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Q. I have constant numbness and tingling at the back of head and neck. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Gursimran
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 21, 2020

Hello doctor,

I have constant numbness in the back of the head (at occipital area), tingling or weakness feeling in the scalp or upper neck. When I massage my scalp my whole head tingles. It has been there for approximately three weeks.

I have prolapsed C5-C6 disc which is pressing the nerve and I am having an injection for that in a few weeks. (Spinal surgeon said that the location of issue I am reporting here would not be affected by C5-C6 area compression). It feels like another nerve may be affected or compressed in my occipital area or back of my head.

Dr. Gursimran



Welcome to

The disc problem could well be absolutely another issue. Prolapsed disc can cause pain and numbness in the radicular pattern. I also need to check your cervical spine MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) report.

How much Clonazepam do you take? We need to be careful about the injection that you get. Numbness behind the head could be a side effect of the injections.

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Thank you doctor,

Please find attached a copy of my cervical spine MRI report. I have not yet had any injection. I was taking only 1 x 2 mg Clonazepam for 12 days, which worked well, but my doctor said I could not take them any longer. So they switched me to Pregabalin which has not worked yet and I have been taking it for over a week.

Dr. Gursimran



Welcome back to

Thanks for sending the MRI report (attachment removed to protect patient identiy).

The most important thing I gather is that your spinal cord is not getting compressed. The radicle which comes out of each cervical segment (C4 and C5 in your case) scan get compressed and cause radicular symptoms that you are experiencing. Numbness at the occipital region is not because of the disc problem. For the present problem, a good cervical collar will help you. Take Pregabalin 75 mg at night and then increasing it to 150 mg. Clonazepam can be habit forming, so the doctor best discontinued it. Please schedule an appointment with a physio for neck physiotherapy. Injection should ideally be the next option.

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