View Full Version : Long hair and neck pain??

December 4th, 2009, 10:42 AM
Since my hair has gone past BSL, I've noticed that my neck gets tired and sore more often. Since nothing else has changed in my life I can only assume that the weight of my hair is getting to me- have any of you experienced this? Is this something I'll get used to after a few months or should I just trim it back a few inches to lighten the load?

December 4th, 2009, 10:58 AM
Hair weight can become a problem, and you may be experiencing it earlier than others since your hair is so thick.

How do you wear your hair? You can try redistributing the weight by wearing it up in different styles. Something like milkmaid braids may help if the weight is mostly pulling straight down from the head, currently.

December 4th, 2009, 11:24 AM
A friend of mine has waist length locs and has to chop them back because they start to affect her neck.

December 4th, 2009, 11:45 AM
I worked with a 60-something lady many many years ago --- probably about 20 years ago --- who had thick tailbone length hair. It was a beautiful shade of gray and silver with black and charcoal shadings still scattered here and there, just gorgeous. She wore it up in a cinnamon bun on the very top of her head every day. I remember around the time I quit, she started talking about cutting it because of the severity of the neck pain and headaches she was suffering. I think I heard that she did cut it, but that was after I had gone on to another job.

December 4th, 2009, 11:52 AM
Oh noes. I hadn't thought of this, and I'm a likely candidate being that my hair is coarse and heavy. :( Neck exercises? Heh.

December 4th, 2009, 12:03 PM
I usually twist into a bun or ponytail. I'm not very good at braiding.

I've got damage on the ends which I planned to trim myself, but my fiancee is suggesting going to a professional to have 3-6" chopped off and everything generally "shaped". I'm hesitant to do it because I get so many compliments on the length and I'm afraid they'll take too much off.

I'm also trying to find a way to put up my hair at night because I discovered that it was being pinned by my shoulders or my fiancee as I slept resulting in terribly stiff neck pain. So far the ways I've tried will either put a "dent" in my hair (ponytail holders) or work itself loose (buns). Any suggestions there?

heidi w.
December 4th, 2009, 02:06 PM
A quick question.

Do you always put your hair up in the same locale day after day, or for the most part?

Is that location more the back of the head?

Do you sleep in bunned hair?, or more like braided, or is it loose?

1. Thick hair needs to be more evenly distributed. I see you list your occupation as "Office Monkey". Ok, I'm a "Desk Jockey". The problem with these type of positions is we're bending our head forward--A LOT. Curving the spine in a hunch around a computer, in our chair, over the copier. Peering into the light glow. IF hair is heavy, even a little itty bit, our body naturally compensates by leaning slightly forward at the neck. So it's unlikely you can train yourself so easily to not crane the neck forward.

Instead, distribute the weight. Make two buns, or two braids, one high, one low.

2. Pinning hair securely matters. I have a problem with my bun sliding most days. This forces me to also crane my neck in a slightly bent forward position, causing tension in the upper shoulders, not to mention occasional headaches from pulled hairs (capillaries swell in agitation....capillaries run all over the under-surface of scalp skin). So on a daily basis, find a different way to pin securely.

I find if I need a hair weight break that braiding the length and the spiraling around the head and pinning is the lightest distribution there is, and it's not unattractive. It can be adorned in the back with a sparkly comb, or a couple little glittery barrettes on one side, or even, for a party situation, flowers in the hair all round, or even ribbon woven into the braid or around the outside of the braid (harder to pin the hair then, though, but do-able).

3. If sleeping on a bun, especially on the back or side, with a slender pillow, then the neck is then craned in a different direction. On the back, the head might end with a somewhat tucked chin position. That's if the bun is more in the way on the back of the head. Side sleeping may mean the neck is kind of curved downward, away from the feet, and ear towards one shoulder extreme.

If generally you're a side sleeper, I find I'm much more comfortable with thick pillows to bring my neck and head in line with my spine, so the shoulder is all filled in with padding, from shoulder edge on bed, up. This will be around 6 inches.

If a back sleeper mostly, then the bun needs to be higher. OR the braid begun higher and more at the crown or on top of the head (not tight!!!) so it's not interfering and you're sleeping on a lump, and your free to turn if need be.

Loose is ok. But I tangle more when loose, even with a satin pillowcase. I just have very fine hair. I toss a lot and in that age group of hitting menopause, so I'm also sometimes quite hot at night. (Ok, pun intended. Why not. A 50 yr still likes to feel she's got somethin' somebody wants. LOL) I fare better with a braid even though loose my hair will generally remain in place because of the length it's at.

The problem is that at night we need to allow our hair to be in it's natural state out of the hair follicle, it's natural part, in order to relax the scalp skin.

