatory Disorders

In vertebrobasilar circulatory disorders, blood supply to the back of the brain, little brain (cerebellum), and brainstem is disrupted due to blocked basilar or vertebral arteries. Characteristic symptoms are:

  • Complete or partial vision loss, double vision
  • Vertigo, problems with balance
  • Numbness and tingling of the head
  • Symptoms resembling stroke (see above)

Angina Pectoris

Angina pectoris (Latin angina = tightness, pectus= chest) is a symptom of inadequately oxygenated heart, mostly due to narrowed coronary arteries (that supply the heart), rarely appearing before 30 years of age . Symptoms include:

  • Sharp or dull pain behind the breast-bone, triggered by effort, strong emotions, cold, heavy meal, or other stress; lasting from few moments to 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes in severe cases). Pain or numbness my radiate to the jaw, left shoulder, arm, or hand
  • Dizziness, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath


Head tingling and numbness can result from an impaired blood supply to the nerves caused by vasculitis – inflammation of small to medium sized arteries: temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis), Wegener’s granulomatosis, necrotizing vasculitis, polyarteritis nodosa, posterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome , thoracic outlet syndrome, vasculitis caused by colagenoses, and so on.


Head or Spinal Cord Injury

Cuts, punctures, bruises or broken head/facial bones can affect nerves and thus causes numbness or tingling. Dislocated jaw may cause pain or numbness in temporal and jaw area – temporomandibular (TMP) pain.

Spinal cord injuries of the upper cervical (neck) spine (above the C4 level) may result in back of the head numbness. Motility and sensitivity of other parts of the body will be also likely affected.


The following disorders affecting cervical spine above C4 level can cause tingling or numbness on the back of the head:

  • Spinal arthritis (spondylitis)
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Bulging or herniated disc
  • Osteoporosis


A tumor or abscess (collection of pus after infection) in the brain, orbit, ear, nose, paranasal sinuses, mouth, parotid glands, muscles or skin, skull, vertebra or spinal cord can directly press on the nerve tissue or infiltrate it, thus causing unusual sensations or pain in the face or back of the head.

Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Substances, like serotonin, secreted by various tumors (especially lung cancer and carcinoid) can cause paresthesia in any body part.


Metabolic disorders that may result in tingling anywhere in the body:

  • Abnormal blood levels of calcium (hypocalcemia, hypercalcemia), potassium (hypokalemia, hyperkalemia), magnesium, sodium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6, or B12, thyroxin, aldosterone
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), commonly occuring in insulin dependent diabetics, chronic alcoholics, in prolonged starvation, heavy exercise, dumping syndrome
  • Uremia (in chronic kidney failure)
  • Amyloidosis
  • Porphyria inherited or acquired disorder of heme (part of hemoglobin) synthesis
  • Hypothyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, hypoaldosteronism (Conn syndrome)
  • Menopause


  • Medications: anti-convulsant drugs, lomotil, amiodarone, colistimethate, digoxin, dimercaprol, mefloquine, riluzole, tetrodotoxin, thallium, topiramate, HIV medications, metronidazole, overdose of lidocain or vit B6, SSRI withdrawal
  • Radiation therapy, chemotherapy
  • Alcohol causes alcohol neuropathy (chronic paresthesia), but it can be directly toxic to nerves (acute paresthesia). Alcohol withdrawal after long term drinking can cause sensation of “crawling bugs”.
  • Tobacco
  • Poisoning: heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury), nitrous oxide, ciguatera poisoning with tropical fish, snake bites, carbon monoxide


  • Migraine. Symptoms: one sided head pain, nausea, vision problems
  • Infections: AIDS, leprosy, Herpes simplex, rabies, canker sores, arbovirus
  • Connective tissue and autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s syndrome (dryness in the tear ducts, salivary glands, and other glands), pernicious anemia
  • Blood disorders: thrombosis, polycythemia, thrombocytosis, leukemia
  • Bones and joints disorders: arthritis, osteomalacia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nutrient deficiency: vit B1 (beriberi), vit B5 and B12 deficiency
  • Hereditary diseases: Refsum syndrome, Fabry disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (wasting of the leg muscles, resulting in malformation of the foot), porphyria (increased production of porphyrins), Denny-Brown’s syndrome (disorder of the nerve root), ataxia-teleangiectasia
  • Immune deficiency

