Sudden Warm Sensation in the Head: Another Effect of MS?

Back of head hot

As a neurological condition, multiple sclerosis (MS) can produce random, uncomfortable, and even painful sensations in various parts of the body. Although the more common symptoms include muscle spasms, the MS hug, numbness, and fatigue, MS can also cause unusual physical sensations, such as feelings related to temperature.

One myMSteam member asked, “Has anyone else had a warm sensation in their head or brain?”

If you have MS, it’s important to know that symptoms include a range of central nervous system issues, including unusual feelings called altered sensations or paresthesias. Here, we discuss possible reasons your head might feel abnormally warm and what you should do if you experience this type of symptom.

Altered Sensations Discussed on MyMSTeam

Members of MyMSTeam have experienced altered sensations, including those related to an unusually warm head. One member explained, “I was suddenly awakened this morning around 4:30 a.m. with this weird, almost burning, sensation on the right side of my head and brain area.”

Another described a similar sensation triggered by external factors: “If it is a hot day, I can get an intense feeling of being hot in my face and head. Usually, I get a little disoriented and dizzy, too.”

Altered sensations vary among people living with MS. One MyMSteam member mentioned a slightly different experience: “If we are talking about the same feeling, it felt like warm fluid was moving through my head.” Many sensory symptoms are not painful, but they can be disconcerting. “It was really creepy, but it didn’t hurt per se,” shared one MyMSTeam member.

These feelings can happen at any stage of MS. “When I first started having symptoms, I remember that the top of my head felt like it was burning,” one member said, adding that the symptom was resolved through MS treatment: “I haven’t felt my head burning since I got on all of this medicine.”

Altered Sensations as a Symptom of MS

If you’re living with MS, you may be familiar with altered sensations in different parts of your body. Altered sensations are fairly common and are sometimes the first symptom of MS. Although considered a type of neuropathic (nerve) pain, these sensations don’t always feel painful.

In addition to temperature-related changes, common altered sensations include:

  • Itchiness
  • Wetness
  • Trickling
  • Crawling
  • Numbness
  • Feeling of electric shock

Doctors may refer to those sensations as paresthesias. When the sensations are painful, they are called dysesthesias. Common dysesthesias include:

  • Stabbing
  • Pricking
  • Burning

The next time you experience altered sensations, think about how to best describe them. Do they hurt? When did they start? How long did they last? What made them go away? Recognizing patterns can help you avoid triggering altered sensations and MS paresthesias and give you strategies to better deal with them when they do occur.

Reasons Your Head Might Feel Hot

A sensation of warmth in the face, on the scalp, or inside the head can occur for many reasons. For someone with MS, these feelings are likely caused by nerve damage.

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease that disrupts the nerves that carry sensory information between your brain and spinal cord. MS produces dysfunction in the immune system, resulting in damage and lesions to myelin — the protective layer around nerve cells.

This damage can cause your nerves to produce random signals and send them to your brain, which may confuse these random signals with sensations that are more familiar but aren’t occurring, such as outside temperature changes. This phenomenon is a reason you may experience altered sensations, like warmth or coldness, although the actual temperature hasn’t changed.

The exact number of people with MS who experience temperature-related altered sensations, like feeling warmth in the head, is unclear. A study published in Multiple Sclerosis found that of 224 people with MS, about 40 percent experienced altered sensations — including burning, itching, and crawling, as well as electric shocks —that lasted seconds to minutes.

Strategies To Manage Altered Sensations

Altered sensations or paresthesias from MS can be managed in several ways. Depending on your symptoms and how severe they are, your MS care provider may prescribe medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or antidepressants. They may also suggest resources like occupational therapy, which can help you cope with the effects of altered sensations on your daily life.

Here are other ways to help manage altered sensations with MS.

Stick With Your MS Treatment Regimen

Paresthesias are more likely to arise during an MS flare or relapse. Speak with your health care provider about all your symptoms, including any altered sensations. Recognizing these and other symptoms is crucial to developing the best treatment plan for your unique health needs.


For example, disease-modifying treatments can help stop MS disease progression, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce inflammation and pain. During MS flares (attacks), your neurologist may prescribe drugs like corticosteroids and plasma exchange treatment. These medications and procedures should help relieve many of your MS symptoms, including paresthesias.

