Is Long Hair A Source For Neck Pain And Headaches? Medical Answer And Advice
Long hair stands for femininity and elegance. Wearing the hair in a long length dates back to the earliest Greeks and Romans. As a matter of fact, back then, during Ancient Greece, women in society used to wear their hair much longer than men would normally do.
As time went by, the long hair tradition became more popular and widespread among French and English men in the 11th and 12th centuries. Even men were wearing long hair back then, although society wanted them with shorter hair.
The many years have changed the perspective of long hair, and throughout the years mainly women wore their hair all long. But that doesn’t mean that men can’t wear take out in this style. Just look at the rock and roll period of the 80s.
Although long hair is, for many people but especially for ladies, the perfect look, there are some downsides to this hairstyle. Wearing long hair can come with some challenges, mainly the so-known “long hair headaches.”
While many people already know that long hair can be a struggle while styling it, this feminine aspect can also be the reason for headaches.
There are many reasons why long hair is causing pain, but few people know they are making daily mistakes. For instance, a too-tight ponytail can be a trigger for headaches. And some severe ones.
As weird as the title question might sound, well, the unpleasant truth is that long hair can genuinely be the reason for neck pain. Everything that happens with the human body has a medical explanation behind it.
The Medical Connection Between Long Hair And Pain
The main reason long hair can cause pain is that the body tissue is interconnected (1). While tying the hair all tight, the pressure starts making its presence on the scalp tissue.
In time, this will lead to neck pain, as we will discuss in this article.
Having long hair comes with its provocation, and those severe headaches can be a genuine problem. Cutting off the beautiful locks is not a solution for everyone and not the ideal way to get rid of headaches or back pain.
Nevertheless, women won’t need to do anything drastic like shortening their hair in all likelihood.
By just having little knowledge about this type of pain, men and women can avoid the main reasons that can cause headaches. Understanding the medical information will make things easier, so this article is a must in learning everything about long hair and styling it wisely.
Can Long Hair Genuinely Cause Headaches?
Anyone who has long hair has undoubtedly experienced some nasty headaches. They might have been thinking about the weight of the hair and blame it for the awful pain. However, the length of the hair has little to do with the headache directly.
So, the answer to the main question, “Can long hair cause neck pain and headaches?” is not an exact one.
By simply adopting a long hairstyle will not give someone any headaches. However, having long hair will make most of the readers do one of the things that will cause them a lot of pain.
The list below will analyze the main reasons one by one. However, the first one is the most unlikely.
Reasons Why Neck Pain And Headaches Are Related To Long Hair
Let’s check everything out to get a full picture about the topic.
1. Heavy Hair
The first reason people blame the long hair for their neck pain and headaches is the heavy weight. The hair alone is unlikely to cause so much pain, and I will tell you exactly why.
Honestly saying, even really-really long hair does not weigh all that much (2). As specialists say, for a floor-length hair, the scale ends up showing somewhere around ~350g, ~12oz, ~.77lbs.
So, for those of you who have been wondering about the exact weight of the hair, the last numbers are telling the truth. In consequence, the scalp can deal with and resist this amount of hair.
Secondly, hair usually grows slowly (3), so it is hard to believe that the scalp will struggle to hold all the hair. Due to the slow growth, the muscles are straightening quickly, which, in the end, helps to hold the head up the time and get used to the hair weight.
Last but not least, assuming that hair weight is the reason for headaches means struggling with the pain all day long. Nobody would ever consider having long hair again if the pain would be constant. It is hard to believe that weight is only sometimes a problem.
Thus, unless somebody has constant headaches, regardless of the hairstyle they have, the weight of the hair is hard to believe to be the reason for scalp or neck pains.
In a nutshell, the weight of the hair cannot affect these pains directly. However, the following aspects are better reasons to cause a headache.