Diagnosis of the Cause of Head Paresthesia

1. Revealing the exact history of your symptoms to your doctor is essential to get a diagnosis:

  • Time course: When and how did symptoms start (injury, unconsciousness, sudden head pain…), are they long lasting or recent, constant or change with time
  • Location: exact areas affected, one/both sided, non/symetrical
  • Other head related symptoms: pain, vision, hearing, smell, taste, temperature sense, or balance problems. Problems with speech, eating, or moving the head or limbs (weakness, cramping, paralysis). General symptoms: nausea, fever.
  • History of trauma, starvation, diabetes, alcohol abuse, cancer, or collagen vascular disease
  • Family history: paresthesia in relatives

2. Neurological examination of the whole body, performed by a neurologist is required.

3. The following tests may be needed:

  • Blood tests: CBC, electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, TSH, glucose, BUN/creatinine, hemoglobin A1C, ESR, vitamin B12, thiamine level, and chest X-ray
    –Additional tests may be indicated (lead level, SPEP and UPEP to rule out paraproteinemia, Lyme titers)
  • Electromyography (EMG) may be used to differentiate neuropathic versus myopathic causes of muscle atrophy
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Nerve biopsy (rarely needed)

Treatment of Head/Facial Numbness

Treatment posibilities of head/facial tingling include:

  • Treating the underlying cause
  • Coping with stress, stopping drinking or abusing drugs
  • Supplements as vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium (only according to blood tests)
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS or steroids – epidural in severe cases)
  • Analgesics or antidepressants

Related Articles:


  1. Sensory innervation of the head, trigeminal nerve (bartleby.com)
  2. Causes , Diagnosis and Treatment of Paresthesia (wrongdiagnosis.com)
  3. Causes , Diagnosis and Treatment of Paresthesia (wrongdiagnosis.com)
  4. Diagnosis of face Numbness (wrongdiagnosis.com)
  5. Guillain Barre syndrome Symptoms (mayoclinic.com)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
Health writer

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page

Ask a Doctor Online Now!
  • Jan Modric


    visiting a neurologist is a reasonable decision. The crawling sensations are probably from something pressing upon a nerve. I mean, numbness, tingling, burning and pain can be all symptoms of one disorder.

  • benji

    Hi,I have a series of questions,foremost what are the most common causes of tingling and numbness in the head,for quite awhile now,I have been having tingling and numbness sensations on my head,they are on top,the sides,and the back of my head.I also have constant headaches and it seems my vision goes blurry from time to time. I sometimes get dizzy and almost lose my balance,and I have constant back pain which wakes me up early in the mornings. I also get tingling and numbness in the finger tips,my feet and my lips,,another thing is ringing in the ears,,one more sypmtom is pain on the side of my stomach/kidney area ranging from the ribs all the way to my chest. I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions you can give.

  • Jan Modric


    I strongly recommend you to visit a neurologist; you can expect to have a CT or MRI of the head. Symptoms you’ve listed often appear in multiple sclerosis, but there could be other causes.

  • Saurav

    Few months back i had blisters(pimples) near the corners of my mouth(left only).i bursted those and applied a skin toner over it and as a result the skin over the place started swelling. then i consulted a doctor he suggested me with vit b-complex. Using those i could not see any results and went to him once more and he said that the infection is due to some dental problems
    then i went to a dentist and let me have a x ray of left lateral oblique.he found no complications.Then i left those medications.Then after some time i started felling numbness over left side of my face accompanied with impaired vision and numbness in the hands too and tingling pain.soon i went to a neurologist where i had an MRI(head) and the study was normal .he mentioned that the numbness was due to muscle contraction and prescribed me with an anti depressant Escitalop(escitalopram oxalate tabs-10mg)
    i took those for few months but could not see any results and i went to a physiotherapist where he took the X-ray of cervical part and figured out that the pain was due to lesser gaps between bone in cervical area.and she gave cervical traction.after traction my alignment of my head and teeth seems to be dislocated.now the problem has grown to a greater extent.i would like to have suggestions from you on my problem.