Use Cold Packs

If your paresthesias are temperature-oriented, use cold packs to overcome the sensation or at least distract from the feeling until it goes away naturally. Taking a cold shower or bath may also help dull the sensation. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, hot temperatures outside may worsen symptoms of MS. If you recognize heat as a trigger, try to combat its effects before symptoms worsen.

Try Mindfulness and Physical Activity

Consider trying exercises that incorporate mindfulness, a meditation technique that has been linked to greater awareness and control over physical sensations. Mindfulness can help manage paresthesias and other MS symptoms.

Physical activity has also been shown to reduce MS paresthesias. One study of 54 people with MS showed that a light physical exercise program helped reduce MS-induced paresthesias, along with easing other symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Anxiety and depression have been linked to worsening MS symptoms and can contribute to altered sensations, so don’t hesitate to seek out counseling or therapy if needed. MyMSTeam members can also provide support, reassurance, and expertise along your MS journey.

Reach Out for Help With MS Symptoms

It’s important to keep your neurology provider in the loop about symptoms that are painful, uncomfortable, or disruptive to your daily life. If you have experienced altered sensations, such as feeling warmth in the head, you’re not alone. Continue to seek support from your MS community — recognizing new sensations as symptoms of MS is the first step to dealing with them.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyMSTeam is the social network for people with multiple sclerosis and their loved ones. On MyMSTeam, more than 193,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with MS.

Have you experienced sudden temperature changes with MS? How have you dealt with neurological symptoms in the past? What advice can you share with other people living with MS? Share your tips and experiences in a comment below or on MyMSTeam.

— Update: 14-02-2023 — found an additional article Why Your Head Feels Hot and How Dehydration Relates from the website for the keyword back of head hot.

Warmth is often associated with positive emotions and feelings of emotional attachment. But what if your head feels hot? And what if your head feels hot but you don’t have a fever? Should you seek medical advice? Even if you’re not experiencing it every day, a head that feels unusually warm can make it difficult to get anything done.

Your head may be feeling hot for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been experiencing this debilitating symptom for a while now, we’ve got you. Keep reading as we explore possible causes of a head that feels hot and how dehydration relates.

A Quick Look at How Your Body Regulates Heat

You may have noticed specific triggers every time your head feels hot. To make things more perplexing, the rest of your body isn’t hot at all. Before we dig deeper into why your head feels hot, let’s take a look at how your body regulates its core temperature.

The wonderful aspect of the human body is it can self-regulate and maintain balance. This process is called homeostasis. Maintaining your core temperature is one of your body’s homeostatic regulations (also known as thermoregulation) going on in your body day in and day out. The hypothalamus in your brain is responsible for it. It acts as your body’s thermostat, and it knows what your average body temperature should be. In a nutshell, it tells the rest of the body what to do to maintain this specific body temperature.

For example, when the weather’s warmer than usual, the hypothalamus tells your sweat glands to produce more sweat to cool down. As you sweat, your body returns to its ideal body temperature.

However, there are specific scenarios when your hypothalamus and the rest of the body can’t keep up with the rise of external temperature in your body. As a result, your body will experience a host of symptoms — a head that feels hot is one of these.

The hot days of summer, wearing many layers, engaging in extremely physical activities, certain medical conditions, eating spicy foods, and dehydration are possible reasons why your body may have trouble regulating its core temperature.

For example, as you’re exposed to higher temperatures, your head may feel warm. Consequently, you may experience dehydration headaches.

When this happens, your body needs more fluids to help it cool down. However, water alone isn’t enough if you’re dehydrated. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption and relieve dehydration.

Why Your Head Feels Hot: Some Causes to Consider

A head that feels hot without an apparent reason like fever can sometimes be a sign of the following:

1. Certain Food and Drinks

You may feel hotter than usual and feel warmer in the head when you consume particular food and drinks.

For example, large amounts of alcohol and caffeine can make you pee more, resulting in fluid loss and dehydration. As a result, your body may overheat and work double time to keep itself cool. Eating hot peppers is another excellent example. Certain varieties of pepper can enhance heat production in the body.

