A pins and needles feeling or tingling in your head can be unsettling. This can affect neighboring parts of your body, too, such as the face and neck, and you may also feel numbness or burning. Having the sensation in your head can have many causes.

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 can be temporary (acute) or ongoing (chronic). Read on to find out more about tingling in the head.

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.

Head injuries

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, older adults 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

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.

Other conditions

A number of other conditions can cause head tingling, including:

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
  • diabetes
  • infections that affect the facial nerve
  • migraines and other headaches
  • MS
  • stress or anxiety
  • stroke

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:

  • arthritis
  • migraines and other headaches
  • MS
  • 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:

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.