  • Jan Modric


    I recommend you to see a reliable neurologist or orthopedist, who can give you a correct diagnosis of your neck problem. You can expect to have a CT or MRI of the neck.

  • RinnaQ

    Hi, my sister, two nephews and I are all currently experiencing fatigue and numbness/tingling in various parts of our bodies. This has happened over the past month or so. My symptoms have flared up only over the past few days…mild right cheek numbness and mild numbness back of right leg…hip to toe. This was preceeded by ‘funny bone’ pain (right arm) and the nerves at elbow joint were sore to touch. The arm is tingly. As I have a desk job and am also studying at night(lots if sitting), I attributed numbness Ive been having for the past few months in back of my left leg to lack of movement. I’d been seeing a physio for left ankle/hip discomfort. I occasionally feel pressure at the top of my head which is usually followed by fatigue /photosensitivity and some difficulty breathing. My sister has heel numbness and has been referred to a neurologist ‘to eliminate MS’ but as four of us have varying degrees of numbness and fatigue do you think this may be viral? About six months back we were on jeep safari in the Algarve. Could we have contracted something? There is no family history of neurological disease. I am 44, my sister is 41, nephews are 15 and 6. Advice appreciated.

  • RinnaQ

    Just to add, when I initially got the top of head pressure, it was with extreme pain which spread down both temples and into back of both eyes. I was hospitalised as it resembled meningitis but nothing definite was diagnosed. I was told it was probably viral. That was six years ago. Since then I occasionally get much milder attacks with only pressure and mild pain as previously posted. The breathing problem which accompanies is the worst part. Also, my sister and nephews are experiencing mild coordination problems over the past couple of days….eg. Reaching for one cereal box but touching the one beside it. I don’t have this symptom as of yet but seem to be running a few days behind their symptoms. Her husband and two other children were with us on the safari but they have no symptoms.

  • Jan Modric


    are your new symptoms all on the right side? Difficult breathing also in rest? When did your sister and nephews experience their symptoms for the first time? About a month ago? Have they ever had such symptoms before? Do they also experience difficult breathing?

    Coordination problems you’ve described sound, like from a brain disorder. Yes, an infection is possible, also some sort of poisoning. Have you all together eaten some fish in the last month (ciguatera or mercury poisoning is possible)?

    Whatever it is, I strongly recommend you to visit a neurologist.

  • RinnaQ

    I eat fish daily though moreso frozen than fresh. My sister and nephews never gad these symptoms before about a month ago. My new symptoms are all on right side apart from an occasional prickly feeling in left heel though have no numbness or tingling there. My sister and I have both had breathing difficulty since our holiday. She has asthma but this is surplus to that. I am prone only to exercise induced asthma but as I rarely exercise I don’t suffer from that! What is the likely treatment if this is a virus we have all contracted? I don’t recall us all having a fish meal together. They are meat eaters, I am the fish lover.

  • Jan Modric


    in general, there is no treatment for viral infections (except for some specific ones). What you can do is that you write down all your symptoms and symptoms of your sister and nephews in an exact time line and tell this to a neurologist. Here’s a personal medical history questionnaire that may help you. Every detail may be important.

  • RinnaQ

    Thank you very much for your advice.

  • saurav

    i am satisfied with your suggestion.
    i have one more query
    The Blisters still make my face a disaster.
    also the pain goes into my left ear.the doctor said that it is a kind of Herpes virus.May i know if all my problems were related to those blisters if so suggest me some remedie.

  • Sweetpeavixy

    Hi everyone just been Reading the comment, I’m from the uk and been the soca and a&e (er) about my symptoms and I feel like no one wants to listen so I was wondering if you guys could help me out. It started a few weeks ago. Tingling and pins and needle to my hands then my feet. Last week it got worse and I have constant numbness in them with the occassional pins and needles and tingling. I can’t walk very far without my legs becoming tired or even wash or dry my hair without my arms becoming tied. I am tired in general and can’t concentrate on anything. The last few days I have become extremely dizzy and I keep forgetting what I’m doing. I’m sick of being told it’s a panic attack cos I know it isn’t I’ve had them in the past and they can’t feesably last for 2 weeks straight. Can anyone help? X I’m 26 btw x

  • Jan Modric


    blisters appearing on one side from the mouth corner to the ear can be – shingles, which are from reactivation of a Hepes zoster virus. This usually heals on its own in few wekks, but your doctor can tell you if any pill or ointment would help you.