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2. Hot Flashes

As part of menopause, women may experience hot flashes. A hot flash feels like a quick burst of heat radiating from the head, neck, face, and chest. The exact cause of hot flashes during menopause in women is unknown. However, it seems like it has to do with changes in the brain’s ability to regulate the core body temperature. These changes are likely influenced by fluctuations of hormones in the body, particularly estrogen levels.

Aside from a head that feels hot during an episode of a hot flash, other common symptoms of menopause include irregular periods, night sweats, thinning hair, and vaginal dryness. Hot flashes as part of menopause will tend to resolve after five years. It’s also worth noting that hot flashes can occur during perimenopause or the period when a woman transitions to menopause.

The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping up with your regular visits with your doctor for preventive care and screening for potential health problems.

3. An Overactive Thyroid

A medical condition called hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, is another possible reason why your head feels hot.

Your thyroid produces thyroid hormones, which are mainly responsible for how fast your body uses up energy. When you have an overactive thyroid, your body is in “overheated” mode. Feeling unusually warm, sweating, and having a head that feels hot also signal that your thyroid gland is on overdrive. As a result, you experience a host of symptoms like unintentional weight loss, higher than normal heart rate, heat intolerance, excessive sweating, and hand tremors.

Medications help address an overactive thyroid. If you think you have hyperthyroidism, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

4. Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke can also be possible reasons why your head feels hot. Headache is a common symptom in heat stress disorders too.

When you have heat exhaustion or suffer from heat stroke, your body has difficulty maintaining its core temperature. As a result, the excess heat in your body will lead to symptoms like headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, heavy sweating, fatigue, and even fainting.

These heat-related conditions result from prolonged exposure to hot weather, high humidity, overdressing, alcohol consumption, and dehydration.

Groups at risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion are:

  • Young children

  • People over the age of 60

  • Individuals with certain health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases

Heat exhaustion treatment and management typically involve:

  • Moving to a cooler, shaded area

  • Having a cool bath

  • Taking off extra layers of clothing advocates for air conditioning as protection against heat-related illnesses.

A heat stroke is a medical emergency. If a family member or a co-worker is complaining of a head that feels hot and other heat stroke symptoms such as dizziness, seizures, confusion, fever, and fainting (a common heat stroke sign in the elderly), call emergency care immediately.

Dehydration and a Head That Feels Hot

Dehydration is when there are not enough fluids and electrolytes in your body. These fluids and electrolytes are vital to critical bodily functions. For example, blood vessels in the brain may contract when you’re dehydrated, resulting in dehydration headaches and a head that feels hot.

Apart from a headache, dehydration symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Muscle cramps

  • Aches and pains

  • Palpitations

Dehydration Causes

The Mayo Clinic identifies the following as the top causes of dehydration:

  • Not getting enough fluids

  • Diarrhea and vomiting

  • Fever

  • Increased urination

  • Excessive sweating

Certain medications like diuretics and blood pressure-lowering drugs can also have dehydration as a side effect.

Risks of Dehydration

Groups at risk include older adults, infants and children, people with chronic conditions, and people who engage in work or strenuous activities outside.

Children are also more likely to experience heat exhaustion because their body surface area makes up a more significant proportion of their overall body weight. Simply put, it takes more time for dry heat to dissipate in children’s bodies. Also, they have lower sweating rates than adults.

Adults over 60, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and people working outdoors are at risk because of their body’s inability to adapt to changes in body temperature quickly.

Lastly, drinking beverages containing alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which can increase the risk of dehydration due to increased fluid loss.

Crush Dehydration With DripDrop

Hormonal fluctuations, thyroid problems, or heat-related disorders like heat exhaustion and heat stroke are possible causes of a head that feels hot. If your head feels warmer recently and you have other accompanying symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help. A doctor can work with you in figuring out the root cause and provide more health information.

If dehydration is the reason your head feels hot, a few cooling measures can make it more manageable. These include a cool bath, air conditioning, and avoiding beverages with alcohol and caffeine. You should also increase your body’s fluid volume with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop. It supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium which are essential to support your overall health as well.

Plus, the convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop when you need it, where you need it. Get started with our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, learn more about how you can save up to 25% on every purchase when you subscribe.

— Update: 14-02-2023 — found an additional article Why Does The Back Of My Head Feel Hot? from the website for the keyword back of head hot.