Also Read: 30+ Low Maintenance Haircuts for Thick Hair (2022 Updated)
2. Styling The Hair Against The Fibre
Another good to know reason for the notorious long hair headache is the wrong way of styling it. Although women love trying new hairstyles, scalp pains might start appearing even if some are uncomfortable.
You can easily recognize this type of pain once letting the hair down and feeling the discomfort.
The specific trigger of this kind of pain appears after pulling the hair roots in a direction that did not use them to stay.
The discomfort will occur in a couple of hours. For some people, simply letting the hair dry in a certain way, then hairstyling it in another direction, or pulling them in a different part will cause headaches.
3. Faking A Facelift
Although it might not be that common among you, faking a facelift is a habit for some people. This practice is visibly related to the hair roots stress and pain. What is different from point 2 is that this time, the hair is put in a different position and pulled back way too firmly.
This practice is where the “fake facelift” comes from. One of the most common yet super-chic hairstyles that can lead to headaches is the famous ponytail. Yes, ponytails are always a convenient and fast way to style your hair.
While ponytails, whether they are high or low, will look amazingly chic, well, in time, the scalp might suffer and hurt a bit.
In the long run, ponytail hairstyles will weaken the roots and lead, in time, to “traction alopecia” (4).
This term refers to the loss of hair due to the origin of pulling. So if the hair roots start hurting a lot, you need to know that everything might begin from holding your hair so tight.
4. Neck Muscles Straining
The next reason is the muscles straining. Long hair might be stemming from the neck muscles. Two ways can cause this muscle twisting:
- The first one is a tight, low twisted bun. Although the twisted bun is not as popular as ponytails, there is a sure thing we can tell about this hairstyle: once twisting the hair all tight, you will also rotate the sensitive neck muscles. Tension will start appearing, and in just a few minutes, the muscles will hurt.
- The second reason for muscle tension is the hairdo throws, which might unbalance the head. Usually, the updo will require some more effort from the neck muscles. In time, this will lead to disturbing the head differently from normal.
Moreover, once bringing all the updos into a single big bun, the pain will increase the chances of headaches and neck pains.
5. Earring or Headbands
The majority of people that complain because of the headaches are probably experiencing some root hurting. Also known as “hair cramps,” women are swearing they feel every tiny thread hurting.
Others will put this pain on their earrings, which leads to that annoying head pain. Although this statement might seem impossible, these people are right.
Why do heavy earrings hurt? Anatomically speaking, all the muscle groups around the scalp do not contain pain fibers; however, they are connected to tissues.
When wearing earrings or very tight headbands, the hair will be pulled, irritating the muscles system.
The swingy updo is not the only factor contributing to this type of pain; there can also be some heavy earrings, maybe fabulous headbands that might look nice, but in time, be the trigger of the pain.
However, few people thought about their earrings as the leading cause of headaches. Well, during this time, there might be a possible connection between the ear accessories and pain.
Earrings can pull on the entirely same connective tissue. Some studies might even suggest that migraines appear due to the skin sensitivity around the face, ears, and scalps. Although it is hard to tell that earring supersensitivity is the leading cause of headaches, it can signify a migraine is coming.
What to do in this situation? There is no need for a comprehensive study to tell someone the evident and simple actions they can take; firstly, losing the ponytail or the headband for even half an hour can have an immediate and positive effect on the headache people experience. In some cases, losing the hair even for 10 minutes can release the scalp tension.
Usually, the thicker the hair is, the heavier the ear accessories are, the more likely it is to have this type of headache. As such, one of the best things to do is to avoid heavy earrings or wear them only on special occasions. Moreover, try saving the tight updos for other times, or don’t wear them too long.
Last but not least, one of the most common reasons for headaches is the beloved ponytails. Here is what happens while we are tightening the hair. People can experience an example of allodynia (5) or a casual stimulus that the body will interpret as genuinely painful.
On the contrary, with a simple brush through the hair or touching it a bit, it is kind of improbable to feel any pain. But during the allodynia condition, the skin will become overly sensitive, and even when touching the hair lightly, the pain will immediately appear.
