My brain is feeling numb

Numbness in Head: Why Does It Happen?

What causes head numbness?

Numbness, sometimes referred to as paresthesia, is common in arms, legs, hands, and feet. It’s less common in your head. Most of the time, head paresthesia isn’t cause for alarm.

Read on to find out more about the most common causes of head numbness.

Numbness is often associated with other sensations, such as:

  • tingling
  • prickling
  • burning
  • pins and needles

People who have head numbness may also have difficulty feeling touch or temperature on their scalp or face.

Because so many conditions can cause head numbness, many other symptoms can occur at the same time. For instance, numbness in the head caused by the common cold may be accompanied by nasal congestion, sore throat, or a cough.

Seek medical help if you experience head numbness along with:

  • a head injury
  • numbness in other parts of your body
  • numbness in an entire arm or leg
  • weakness in your face or other parts of your body
  • confusion or difficulty speaking
  • difficulty breathing
  • vision problems
  • a sudden, unusually painful headache
  • loss of bladder or bowel control

Numbness on one side of your face can also be a sign of a stroke. Learn how to identify the symptoms of a stroke in order to act quickly.

Numbness has a lot of potential causes, including illnesses, medication, and injuries. Most of these conditions affect the nerves responsible for sensation in your scalp and head.

There are several major nerve clusters connecting your brain with different parts of your face and head. When nerves are inflamed, compressed, or damaged, numbness can occur. Reduced or blocked blood supply can also cause numbness. Some causes of head numbness include:

Autoimmune disorders

Diabetes can cause permanent nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy. Numbness is also a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system.

Sinus conditions

  • allergic rhinitis
  • common cold
  • sinusitis


  • anticonvulsants
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • illicit drugs and alcohol


  • cluster headaches
  • eyestrain headaches
  • migraines
  • tension headaches


  • encephalitis
  • Lyme disease
  • shingles
  • tooth infections


Injuries directly to your head or brain such as concussions and head trauma can cause numbness if they damage nerves.

Other conditions

  • brain tumors
  • high blood pressure
  • poor posture
  • seizures
  • stroke

Waking up with numbness in your head can be a sign that you’re sleeping in a position that restricts blood flow to a nerve. Try sleeping on your back or on your side with your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position. If on your side, a pillow between your knees can help the alignment of your back.

Choose the right pillow based on whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper.

Numbness can occur unilaterally on one side of your head. Sometimes, the entire right or left side of your head is affected. In other cases, it’s just one part of the right or left side of the head, such as the temple or the back of your head.

Some of the most common conditions that can affect one side of your head include:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • infections
  • migraines
  • MS

Find out what may be causing numbness on the left side of your face.

People with anxiety sometimes report numbness or tingling in their head. For some, a panic attack might trigger numbness and tingling in the scalp, face, and other areas of the body.

While little is known about the link between anxiety and head numbness, it likely has to do with the body’s fight-or-flight response. Blood flow is directed towards areas that can help you fight a threat or escape it. Without adequate blood flow, other parts of your body may be left feeling temporarily numb or tingly.

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms and medical history. For instance, they might ask when the numbness began and whether other symptoms appeared around the same time.

Your doctor may also prescribe one or more of the following tests to help identify the cause of your head numbness:

  • blood tests
  • neurological exams
  • nerve conduction studies and electromyography
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • nerve biopsy

Since many conditions cause head numbness, it may take some time to identify what’s causing your symptoms.

Once you get a diagnosis, treatments usually address the underlying condition. For instance, if your head numbness is caused by diabetes, treatment will focus on stabilizing blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and insulin treatments.

Over-the-counter medication may be used to treat colds and mild to moderate headaches.

If posture is causing head numbness, try changing your position, using ergonomic aids, or moving more often. Certain exercises, including deep breathing, may also help with posture.

Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage may improve blood circulation and relieve head numbness.

You should contact your doctor if your head numbness appears after you start taking medication.

Head numbness has many possible causes, including illness, medication, and injuries. Causes of head numbness like common cold, headaches, or sleeping positions aren’t cause for alarm.

Numbness in your head usually goes away with treatment. You should talk with a doctor if you have concerns and if your head numbness is interfering with your day-to-day activities.

Causes and Treatment for Emotional Numbness

Feeling emotionally numb or a general lack of emotion can be a symptom of several different medical conditions or a side effect of some medications.

Emotional numbness creates a sense of emptiness, isolation, or emotional disconnect from the rest of the world. The numbness can be unbearable for many people who experience it.

Find out what it’s like, why it happens, and how to manage and prevent it.