  • Jan Modric

    Dizziness and inability to concentrate appear when the brain is affected. Abnormal sensations in all your limbs also speak for a neurological disorder. A reliable neurologist can help in such cases.

  • Kasey

    Can anyone help? Prior to this I was healthy and had not been to a doctor in three years. During a stressful situation I developed a bad chest cold and was prescribed an antibiotic. It did not clear and two weeks later was given an antibiotic shot plus more oral antibiotics. During this time I started taking Ambien for sleep. My condition worsened quickly and I did not realize that I was having a serious negative reaction to Ambien. On day 7 of Ambien, day 3 of the oral antibiotic (biaxin) I went to the emergency room for the first time in my life. I was having serious chest pains, could not breathe property, burning in chest, white mucus from mouth, excessive thirst. Loss of appetite. Severe internal vibrations that could be felt by others. Warmth in center of chest. Feeling of a cap of pressure on my head. I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis, anxiety, and was taken off Biaxin. The reaction to Ambien was missed and I was told to stay on it as I needed to sleep. Four days later, same symptoms, went to urgent care. Diagnosed as anxiety and given sedative script which I did not fill. Also told to stay on Ambien as I needed to sleep. Two days later, blood pressure continued to climb and we realized that Ambien was the last thing I was on. Went off of it that night and felt so much better the next day. Withdrawal started soon after and was worse than being on it. That continued for more than a month. During this time I had to force myself to eat. Complete loss of appetite that continues to this day. The side effects experienced were many, with the worst being head pressure, tingling, feeling like it was buried in layers of fog, weakness, loss of energy, higher blood pressure. On the day of the ER visit something happened to the left side of my chest, as when I would drink something I could only feel the sensation on the right side. That has since cleared. On the same day, my nostrils would close suddenly and completely as if someone had placed a clamp on them. I am wondering if this might have caused nerve damage that now exhibits as tingling in my head. I developed what felt like fluid pockets in my chest and shoulders, and extreme muscle soreness in the same areas. Lots of heat, burning sensations through back and shoulders and arms. When I would rub my skin, whelps would form. More unsettling things happened but too many to put here. As the meds worked out of my system, my skin turned hot and rough in areas with rashy bumps forming. I am now getting bumps on my head that resemble pimples but don’t develop in the same way.

    It’s been over 7 weeks now since starting the Ambien/antibiotic combination. I am not doing well and continuing to decline. The head tingling/pressure/and now burning sensation is only getting more frequent. I have acid reflux (was bile mucous and acid) that is serious. I never experienced reflux before this. When it acts up, almost daily now, the burning in my esophagus extends to my chest, my throat, my ears, my eyes and my head. It all burns and it is so debilitating. My eyes have only been involved in the last week or so. As I sit here writing this, it takes great effort to concentrate and keep my fingers on the key board (though my fingers are acting better than they did a couple of weeks ago.) My head tingles more with more concentration. If it were burning now, it would burn more with added concentration. I have tingles running up my neck and on either side of my head and they have been moving side to side all morning. It seems I have added sensations/symptoms each day. I had a week of very easy bruising. I had a few weeks of repeatedly jerking awake for hours, like mini blackouts. I was prescribed Valerian for sleep and that has helped and the jerking is easing off. My life has been completely stopped because of all of this. The doctor that prescribed all the meds would not help me with any of the issues, only wanting to prescribe another sedative which I did not use. A couple of weeks after I stopped taking the Ambien I developed a UTI and had to get another antibiotic. When I took that one, it immediately made my head burn. I found that it works on the same receptors in the brain that Ambien does, GABA A.

    I have a new doctor now but he does not know what to do except to proceed nationally and use supplements to clear and booster my body. He prescribed antioxidants that help to clear heavy metals from the body…as this is a side effect of antibiotics.

