Numbness in the scalp has quite a few causes, including some very surprising ones – as well as multiple sclerosis.

However, if your entire scalp is numb, and you have MS, there is at least one cause of this numbness that’s not related to the MS.

“MS does not generally cause a completely numb scalp because the nerves that supply the scalp come from multiple different parts of the nervous system,” says Mitzi J. Williams, MD, clinical neurologist with Morehouse School of Medicine, an MS specialist and clinical advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

“The nerves that supply the posterior [back] portion of the scalp are in the spinal cord, and the nerves that supply the frontal part of the scalp originate from the brain.

“It is not likely that both of these areas would be affected on both sides to cause numbness of the complete scalp.”

If your whole scalp is numb and you’ve been diagnosed with MS, then here are some other causes of a numb or tingling sensation involving the scalp:

• Alcohol

• Anxiety

• Concussion

• Diabetes

• Drugs (e.g., illegal, chemotherapy)

• Headaches

• Infections

• Sinus conditions

• Sleep position

• Unknown

If your only symptoms is numbness of the scalp, and you have not been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the odds weigh heavily in your favor that you do not have MS.

Mitzi Williams, MD

Dr. Williams is author of “MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis.” She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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