Emotional numbness, also sometimes called emotional blunting, can be difficult to imagine if you have not experienced it.

Some people describe it as feeling emptiness or despondency, while others report feeling isolated. Some feel as though they have no future or that there is no hope for the numbness to ever fade.

“Often I feel invisible, like I’m a ghost. I watch my family engaging with each other, but feel like there’s an invisible barrier that keeps me from joining them,” describes Amy H., who has experienced emotional numbness from depression. “I’m like a submarine drifting undetected, picking up on other people’s emotions like sonar. However, if you were to ask me what my own feelings are, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”

Rebecca C.* has a similar experience with numbness caused by depression: “The world around me often seems slightly superficial, [like] I am simply going through the motions and can’t connect to my environment,” she explains. “It makes me feel as if there were analog TV static in my brain. I am unable to communicate or think deeply.”

Some people describe emotional numbness as feeling unfocused or ungrounded.

“It basically feels like when you zone out before you go to sleep,” Amanda D. said. “Feels like being unfocused. And sometimes, especially right when you are going through it, it’s really hard to understand how the world keeps moving when it should have stopped.”

*Some names have been changed at the request of interviewees.

There are a number of different things that can cause emotional numbness to occur. While depression and anxiety are the most common causes, others include the following:

  • Stress and stress hormones: Elevated cortisol levels can lead to emotional numbness in some people.
  • PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may change your stress hormone levels, can be tied to depression, anxiety, and symptoms like emotional numbness.
  • Medication: Some medications used to treat anxiety and depression affect how the brain processes mood and emotion. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect serotonin levels in your brain, which could also alter dopamine levels. Most evidence is anecdotal, but a 2021 review of research suggests this could explain medication-induced emotional numbing.
  • Depersonalization-derealization disorder: People with depersonalization-derealization disorder may experience numbness in their minds or bodies.
  • Fatigue: Experiencing physical fatigue and burnout could lead some people to have emotional blunting.

Despite how it may feel, emotional numbness is not permanent. Treatment is available to provide both immediate relief and long-term remission.

The first step in treating emotional numbness is to identify and treat the underlying cause. A healthcare professional can help with this, or they may refer you to a mental health professional.

You’ll be asked what medications you take and what other symptoms you have. If your doctor thinks one of your medications is to blame, they may substitute it with something else.

If you do not already have a mental health professional, the FindCare tool can help you locate one in your area.

Immediate relief options

To start getting more immediate relief from emotional numbness, you can also try several treatment options:

Make an appointment with a mental health professional

A mental health professional can offer coping techniques to help you regain your feelings. Some professionals, like psychiatrists, can prescribe different medications.

While antidepressants typically take up to 6 weeks to start working, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication like benzodiazepines or beta-blockers for you to take while the other drug builds in your system.

Rely on your support system

Even if you’re having trouble connecting, reach out to the people who love you. They may be able to help you connect, and you may find relief in telling them what you’re going through.


When you’re feeling numb, the last thing you may want to do is get up and move, but it’s one of the best things you can do.

Running, swimming, yoga, and kickboxing classes are all great for stress relief, but even just taking a walk around the neighborhood can help flood your brain with endorphins. To get the best results, exercise daily.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night could help improve your mood.

Long-term care

For long-term methods of treatment and prevention of emotional numbness, you may want to follow these tactics:

Eat a healthful diet: By eating nutrient-dense foods, you fuel your body to work at its best. Specifically, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods can improve mood regulation.

Minimize stress: Minimizing stress or improving how you manage it can positively affect your body, reduce stress hormones, and help you regain emotional feeling. Reduce the stressors in your life, and practice stress-busting techniques like meditation or mindfulness to better manage stress.

Learn to identify and express emotions: For those who have been emotionally numb for an extended time, it can be difficult to identify or process different emotions. A mental health professional can help with this. Make an appointment with a professional in your area who can help you tap into your emotions.

If you’re experiencing emotional numbness, know that no matter how you feel, you aren’t alone, and it won’t last forever.

Reach out to the people you love and make an appointment with a mental health professional. They can help you bridge the gap and bring you one step closer to feeling your feelings.

Numbness in the legs. Reasons and what to do?

April 23, 2019

Numbness in the legs, causes. What to do?

During their lifetime, anyone can experience a feeling of numbness in the legs. Numbness can be short-term or long-term, acute or chronic, local or widespread, unilateral or bilateral. The causes of numbness can be both injuries and diseases of the organs of the nervous system, and diseases of the endocrine, vascular systems, as well as metabolic disorders. What are the main causes of numbness in the legs? And what to do? nine0003

1. Acute numbness in the legs as a result of acute cerebrovascular accident (stroke). Numbness occurs as a result of damage to a certain part of the brain.