Because of my weight and with gravity, my hair slowly slides throughout the day, down the back a twinge. IF I do it too tight then I have problems with loss and pulling and agitation of capillaries from that.

Also, BEWARE, you don't want to overly pull or cause agitation at the crown or the middle strip of hair from the crown down. Why? This represents the greatest amount of volume and thickness. Hair all about the head is not the same volume per square inch.

Finally, you cite your age as 23. You're still in a phase of pretty thick volume. I argue that in the next 3 years, or thereabouts, you will likely experience a pretty big shed. This age zone 25ish or so, give or take, is our first big shed of our lives where the volume somewhat noticeably is less. Our hair's volume is not the same throughout our lives. There are those who have the gift of great volume throughout their life. My mother is one such person, but even her, she had so much thickness at one time, that even with these sheds that occur about 3-4 times in a lifetime, it still appears that she has great volume.

The shed can also be coming, depending on where you are in length, for a big loss in anticipation of big re-growth phase. These occur in cycles of about every 4 years or so (who knows when to count from though.) The telltale sign there is if you have a lot of loss, YET there's this hairyelles halo effect all about the head and even the length. These represent new growth. The longer hair becomes, the longer it takes to replace a fully grown length.

Some people because of weight concerns do stop at a certain point allowing growth to continue gaining in length.

I also find that in cars when hair is bunned, on furniture (because I'm short and never clear the back top edge of furniture).....that my head is angled forward for the padding of hair in the back. So you may have to amend some things, such as in your favorite chair while watching TV or a movie, a neck pillow.

Consider zig-zag parts, or deep diagonal parts to create interest if doing two smaller buns, say, side-by-side on the top of the head, or offset the buns for more interest, like crookedly placed bear ears.

Anyway, distribute the length and ensure your sleeping situation isn't adding to the neck stress.

Hope this helps,
heidi w.

December 4th, 2009, 03:26 PM
Thank you for you reply, heidi w. I've changed my CP to show age, I think you confused that with my number of posts- I'm turning 31 this month (happy bday to me!).

At work I just leave my hair loose. At home I'll use a giant jaw-clip or chopsticks to make a loose, messy bun-thing on the top/back of my head. Basically I "fold" my hair in half so my ends and the base of a low ponytail are touching, twist the loop that's created and secure it at the top of the loop (usually around the crown of my skull). I almost never lean back on anything. I watched too many old movies as a child, full of elegant women with perfect posture so now I rarely slouch or tilt my head.

At night I've been making the loop at the very top of my head but haven't found a way to secure it without making a stupid-looking dent.

The neck soreness starts creeping on about 2/3 through my day, regardless of hairstyle (2 side braids, any number of ponytails, buns) or location. I'm afraid my hair really might just be too heavy :(

I guess I'm hoping you ladies can tell me whether my neck will get stronger over time or possibly some buzzwords I can say to a hairdresser so they won't hack all my length away?

heidi w.
December 4th, 2009, 03:58 PM
Oh, yeah, I did confuse the age. OK, correction: 31, so the volume thing/shed thing won't be happening soon for you. Good news that.

1. Divide the weight....more on TOP of the head.

2. If you almost never lean back on anything, chances are you're ever-so-slightly, imperceptible to you, leaning slightly forward.

3. IF the body imperceptibly senses that weight ever-so-gradually slipping (and about 2/3 through the day is when mine does this too), then the head will just ever so subtely be forward, a trace bit enough, to balance or compensate, then yep, neck pain can occur. Even if you used to walk around with a book on your head. It's simple body mechanics.

4. Some people do have heavy hair and for this reason prefer not to go uber long because coiled up, it's problematic. I'm trying to think of some folks who have thick thick hair -- OH, one I know Dianyla -- you might ask her what she does.

5. Consider instead going with a long braided ponytail where the beginning is not in the center of the head by day. Focus then on wearing fabric tops that slide and glide a bit.

6. In talking to a stylist tell them precisely the amount of inches you want removed. Never ever be vague and simply ask for a trim. And most stylists do not have experience with long, long hair, and are filled with misinformation about this, so if you discuss overly this hair weight stuff they may not be able to know quite what you're talking about and might, as you say, take off too much or worse yet, 'thin' the hair which means razoring the cuticle. So be specific of the inches for the best results.

That's the best suggestions I have to offer you.
heidi w.

heidi w.
December 4th, 2009, 04:00 PM
Claw clips almost NEVER worked for me, except for a brief time before classic length. I found they pulled too much hair, slid too easily from the weight, and scraped into my scalp skin, sometimes painfully.

I think you might fare better with some things such as hair sticks, and braided figure 8s.

Long Hair Loom website has a section, free website, called Styling Station, and many folks have step-by-step photos of how to create something. You might also try culling through youtube videos. Lots of hair videos there. Loom website has mostly women participants, and very nice folks there.

heidi w.