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There could be several reasons why the back of your head would feel hot. Some examples include the weather, multiple layers of clothes, doing physical activities with extreme movements, medical conditions, eating spicy foods, or dehydration. There are other symptoms that come with the headache, and that’s how you can determine why you’re feeling hot at the back of your head.

Possible reasons why your head feels hot

1. What you eat and/or drink

Eating spicy foods could enhance heat production in the body, while drinking too much alcohol and caffeine can make you pee more, making you lose too much fluid and leading to dehydration. Your body will then have a higher chance to overheat and work double-time to keep itself cool.

2. Heat exhaustion/heat stroke

Back of head hot

These are some heat-related illnesses that can also be a possible reason why your head feels hot.

During this time, your body is having a hard time maintaining its core temperature. So the excess heat in your body would lead to other symptoms like headaches, nausea, muscle cramps, heavy sweating, fatigue, and even fainting.

3. Weather/external temperature

Weather-related triggers of headache may include extra-long exposure to the sun, high humidity, or sudden changes in the temperature of your surroundings. Headaches seem even more likely to happen in the summer months when temperatures are elevated.

Headache frequency may arise when it’s warmer out for a number of underlying reasons.

4. Hot flashes

Other medical conditions can cause hot flashes but most commonly because of menopause, is the time in a woman’s life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, most often after age 45.

Menopause happens because the woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone hormones.

5. Dehydration

If you are not getting enough fluids in your body, the chances of getting a headache become high, and even though dehydration is strongly linked to headaches, researchers are not sure how dehydration causes headaches.

They did acknowledge that there are likely multiple mechanisms behind dehydration-related headaches and that some people may be more prone to dehydration-related headaches than others.

How does our body regulate heat?

Our bodies constantly adapt their temperature to environmental conditions. It goes up when we exercise, for example, and it is lower at night and higher in the afternoon than in the morning.

Our internal body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus, a part of our brain that checks our current temperature and compares it with the normal temperature of about 37°C.

If our temperature is too low, the hypothalamus makes sure that the body generates and maintains heat. On the other hand, our current body temperature is too high, heat is given off, or sweat is produced to cool the skin.

Sweating is one of our body’s primary methods to control its temperature. As it evaporates, it helps cool the skin down. Blood vessels feeding the skin also dilate, which allows warm blood to flow to the skin’s surface. This helps remove heat from the body core, but these responses are less effective as we age.

Our sweat glands produce less sweat, blood flow to the skin is reduced, and our ability to dissipate heat is compromised as a result.

How to ease a headache

Back of head hot
  • Cold compress – Place the ice pack at the back of your head, forehead and/or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is. Just be sure to limit cold pack applications to no more than 10 minutes at a time.
  • Aromatherapy – It’s the study of how certain smells can trigger positive and even healing responses in the brain. Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the incidence of headaches. These include peppermint extract, eucalyptus, and lavender oil.
  • Massage – This may be able to reduce chronic pain as well as ease muscle tension that causes headaches. Take time to research different types of massage and get reliable referrals for a practitioner near you who can effectively address your specific pain points.
  • Acupuncture – It involves applying fine, sharp needles to key areas on the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It’s thought to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, and according to the National Institutes of HealthTrusted Source, has been shown to reduce headache frequency and severity.
  • Breathing exercises – Start by finding a quiet place with a comfortable chair in your home, office, or other location where you will not be distracted. Next, take slow, rhythmic breaths, breathing in for five seconds then out for five seconds. As you relax, your muscle tightness reduces.
  • Hydration – Drink up, dehydration can contribute to a headache, but it can be easily avoided. Drinking a glass of water can help as much as electrolyte-containing beverages. Alcohol, and particularly red wine, can also lead to dehydration that triggers headaches.
  • Good sleep – Lack of sleep and not getting your suggested minimum hours of sleep can lead to chronic headaches. There are several ways you can improve the amount and quality of your sleep including setting of sleep schedules, avoiding stimulants and digital exposure hours before bedtime.



Making your health the top priority should not even be an option these days, especially with all these viruses just looming around. A headache could also be as simple as a lack of sleep or could be a sign of a more serious medical condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare provider to receive a professional assessment and medication.


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