Specialists even think that Allodynia is connected to another chronic condition called fibromyalgia (6).
Speaking of tight ponytails, these hairstyles can lead to severe headaches that will come down to the over-sensitive scalp.
What is good to know is that the hair outside of the head has nothing to do with the pain; however, the scalp that sustains and where hair is all embedded has millions of pain-sensitive nerves all around.
This explains why a pulled-back ponytail can so irritate the sensitive scalp and the hair follicles.
A too-tight ponytail can also change the usually head position and tighten the following muscles:
- Cervical extensors (also known as the muscles behind the neck)
- Pectoral muscles
On the contrary, the everyday hairstyle can weaken or lengthen the following muscle parts:
- The muscles standing in front of the neck, popular as cervical flexors;
- Lower trapezius muscles
- The rhomboid muscles
When the head is in imbalance, the cervical spine stress will start increasing. On the other hand, a decreased cervical spine will also feel like a lot of pain,
So, the answer is clear now for those wondering if ponytails can cause headaches or neck pain.
Also Read: Top 40 Elegant Messy Ponytail Hairstyles (2022 Updated)
Tips and Tricks To Avoid Neck Pain And Headaches
First of all, congratulations for reaching this part of the article and carefully understanding the reasons behind prolonged hair headaches. When growing hair very long, it is essential to know how to avoid an intense headache.
While for many women, the first temptation is cutting down the long hair, this is not the best solution.
It is just a pity not to take advantage of the extended highlights, although they might require more attention, care, and styling time. Of course, there is some truth in saying that long hair aggravates daily headaches. Yet, it does not mean we cannot wear a long headdress.
Keeping the headaches at bay is just a matter of attention and a bit of effort. Here are some of the best tricks women with long hair can apply from now on:
Tip no 1: Avoid Very Tight Ponytails
One of the most common reasons for long-haired headaches is popular ponytails. Once all tighten up, they are pulling at the roots.
As previously mentioned, the hair has millions of nerves at the level of the scalp. In time, this can lead to lots of pain. For those people already dealing with headache-prone, specialists recommend setting the mane free or always loosening the daily ponytail.
Tip no 2: Avoiding or Easing Off The Hair Extensions
This is pure physics: the heavier the hair is at its ends, the harder will be the tension on the roots. As a chain of weakness, the more complex the roots are pulled down, the more you will start feeling the pain.
As a result, not only will severe headaches begin appearing daily, but heavy hair extensions will also make some hair fall out. However, there are still some solutions for those who can not feed themselves without this artificial hair.
Easing off the hair extensions or applying them more rarely are some of the top decisions to make.
Tip no 3: Keeping the hair trimmed
Growing long hair is useless as long as you don’t keep it all healthy. Trimming the hair will make it look great and offer significant relief for the roots. Nevertheless, if the hair is heavy, thick, and very long, people will experience tension, even at the neck level.
However, heavy hair might not be the only reason for this pain and poor posture, especially for office workers. A great tip in this direction is finding a way to hold the hair in the way you most feel comfortable.
For instance, keeping a ponytail at the neck level can be a wise manner of distributing the weight evenly.
In a nutshell
In the end, it is right to answer the main question. So, is long hair causing headaches and neck pains? Well, yes or no. Usually, hair is not that heavy to lead to bottomless pain. Yet, there is a tight connection between neck pain, headaches, and long hair.
Considering all the pain fibers at the scalp level, it is wise to avoid wearing the hair tightly. Otherwise, you will directly hurt the brain’s nerves and, consequently, the nerves at the neck level. Creating a twisted bun and a face-lift with a tight ponytail can slowly and surely cause neck pains.
Losing the hair a little bit more, wearing fewer extensions, trimming the hair once in a while are just some simple solutions to release the tension. The best part? Long hair can still be a feminine business card without too many compromises.