    I developed gate problems as I detoxed from the drugs. It feels like my hips are not in coordination with the rest of my body. I have been dropping things and knocking things over, but when I reach for something I have no trouble.

    I need a neuro consult but I don’t want medicines, as I am afraid of them now. I just want to know what happened, what is wrong with me and how to work my way back to how I was two months ago.

    Since I was stressed, and then suffered panic attacks because of the Ambien, it is so easy to now place me in the anxiety category and dismiss everything. The panic attacks, I’d never had before the meds, were just terrible. They have now subsided as the meds wore off. I feel so sorry for people who suffer panic attacks, I never had a clue as to how serious something like that could be. I am learning that digestive problems and panic often present side by side. I didn’t have either, now I’ve experienced both.

    Ambien works by suppressing the central nervous system and acting on GABA A receptors in the brain. While I was on it I had a continuous feeling of having a cap on the back of my head. I would go to sleep quickly and sleep for about 4 hours. When I would wake, another part of my brain would be hyper stimulated and full of thoughts. Ambien is used to wake people from coma by activating a different part of their brain. I think it acted on me by both putting me to sleep and also hyper stimulating another part of my brain so I really wasn’t resting at all. It was so very destructive to my health. I was on it 13 days but the affects seem devastating.

    I know this is circuitous but I am just not myself and writing is difficult. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Kasey

  • Jan Modric


    I recommend you to write down shortly:
    1. #1 symptom that bothers you.
    2. Other current symptoms
    3. Drugs you were/are taking
    4. Exact symptoms at the start

    It means 4 lines of data. A neurologist can make conclusions then.

  • kd123

    I have been having tingling and pressure in the back of my head. It is not constant and does not really hurt, but it annoying and very scary. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago with hypothyroidism. Do you think this could have something to do with it? My doctor seems to think it is nothing, but I know my body and I know something is not rigt.

  • Jan Modric


    if there is any swelling in the neck, swollen tissues can press upon the nerves that supply the back part of the head and cause abnormal sensations. A pinched nerve in the upper part of the cervical spine in another common cause.

  • Kasey

    Thanks Jan. I will try. I so wish what really happened and what I’m left with were that simple. I know you are trying to help, and I know doctors stop listening after a few symptoms. It is looking like so much is connected to my digestive system. But I never would have thought that would make the top of my head burn. Thanks, Kasey

  • Jan Modric


    when a neurologist hears: kicking the objects or confusion, he/she can think of a neurological disorder. If the doctor hears about digestive problems and other vague symptoms (which still may be important), he/she may become overwhelmed and may think you have some common problems many of us often have.

  • Kasey

    Of course you are right, Jan. I am so lost in the overwhelming nature of this that it is hard for me to separate things out. But I see from what you’re saying that I need to if I don’t want to be dismissed.

    Qustion: at the back of the neck, where the arteries extend, I have had much, much tingling and pressure. There is now a small lump or swelling on the right side. And on the left side, today, just one spot has tingled but also had pain. I will question the doctor about this, but do you have any ideas. I don’t think the lump was there last week. With all the rubbing of my neck I think I would have noticed. I am wondering if chiropractic might help with any of this. Thanks, Kasey

  • Jan Modric


    a lump on the back of the head, if it is behind the ear or at the base of the skull could be an enlarged lymph node. This would be felt like a well delimited “marble” of a rubbery consistencea 0,5 – 1 cm in size or so, and it could be tender or not. A muscle contraction can give a resembling swollen appearance. A doctor should be able to differ these two.

  • kd123

    I have not noticed any swelling, but I do sit at a computer ALL day.

