What is scalp pain?

Scalp pain is a common symptom of head injury, headaches, and skin conditions. It may result from trauma to the head region, including the brain, skull or scalp. It can occur in conditions that cause headaches or skin irritation, or in more generalized conditions, such as cancer.

Trauma to the head is a common cause of scalp pain. It includes brain injury, skull fracture, or concussion, all of which may occur immediately after the traumatic episode or up to several hours or days afterward. A brain contusion (bruising) from trauma may also result in scalp pain and may indicate bleeding or swelling inside the skull.

Headaches can lead to scalp pain and to pain in any area of the face, neck or head. Several types of headaches may cause scalp pain, such as migraine, sinus headache, tension headache, and those caused by nerve involvement such as occipital neuralgia. Other conditions can result in pain, infection or irritation to the scalp, such as contact dermatitis, lesions from head lice, and basal cell carcinoma or other skin cancers.

Scalp pain can indicate a serious condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience scalp pain with any of the following symptoms: sudden blindness in one or both eyes, confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment; blood or fluid draining from your nose, mouth or ears; uncontrolled jerky movements; numbness following injury to the head, neck or back; sensory changes (vision, hearing, smelling); seizure; or unequal size of pupils.

If you are being treated for scalp pain and it is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with scalp pain?

Scalp pain may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the head may also involve other body systems.

Headache symptoms that may occur with scalp pain

Scalp pain may accompany other symptoms related to headache including:


What causes scalp pain?

There are various causes of scalp pain, including trauma, headache or infection. Injuries to the head, neck, scalp, skull or brain are commonly associated with scalp pain. Headaches may cause scalp pain as the result of vascular swelling, muscular tension, or nerve pain. Scalp pain is also caused by any condition that infects or irritates the surface of the scalp itself, such as skin disorders ... Read more about scalp paincauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

Top Features in Skin, Hair and Nails

15 Ways To Get Better Medicine

People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill, and live longer, healthier lives.