Why Do I Suddenly Have a Tingling Scalp with Pins and Needles?

Feeling a sudden tingling sensation can cause your head to itch, or create a feeling of numbness. The prickling feeling can be linked to several possible medical conditions.

Figuring out what might be causing a crawling sensation is essential. Because different conditions could be the reason, they need to be treated differently. So, it’s necessary to look closely at the symptoms that you’re experiencing.

Some people may experience a stronger sensation than others. Looking at more symptoms can help to rule out certain conditions or illnesses. For example, are you experiencing tingling on the left side of your head? Or, tingling on the right side of your head? Does it cause your skin to itch?

Asking yourself these sorts of questions can help you in making a diagnosis. Thankfully, most disorders that go along with a tingling scalp can be quickly diagnosed and managed.

Table of Contents:

Why is My Scalp Tingling?

This guide will cover possible reasons for a scalp that feels tingly. If you have a pins and needles sensation all over your head, you’re not alone. There are many different possibilities to consider.

We’ll look at a few of the common symptoms associated with a tingling scalp. Once you know how to identify some of these problems, you can treat them faster and get rid of the annoying and uncomfortable sensation.


Paresthesia is another name for the prickling and numb sensation in your skin. In the case of your scalp, it can be linked to nerve conditions or even anxiety conditions.

Symptoms of paresthesia in the head linked to anxiety include:

  • You can feel the sensation in other parts of your body
  • It feels like your brain is ‘tingling.’
  • The tingling sensation can also make your scalp feel numb

Disorders like panic attacks are often linked to this problem. If you find that the tingling on your scalp tends to flare up after a nervous or fearful episode, you may be able to associate it with anxiety. It can also occur in moments of high stress.

Understanding if the paresthesia of your scalp is linked to an anxiety issue means you’ll need to know the symptoms of that problem, too. Anxiety disorders come in a variety of different symptoms.

If you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or even depressed, you may want to seek out mental health treatment for anxiety or get an official diagnosis.

Muscle Tension

Another common cause of scalp tingling is muscle tension in the neck. This can happen for a variety of different reasons. Perhaps you twisted your neck the wrong way. Maybe you slept in an awkward position for a long time. You may not even know why you have muscle tension in the neck, but if it’s linked to a tingling scalp, you can put the two conditions together fairly easily.

Most of the time, muscle tension can be treated with over-the-counter medication or things like heat. A massage can help, too. Though, it just takes time for the stiffness to work its way out.

The good part about this particular problem is that it often goes away on its own. If you’re experiencing muscle tension and a numb-feeling scalp at the same time, take comfort in knowing it probably won’t last long.


Menopause comes with a handful of notable symptoms. Some women experience a crawling scalp with things like hot flashes. If you’re around the age that menopause starts to show up (48-55 years) and you suddenly feel a tingling sensation with other symptoms, this could be the cause.

One thing to note is that when it comes to menopause, you’ll probably feel this crawling sensation in other areas of the body, too. It likely won’t be limited to the scalp.

There is no real ‘treatment’ for menopause. It is a hormonal change that happens to women when they reach a certain age. Hormone and dietary supplements can be given to reduce some of the symptoms. Relaxation techniques are also popular for many women. If the tingling feeling in your body and scalp become problematic, you can look into these management options to feel better.

Nerve Trauma

Damage to the nerves anywhere on the body can cause paresthesia. It’s usually less likely to experience this type of damage to the nerves on your head. But, it’s possible. Any accident or situation that causes pressure to the nerves of the scalp can lead to a feeling of pins and needles.

Most of the time, nerve damage will heal. Unless the nerve is completely dead, the sensation of crawling skin won’t last forever. If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of your foot ‘falling asleep,’ the sensation on your scalp will be similar.

Once the nerves can get back to their normal state, it should go away. This is one of the best case scenarios for a tingling scalp. There is not much you can do to speed up the process. But, no medications or types of therapy are required.


Migraines can be a debilitating experience for those who have to suffer through them. On top of the pain, sensitivity to light, and even nausea they can create, you may also feel pins and needles on your scalp.

Feeling paresthesia on your scalp due to a migraine can make the underlying problem seem even worse.

Common symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Pain in the face or neck
  • Dizziness
  • Throbbing headache

Migraine sufferers are usually aware of their symptoms. If you’re starting to experience pins and needles on top of it, treating the migraine is the best option. Sometimes, over-the-counter medication can help. If you have chronic migraines, though, a prescription treatment may be needed.

Sinus Infection

You may not think sinus issues could affect your scalp, but they are closely linked. An itchy, tingling scalp is often associated with a sinus infection. The infection itself can cause pressure all over your head. This pressure can make it feel as though your head is tingling or itching.