  • imvron

    Hey everyone, I have a question to pose. To make a long story short, I went to a new dentist to have her remove silver fillings under two new crowns (the crowns were put on with weak cement from my dentist). This new dentist removed the silver fillings, replaced it with a white composite and put temp fillings on. I went to my dentist yesterday for him to put the crowns back on. I was fine Friday and Saturday. Sunday I woke up to pain in the face (I think from the crowned teeth) that shot up to my eye. Sunday evening, my face started to feel tingly, numb, burning sensation – the only way I can describe it is when novacaine starts to wear off – plus I feel like I’m going to break out in a sweat like having what I would think would be a hot flash (although I haven’t really had any). Monday woke up fine, Monday afternoon it started again. Tuesday woke up fine so I didn’t mention that to my dentist, Tueaday afternoon it started again. This morning I woke up fine and it started this morning, so I went to the new dentist this morning to ask her about it. She said that it might be the teeth abcessing or a sinus infection. She said it would be redundant to take an xray since she doesn’t do root canals and suggested I go back to my dentist for that. Okay, fine. There really isn’t any pain but this numbness thing going on is bothering me. I have noticed that my face feels hot, but it doesn’t look red nor is it swollen. The cold from the freezer seems to help it. I went to my GP this afternoon and she gave me a prescription for amoxicillin just in case it is a sinus infection (although she didn’t think so) and I have an appointment with my dentist for next Monday. So, what do you think? Tooth infection, sinus infection, nerve damage? Any thougts would be most helpful. Thanks.

  • Jan Modric


    on which teeth the crowns were replaced – upper, lower, left, righ? Are symptoms in the face symmetrical?

  • Jan Modric


    a bulging or herniated disc, or arthritis in the cervical spine can cause tingling/numb sensations in the back of the neck and head – symptoms are usually more prominent on one side and they change with a body position (not necessary immediately). In mentioned disorders, walking could provide a temporary relief. Making breaks and walking during prolonged sitting work may help. Vessel disorders, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors..would likely result in more constant sensations, and symptoms in other parts of the body.

    Adjusting a chair and computer screen, so the feet touch the floor completely, thigs and forearms are horizontal, the back and neck are straight, and computer screen is on the eye level – all this can help to reduce tension in the neck. making breaks after every two hours or so can help.

    If you feel tired, cold or have other symptoms of hypothyroidism, I recommend you to re-check thyroxine and TSH hormone levels.

  • imvron


    Upper left – numbers 13 & 15. Its only on the left side of the face in the cheek area up to just under my eye. I have had nothing but problems since January…these crowns were originally made for a bridge. Long story short, since the prep work/bridge/and now crowns, I have had increased saliva. I’m to the point to have these PFM crowns replaced with non-metal crowns to see if that helps with the saliva.

    But with regards to the numbness feeling on my face, I was telling my best friend about this last night, and she told me this has happened to her in the past. In her case, her doctor told her that it was most likely an irritation in the maxillary sinus and gave her a rx of Nasonex. She told me to get a rx from my doctor, but I already have flonase that I haven’t been using since I started allergy shots. I tried it today, and no numbness/tingling feeling. But I am on amoxicillan. I’ll keep doing both for the 10 days and hopefully that will be that! 🙂

  • Jan Modric


    upper left teeth can directly touch some branches of the maxillary nerve, so the teeth manipulation itself could cause the numbness in the area described.

  • edwin pereira

    i have suddennly developed throbing pain in my teeth roots whenever i wake up from sleep fopr 2minuits only all the sett i ceked with the dentist for sensitive tooth but he could not assertain he says may be idiebities my physician is not sure but he suspects it may be due to amlokind-l(amlodipine&losartan) i used to bleed and my gums grew when i took amlodipine about 10 yearts a go after 2 years of usage i read the side effects and found myb self that amlogipine gives those side effect and i stoped it till last year when in i started agin now last year afer a year i did not get any gum growing or bleeding but roots of all teeth are having a throbing pain from 4 days i am getting numbness of my lipps and tung i got it 4 years a go due to moving of a clot to brain nurologist put me on oxetol 150 mg 1/2-0-1 and the numness vanished i stoped oxetol last year now i got it back is there any other reasons i am a insulin dependent patient
    i am on followin medication
    amlokind L 0=0=1
    glycipage 850 mg 1-1-1
    clavix 75mg 0-0-1
    neurobin plus 1=0=0
    oxetol 150 mg 1/2-0-1 from 4 days
    human mixtard 0-0-40 -100iu
    human actified 20-0-0 – 40iu
    i have 5 blocks one of which was 90% installed a stunt in 2001
    i am cheking with my physician regularly but he is ot sure why i get this throbong pain in teeth roots only when i wake up in the morning or after a nap in the afternoon only for 2 to 3 minuts after that nothing i am confused yester day i got numbness in my tungg and lips at night 9 pm and light giddines
    can you help

  • Jan Modric

    edwin pereira,

    In general, when you lie down, body fluids move toward the head to some extent and cause a slight swelling of the tissues in the mouth, probably also of dental roots, which would lead to throbbing pain. This adds to swelling, which may be a side effect of amlodipine (check information leaflet) or some other drug you are taking.

