ZocdocAnswersDo you have muscles around your scalp?

Question

Do you have muscles around your scalp?

Might just be paranoid, but I feel like there is some swelling on the right side of my head. Are there muscles around your scalp that can swell or bruise?

Answer

You do indeed have muscles on your scalp. In particular, you have one very large muscle, called the temporalis muscle which is on the side of your head in the temple region. This muscle runs between the side of your skull down to your jaw bone. It is involved in chewing and in opening and closing of the jaw. If you put your fingers on the side of your head in the region of the temple and open and close your jaw, you will feel the temporalis muscle moving and contracting underneath your fingers. The temporalis muscle can become fatigued or strained, just like any other muscle. In particular the temporalis muscle is commonly involved in tension headaches, so if you are getting headaches along with some tenderness or stiffness in this muscle, that might be what is going on. In older adults (it is not clear from your question how old you are) another rare but serious condition that can cause swelling and tenderness in this region is something called temporal arteritis. This condition has to be diagnosed, because it can lead to vision impairment. If you are an older adult, I suggest that you go see your primary care to rule out this problem.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.