Scalp Tenderness: What Are Its Causes And How To Get Rid It?

In majority of people scalp remains less noticeable as it is covered with hair. People do not give much importance to scalp as compared to hair. Pain and tenderness on scalp can cause lot of discomfort and annoyance. A person may experience difficulty while combing his hair.

Soreness and sensitivity of scalp can be due to minor health issues or related to serious systemic disease.

The pain on scalp is actually the pain on head. Scalp tenderness can range from mild to severe. It can be acute and short lived or chronic and persist for long time. In majority of cases, scalp tenderness is associated with local issues and lifestyle problems.

What Causes Scalp Pain And Tenderness?

Tenderness, tingling and burning in scalp area can be due to variety of causes. Scalp tenderness can largely be divided into three categories. The problem may arise due to injury to the head, any skin conditions or due to headache. The scalp becomes sore and tender when the sensory nerve which innervates scalp skin is damaged. This damage can result due to an injury to head or the skull.

  • Cancer on scalp area, inflammation of blood vessels, and brain tumor can produce sensitivity of scalp. While performing any brain surgery for tumor or an injury inside the brain, the scalp skin has to be incised. And throughout the surgery scalp skin remains pulled, as a result there is risk of sensory nerve damage.
  • Headache whether it is migraine, tension headache or cluster headache, all have common symptom of scalp tenderness. The problem may be due to stressed muscles or the tissues in scalp region or it can be simply due to throbbing during headache.
  • Skin diseases on scalp area can lead to tenderness. The most common is sunburn. Scalp skin becomes sensitive and sore due to sunburn on scalp area. The skin becomes red and swollen. It may be extremely tender and painful, especially when there is associated headache.
  • Contact dermatitis caused due to hair dye can make scalp skin raw, tender and sore. Some people are allergic to the chemicals present in hair dye. These chemicals can cause irritation on scalp skin.
  • Fungal infection such as ringworm infection is another important cause for tenderness on scalp. The red patches of ringworm are tender to touch and sometimes extremely itchy.
  • Psoriasis of scalp can cause tenderness and itching. Scratching can sometimes cause bleeding and inflammation which may lead to pain and tenderness of the area around scalp.
  • Lice are common parasites which may cause soreness and tenderness in scalp. Scratching and itching on head due to lice infection makes the skin sensitive and tender.
  • Tying your hair too tightly can damage the hair follicle. It may result in inflammation and sometimes infection of the hair follicle.

How To Get Rid Of Scalp Tenderness?

To treat scalp tenderness it is important to diagnose the underlying cause.

  • If hair dye is suspected to be the reason for sore and tender scalp, avoid using the dye. Also antihistamines and local steroidal cream application for few days may reduce itching and swelling.
  • Avoid tying your hair too tight. Alternately change your hair style to reduce pressure on scalp. This will help to relieve the problem to great extent.
  • Mild pain killers will reduce inflammation and pain. Painkillers will block the pain signals and thus help to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis of scalp, eczema, sunburn may require to be treated with medications. Most often applying aloe vera gel on sunburn will relieve itching and pain. For psoriasis of scalp, conventional medications are useful.
  • Scalp massage will increase blood circulation and alleviate damage caused to the scalp sensory nerves.
  • Certain other alternative therapies such as acupressure and acupuncture are also beneficial to alleviate scalp tenderness.

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