  • chris

    Hi, I am 28 years old. 2 months ago I was rushed to the emergency room. The doctor told me that I had a palpitation. My blood test result showed that my triglyceride is too high (252<150 mg/Dl) but other than that normal. The doctors told me not to worry about it. But 2 weeks later, while I was sitting down in front of the computer, I felt some tingling feeling behind my right ear on the right side of my head and my cheek started to become numb. Every single day I have had this tingling and numbness, and it has been more than three weeks now. Lately, when I lay down to sleep, my upper left leg often feels the tingling feeling as well and it wakes me up when I'm sleeping. It seems like my heart just skips a beat. I also went to a cardiologist after I got out of the hospital, and the results came up normal. Please let me know what I should do. I am so worried since I have never gotten sick like this before.

  • Jan Modric


    numbness on the back of the head could arise from a pinched nerve in the cervical spine and leg tingling from a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine, especially if these sensations change with the body position. High cholesterol raises the possibility of stroke, so the doctor (a neurologist) should also consider transitional ischemic attack (TIA) as a possible cause.

  • lizzielou

    I have a slight numbness around the outside corner of my eye, this also slightly extends onto my cheekbone. There is altered skin sensation in this area. I recently had inter ocular lense replacement surgery. Could this be conected.

  • Jan Modric


    yes, surgery and numbness are probably connected – probably a small branch of the nerve was affected. Such disorders may heal on its own with time. To be sure if there is no permanent damage, you might want to speak with the surgeon.

  • tony

    tingling feeling on top of my head and legs was taking xanax tab for stress a month a go can u tell me what causing this please.

  • Jan Modric


    tingling can be one of the xanax withdrawal symptoms. You may want to speak with your doctor about it.

  • Richa Tiwari

    I am 25 F, currently in dallas USA.
    I too got frustated going frm one doc to other… it started with Bells palsy (18th jan 2010) on my right side of face, I got 6 DAYS course of Steriods and antiviral VALACYCLOVIR 500MG, bells palsy completly recover within 3 weeks, then i started feeling tht weekness is moving to my left face, severe headache on left side, numbness in my left tongue, my left face felt stiff ( tightness or sumbody holding it) pain in my eye, TWICHING all over the body. I went to doctor they gave me another dose of steriod ( tab PREDNISONE AND BUT/APAP/CAF for headache), this all signs comes and go till now.

    For last 2 weeks twiching, numbness in tongue, pain when try to move tongue out (left side) and feeling thirsty.

    No lose of movements and no double eye. only like sumbody is holding my left face.
    All MRI,EMG and aal sort of blood work is normal, except Vitamin D (Low – 12) and ESR is little high. No nuerologist, physicians have any idea, Now i am on high dose of Vitamin D and Gabapentin to reduce nerve pressure. Doc said it all stress related but i think its nt…
    I appreciate ur reply

  • Jan Modric

    Richa Tiwari,

    stiffness on the left side of the face seems to be from affected facial nerve. Numbness in the tounge is from affected trigeminal nerve (5th cranial nerve). Both nerves could be affected by a virus (Herpes simplex (HSV1), Herpes zoster (HSV2), Epstein-Barr (EBV) or Citomegalovirus (CMV)). Infection may result only in some nerve swelling which may not be detected by any imaging investigation.

    So, you can ask a neurologist about viral infection of the facial and trigeminal nerve.

  • Richa Tiwari

    Hi jan,
    Thanks for reply… actually my only concern is numbness in LEFT face, as i got palsy on right (which is completely recovered). Usualy bell palsy effect on one side of face and why my whole body twich all the time. doc said ESR test suggest sum infection but lyme test is negative. they said twich may be due to Vit D or stress.