Many times, sinus infections go hand-in-hand with migraines. That could double up the problem of experiencing pins and needles on your scalp.

Sinus infections usually come with symptoms like pain in the face or ears, and even fatigue, fever, and tenderness. Some people even experience swelling, which may also contribute to the tingling feeling on your scalp.

An acute sinus infection can usually be taken care of with over-the-counter pain medication. Nasal rinses like saline can also help to get rid of the pain and discomfort. If you frequently get these infections, though, you may need an antibiotic.

Hair Loss and Scalp Picking

Sometimes, a tingling scalp can be the result of a skin or scalp condition. Skin problems like eczema, head lice, or psoriasis can lead to hair loss. They may trigger you to start itching and scratching at your scalp regularly. Picking at the scalp can also contribute to hair loss.

Scratching and picking at your scalp is never a good idea. It can be dangerous and put you at risk for infection. Scratching at the scalp could cause your skin to bleed. If that happens, bacteria and debris could get inside the sore. If your scalp becomes infected, it will need to be treated with the right kind of medication.

Aside from causing pain and discomfort, hair loss and scalp picking could lead to a tingling sensation. Sometimes, the conditions that cause hair loss can lead to a feeling of pressure on the scalp. Some people describe this as a numbing sensation, which can make the head feel like it’s tingling.

Strange sensation on the scalp

Product Allergy

One of the most common causes for a tingly scalp is a product allergy. One or more ingredients in the shampoo you use or another hair care product may be the culprit. Skin allergies can be painful and cause inflammation as well. Other reactions include scalp dryness, itching, and redness. If you think you may be allergic to a certain ingredient in your hair products, stop using them immediately.

A quick way to remedy this particular problem is to switch your shampoo to something natural like Christina Moss Naturals. It’s not impossible to have an allergic reaction from natural products. But, it is far less likely. When you’re able to know which ingredients are in the formula, you’ll have a better idea of how your skin reacts.

Improper Hair Care

Using the right hair products is important. But, it’s also important to make sure you’re taking care of your hair and scalp, to begin with. Improper hair care can lead to a lot of different conditions. It can cause your scalp to become dry and itchy. It can also cause a buildup of debris, dirt, and oil.

While most of the time, this will only cause your scalp to itch (and even flake), it can lead to a tingling sensation, too. If you’re experiencing this problem and can’t relate to any of the suggestions on this list, take a look at your hair care routine.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is one of the more serious issues that could cause a feeling of pins and needles on your head. It is a rare disease, but a tingling scalp is a common symptom. This illness is an autoimmune problem. It attacks your nervous system, which helps to explain the tingling sensation.

Unfortunately, that sensation is only one minor symptom of this serious disease. It can lead to loss of balance and muscle weakness. Sometimes, it can prevent a person from being able to walk. Multiple Sclerosis is treated with things like physical therapy and medications. But, it is a progressive disease. There is no official cure as of today.

Obviously, it’s important not to jump to conclusions about MS. As you can see, there are many other conditions that can cause a tingling scalp. This is a rare disorder, and it’s much more likely that the sensation you’re feeling is caused by one of the other options listed in this article.

But, if you do feel as though you may have other symptoms of MS, getting a diagnosis early is imperative.

My scalp has pins and needles

How to Treat a Tingling Scalp

Depending on what’s causing the sensation of pins and needles, to begin with, a tingling scalp is often treatable. In fact, many of these problems will go away on their own. Some may take an over-the-counter treatment. But, once the underlying condition is gone or managed, the paresthesia should be, too.

In some cases, though, the underlying condition could be something severe and serious. Immediate medical attention may be needed to treat it correctly. The concept doesn’t change: Treat the condition before treating your scalp. Once the condition is taken care of, the symptoms should fade away.

Should I Be Concerned About Scalp Pins and Needles?

Most of the time, a tingling scalp is nothing to be overly concerned about. It’s important, though, to figure out what is causing the problem. Take a look at any more symptoms you might be experiencing. Because there are so many possibilities that could cause your scalp to crawl, the other symptoms are what can tell you what might be going on.

If you can’t figure out what other symptoms you might be going through, seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes, skin conditions can be hard to self-diagnose. This is especially true for conditions of the scalp that can be hard to see under hair, etc.

Self-treating the problem is fairly common for most of the options listed here. It is a good idea to develop a healthy hair care routine. Additionally, avoid things that might trigger the tingling sensation.

We hope this guide has given you a better idea of what might be causing your scalp to crawl. The more you know about these possibilities, the easier it will be to get rid of the strange and annoying feeling reasonably quickly.

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.