2. Acute numbness in the legs due to acute arterial thrombosis. Blockage of a large artery by a thrombus with subsequent lack of blood supply to the leg.

3. Acute numbness in the legs as a result of a fracture of the spine, in combination with contusion or rupture of the spinal cord. nine0003

Any acute numbness in the legs requires emergency hospitalization of a person in a medical institution!

4. Obliterating atherosclerosis of the legs. Blockage of atherosclerotic plaques in the large arteries of the legs. It is more common in older people.

5. Obliterating endarteritis. Gradual narrowing of small arteries up to their complete closure. The process is usually bilateral and more often develops in young and middle-aged people. nine0003

6. Numbness of the legs in women during menopause due to hormonal changes.

7. Numbness of the legs in osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine with the presence of herniated intervertebral discs and compression of the roots of the spinal cord.

8. Diabetes mellitus, in which neuroangiopathy develops (damage to small vessels and nerves of the legs).

9. Numbness associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12- is necessary for maintaining the function of the nervous tissue, as it takes part in the formation of myelin - a protective layer of nerve cells. In the human body, this vitamin is not formed, but comes from food. Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in foods of animal origin (eggs, dairy, soy, seafood, beef liver). Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency is common in vegetarians. Also, a low level of this vitamin in the elderly, alcoholics, diabetics, people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, people constantly sitting on a vegetable diet. nine0003

10. Numbness with varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, which is associated with disruption of the deep veins, congestion, the development of "heavy legs syndrome" and muscle weakness.

11. Numbness in the legs with chronic stress, anxiety. This is due to chronic muscle tension, concomitant spasm of blood vessels, small nerves. Numbness is local.

12. Numbness in the legs of smokers. Nicotine leads to an increase in cholesterol levels, blockage of blood vessels, and also to spasm of peripheral vessels. nine0003

13. Numbness in multiple sclerosis due to damage to the myelin sheaths of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord.

14. Numbness in chronic alcoholism due to nerve damage (alcoholic polyneuropathy).

15. Numbness as a result of toxic neuropathy in case of poisoning with industrial poisons (mercury, arsenic, tetralead, carbon disulfide), as well as in case of damage to the nervous system by drugs.

Examination Standard for Numbness in Legs

If the cause of numbness in the legs at the initial examination is difficult to determine, the following tests should be performed:

1. Clinical blood test.

2. Blood test for Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

3. Blood test - Detailed diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.

4. Ultrasonic duplex (triplex) scanning of veins and arteries (anatomy of blood vessels, blood flow, accurate assessment of vascular patency in color mode). nine0003

5. MRI of the lumbar spine to rule out herniated discs.

6. MRI of the brain to rule out multiple sclerosis.

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Diseases of the peripheral nerves and plexuses

Peripheral nervous system is a conditionally distinguished part of the nervous system, located outside the brain and spinal cord, consists of cranial and spinal nerves that form the cervicobrachial and lumbosacral plexus, as well as nerves and plexuses of the autonomic nervous system, connecting the central nervous system with skeletal muscles and internal organs. nine0003

Most neurological diseases associated with the peripheral nervous system involve dysfunction of the peripheral nerves and associated muscles. Accordingly, in the pathology of the nerve, all its functions can suffer: firstly, sensitivity, which is necessary for transmitting information from different parts of the body to the brain, secondly, the motor function, carried out by contraction of skeletal muscles and, thirdly, trophic the function of the nerve, the defeat of which causes the so-called "trophic changes" of certain parts of the body. In addition, nerve damage can lead to severe pain, which often requires special treatment. nine0003

Of course, the symptoms characteristic of diseases of the peripheral nervous system, such as numbness, muscle weakness and pain, may have a different genesis and cause of development, which the doctor must determine in order to develop the correct treatment tactics.