  • Richa Tiwari

    also want to add,
    have numbness in arm hand while sleeping and when i woke up but hand totally not woking… i massage for 2 min and it came back to normal. this happen with me few times. I cannot sleep keeping my right hand under cheeks or with any pressure. is it normAL.

  • riyan

    hi, i dont know how to explain my problem. actualy i have tingling and pressure in the back and top of my head for 4 months, and i feel a sensation 27/7 that im in a very quiet room, means the voices of a empty and quiet room in my head, which gv me headache/burning/pressure in my head… please help me what is that and why its not going away, as it is for 4 months now…

  • Jan Modric

    Richa Tiwari,

    low vitamin D and stress do not likely cause so obvious symptoms, like numbness on one side of the face and tongue. A disorder in the brain stem could cause all symptoms, including arm numbness and twitching. A serious neurologist can say if you need MRI of the neck or some other investigation.

  • Richa Tiwari

    Thanks… i am going to see new nuerologist on 1 june.

  • Jan Modric


    one possible cause of a headache on the back of the head is a disorder of the cervical spine. Other causes are described here:

  • behruz

    I have a tingling and numbness in my face sometimes. I also have a vibrating and weakness in my feet. my brain MRI was normal. my right ear has ringed for the last month .I have depression sometimes. a feeling of pressure in my head is annoying. What should i do?

  • Jan Modric


    an experienced neurologist may know what to do. Not all disorders within the head can be detected by MRI.

  • Lia

    Hello! Your answers are great.

    I’m 53 – 1 and 1/2 years since last period. Not on any meds.

    About 3 weeks ago I had what I thought was a flu. Feeling sick to my stomach, stomach pain, body aches and a pain in my left elbow joint that may, or may not be related. Sometime shortly after that time I started having leg twitching, but only at rest, watching tv or in bed. Then twitching at different parts of my body that don’t usually twitch. Then night time jerks, some quite violent. 5 or 6 times as I was falling asleep. A few big joint jerks while watching tv. Then about a week ago I felt numbness on the outside of my foot and I thought my laces were too tight. Then, my arms and hands felt like they were going to sleep. My right arm felt a pressure on the forearm at the elbow and the last two fingers were numb. Now it is my face. My symtoms are mostly on the right side, but also to a lesser degree on the left. Left cheek numb once and left arm numb at the same time as the right cheek and part of nose. Also pusing into ear on the right side. When it’s gone, it’s as if I am totally fine. I am flushing in my face and perspiring (could be hot flashes) Went to emerg re numbing because it was coming and going so fast. Stays for about 2 hours, resumes or moves somewhere else. They took blood and said I wasn’t in acute crisis. But, the intern did say he couldn’t find my lower reflexs – tapped at ankle level at the front. I was in the bed so it is possible he just couldn’t get it. And, the other emerg dr didn’t check them.

    I feel that I could startle very easily right now. Jump out of my skin in an abnormal way. On night start awoke me as I had jerked up off the top of the bed and heard a loud bang which quite well may have been coming from outside.

    The symptoms decrease and increase in intensity possibly coinciding with some lack of sleep. The two worst days of twitching and a funny noise in my head were days I only slept about 5 hours.

    I have been quite sleep deprived in general because of a loud neighbour who was evicted finally about a month ago. That went on for about a year and I never knew when he would start yelling and banging etc.

    My blood work is fine. Renal, liver, thyroid etc. I am going to see my family gp tomorrow.

    Any feed back is welcome. Of course, I too am worried re brain tumor. I have a lot of anxiety in general. During the last week felt cognitively off. But, am fine cognitively now and have been for the last four days. When the starting and twitching is intense, it is very abnormal. Once it was in my neck and throat area, but passed.
    Thank you.

  • Lia

    Oh, looking at your diagram, I realize the facial and right head tingling has been in every area except the top green one.

  • Lia

    Sorry, I made an error in the above post. I haven’t had my throid results yet. And the funny noise in my head was only for seconds. Thanks again.