Is Scalp Pain Serious?

Scalp pain can vary from person to person and range from milder sensations such as scalp tenderness to sharp pains in the scalp. Of course, we all know that hair itself has no nerves and that any pain associated with your hair is actually experienced by the nerves in the skin of the scalp. This is why although it may not seem like it, it’s actually your hair follicles that hurt rather than your hair itself. There are several symptoms of scalp pain that can be an indication of other health conditions. These may include headaches, contact allergies, eczema, scalp psoriasis, and even dandruff. But what causes this pain and is there something you can do about it? Luckily, the answer is yes. We explore the reasons why below.

Sore scalp causes

The causes of a sore scalp can be numerous and relate to different health conditions, leading to issues such as slight irritation or even inflammation of the skin on your head. This could be a result of factors such as scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), scalp folliculitis, allergic contact dermatitis, stress, ponytail headache and burning scalp syndrome (scalp dysesthesia). However these are not the only causes of a sore scalp and there are several others you should be aware of. For example, these may include:

  • Skin disorders: skin disorders typically result in itchy rashes and swellings. However, you may also experience blisters, crusts or even flaky skin. In some cases, this could be the skin’s reaction to common items including metals, soaps, cosmetics, water, laundry detergents, hair products and others. 
  • Infections: while some scalp infections are not serious and can be treated, others can lead to hair loss. Infections, however, should be addressed expeditiously because sometimes they can result in puss emerging from skin lesions. In addition to this, infections can not only be painful to your scalp but they can also go as far back as the neck or even your armpits. 
  • Infestations: no one would like to think that they have bugs in their hair but lice is a common insect that likes to make its way into people’s hair. The dangers of lice is that they spread very quickly and they’re contagious. What’s worse is that they can live on your scalp or body for up to 30 days, while their eggs can last even longer. Ultimately, a lice infestation can result in itchiness and red bumps, which can sometimes emit a liquid. Seeking immediate medical attention is highly recommended.
  • Headaches: scalp pain can also be a consequence of headaches, and there are many different types of headaches. From tension headaches to migraines, these can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, depression or anxiety. 
  • Temporal arteritis: this occurs when the temporal artery (which runs along the side of your head) becomes inflamed. As a result, it will be very sensitive to touch and can lead to other ailments such as jaw pain, headaches and visual problems.
  • Other possibilities: the natural elements are another possibility for you to experience scalp pain. These can vary from the very hot (sunburn and heat) to the very cold (cold temperatures and wind). 

Preventing and dealing with scalp pain

Scalp pain is uncomfortable to say the least and there are some steps you can take to either prevent it from occurring or minimise its effects. 

For starters, it’s highly advisable to seek medical help for skin conditions even if they do not directly affect your scalp because they ultimately could lead to that. These conditions include eczema and psoriasis. 

Also worth bearing in mind is to regularly maintain your hair. Wash it frequently but do not go overboard with extra hot water. Brush it gently and use the right shampoos and conditioners for your skin type to avoid any allergic reactions. 

Hair products that contain alcohol, such as some hair sprays and gels, should also be avoided. The reason for this is because they can strip your hair of vital moisture. 

In conclusion

Although there may be several different causes to scalp pain, and each cause should be treated differently, there are some steps you can take to minimise and reduce scalp pain. If, however, your scalp is feeling extremely itchy, you’re experiencing burning sensations, ooze or puss are coming out of lesions or other similar symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.