For an accurate diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe an examination, including neurophysiological methods (stimulation electroneuromyography, needle electromyography, brain evoked potentials) and neuroimaging methods (MRI, CT, ultrasound). nine0003


Decreased sensation leads to numbness of some part of the body, decreased control of limb function, which can be perceived as awkwardness of the arm or leg and prevent the patient from performing habitual actions, especially those associated with small and precise movements, the so-called fine motor skills. Long-term constant numbness of the face, arm or leg often exhausts patients, is very painful for them and may be accompanied by fear of a latent progressive disease. Therefore, even isolated numbness requires prompt and correct treatment. Also, a decrease in sensitivity can lead to impaired walking, gait instability, when the patient complains that he has ceased to feel support and is forced to "stamp" his every step, as well as difficulty in maintaining balance. nine0003

Muscle weakness

A decrease in muscle strength leads to weakness of both individual and several muscles, as well as entire muscle groups. The patient may complain of double vision, voice change, deterioration of articulation, impaired swallowing, and breathing. There may also be complaints of weakness in the hands, when, for example, it is difficult for a person to perform the usual actions of buttoning up buttons on a shirt, turning a key in a lock, or mastering more professional skills: working with a needle and thread, playing a musical instrument. Weakness in the legs may make it difficult to sit/get up from a low chair, and the patient must rely on his hands to stand up or "flop" into a chair when squatting. Often, muscle weakness may not be noticeable to the patient, for example, the so-called "horse foot" is manifested by difficulty in extension of the foot, leads to the inability to take a full step based on the heel and does not allow a person to run. Often such a problem is not accompanied by pain and significant numbness and is detected by the patient's relatives or when trying to switch from walking to running. nine0003

Trophic changes

Trophic changes are called changes in a certain part of the body resulting from a break in the connection of a nerve with a limited area of ​​tissues or an organ. As a result, there are changes in the skin, hairline, nails, subcutaneous fat and even bones. In some chronic pain syndromes (Zudek's syndrome), the skin in the corresponding area becomes thinner, the muscles atrophy, the vascular network changes, the hair and legs become brittle, the bones decrease and become thinner. nine0003


Medical pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with or described in terms of actual or potential tissue damage (IASP definition). Thus, pain is a complex feeling associated with existing or possible organic damage, since it is usually accompanied by an emotional experience. Pain syndrome significantly reduces the quality of life of patients and requires regular use of painkillers or restrictions on movement and daily activities of a person. Sometimes the pain bothers at night and interferes with proper sleep and rest. To identify the cause of pain, many factors and levels of damage must be considered, starting with the terminal branch of a particular nerve and continuing to look at higher levels of the brachial or lumbosacral plexus, spinal cord, and sometimes the brain. nine0003

The most common diseases of the peripheral nervous system:

  • Damage to the spinal nerves (radiculopathy) . Most often, the defeat of the spinal nerves occurs intervertebral hernias, which are usually found in the lumbosacral and less often in the cervical spine. Manifested by pain in the lower back, neck with the spread of pain in the arm or leg.

  • Stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal , which usually develops in the lumbosacral spine, is manifested by weakness and pain in the legs associated with being in an upright position or walking relatively short distances.

  • Scalene muscle syndrome with compression of the brachial plexus bundles develops in the shoulder-shoulder region. It is manifested by pain, numbness in various areas of the arm, shoulder, less often the chest and shoulder blades, weakness and awkwardness of the hand may also occur. Piriformis Syndrome - a severe spasm of this muscle, located next to the sciatic nerve deep in the gluteal region, is more common in people with developed muscles, drivers. Manifested by pain on the back of the leg to the heel, numbness. nine0003

  • Tunnel neuropathies often occur in the carpal, elbow, ankle joints, manifested by burning, pain, numbness in the fingers and less often legs, weakness, awkwardness when performing fine motor skills.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist by ligaments and tendons. It is manifested by burning, pain, later numbness in all fingers except the little finger, the symptoms are aggravated at night and in the morning. nine0003

  • Ulnar nerve neuropathy is due to compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow joint. It is manifested by numbness in the little finger and ring finger, weakness of finger flexion, hypotrophy of some muscles of the hand. It occurs more often in men, it is associated with a chronic elbow injury in athletes, a forced position of the left hand in drivers.

  • Neuropathy of the peroneal nerve (horse foot syndrome) is manifested by weakness of foot extension or dangling foot, usually not accompanied by pain. Men over 40 suffer more often.

  • Radial nerve neuropathy occurs after sleeping in an uncomfortable position, surgical treatment of a fracture of the humerus, since the nerve has many bends on the arm and is characterized by increased sensitivity to pressure.

  • Sciatic neuropathy occurs more often in women over 50. It presents with pain, numbness and weakness in the leg, the symptoms begin from the gluteal or lumbar region and go down the back of the thigh and down to the foot. The reason may be in chronic inflammatory changes in the joints of the pelvic bones, pelvic organs. nine0003

  • Brachial plexitis (inflammation of the brachial plexus, neuralgic amyotrophy) is manifested by severe and debilitating pain, weakness and numbness in the shoulder and upper arms.

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