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View Full Version : Long Hair Causes Migraines?



LisaButz2001
May 7th, 2010, 09:16 PM
Is there a conclusive medical correlation between long hair and an increased frequency of migraines? I've had them since my teens, and since my mom and sister had them, I thought they were inherited, but lately I've gotten them more frequently and I recently let my hair get long enough to sit on, where before it was between waist and tailbone. I know this topic was discussed before, but was there ever a clear cut answer? Thanks.

renarok
May 7th, 2010, 09:25 PM
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/ds00120/dsection=causes

Migraines are not in any way related to the length of your hair.

FrannyG
May 7th, 2010, 09:31 PM
Aside from the scientific research, I can offer you my own personal anecdotal experience

I am a migraineur and have suffered equally with longer hair and very short hair. I would much rather enjoy my pretty long hair while having a migraine than ever cutting it short again and wishing it would grow.

TiaKitty
May 7th, 2010, 09:31 PM
I cut my hair on the advice of a neurologist once, to see if it caused my migraines. A cut from waist to APL did not diminish the frequency of my migraines. And I had to grow my hair back.

julliams
May 8th, 2010, 12:10 AM
I get migraines and have had them regardless of the length of my hair. Many people think a migraine is just a really big headache but there is more to it than that. For me I have trouble seeing with little electric squiggly flashes of light going everywhere to eventually seeing the world like I'm looking though a kalaidescope(this is my first clue that one is on it's way), the headache of course, I can feel nauseous and always feel very spacey for several hours after it has gone.

ravenreed
May 8th, 2010, 12:14 AM
I get migraines no matter how long my hair is. However, there is a type of headache I get if my hair is in an updo and it is pulling too much or not well balanced. I didn't start having it until I passed waist and started wearing my hair up.

Konstifik
May 8th, 2010, 12:47 AM
Rest assured, you do not need to cut your hair. Migraines are not ordinary headaches.
You should look for another factor in the increasing amount of migraines. Could it be some kind of food you're eating (cheese, wine and chocolate are common causers), stressful days, or could it be the weather?

Last year I got migraines almost daily during a few months in the winter, it was horrible! But it stopped almost magically once summer arrived. Now this winter, the awful migraine-period hasn't returned. So it's very hard to predict the causing of migraines.

Loreley
May 8th, 2010, 12:54 AM
I have migraines often but I don't think my hair causes them. I have "simple" headaches, too. Sometimes if I let my hair down when I have a headache it gets better instantly. I think it's because of its weight. A thicker hair is heavier than thinner even if they are the same length.
In my case migraine is caused by not eating or drinking enough at school whole day and stress, I think.

Boudicca
May 8th, 2010, 05:56 AM
Migraines are caused by chemical changes in the brain. Hair length has nothing to do with it.

Carolyn
May 8th, 2010, 06:22 AM
I've never understood the long hair causes headaches/migraines idea. Bear with me here. I know that an improperly placed bun or ponytail can cause a scalp ache. The pain is not coming from inside the head. It's due to the bun or ponytail pulling and making the scalp hurt. That situation can also cause the person to hold their neck in an odd position to try to alleviate the scalp pain. The pain is in the neck muscles when it happens to me. A migraine is on the inside of the head, isn't it? I've had headaches since my early teen years. My doctor wasn't sure if they were migraines or not as I didn't have all the symptoms of a migraine. Does anyone know why doctors would think that a migraine or "simple" headache could be caused by long hair? The weight of long hair can make your scalp hurt or you can have neck pain but I don't think those things are true headaches. Maybe I'm thinking too simplistically here? Or perhaps since long hair is out of the norm, it will get the blame if no other cause can be found? Over the years I've gotten the question "doesn't all that long hair give you a headache?" I've always said no and went on to explain that a badly done hairdo can give me a scalp ache, it doesn't give me a headache. The person asking always acted like they didn't believe me. In all cases the person asking had short hair.

pelicano
May 8th, 2010, 06:26 AM
I actually think there is something in this but in a roundabout way. There is research to say that people with frequent migraines suffer from scalp tenderness (I have totally forgotten the medical term!) Therefore I don't think heavy hair causes migraines but might make them worse.

ArienEllariel
May 8th, 2010, 09:13 AM
I actually think there is something in this but in a roundabout way. There is research to say that people with frequent migraines suffer from scalp tenderness (I have totally forgotten the medical term!) Therefore I don't think heavy hair causes migraines but might make them worse.

This. My best friend has this and said that her headaches aren't as often or as bad because she cut her hair. She does have an extremely sensitive scalp. Me on the other hand.. pull out several hairs. I dare you. It doesn't hurt. lol

I get migraines sometimes. Not in the sense that my head "hurts" in the traditional way of speaking, but I get really sensitive to light and sound, slightly dizzy, sometimes nausious, and have to go lay down in a quiet dark room for a while to get them to go away. I also get the weird kelidascope lights sort of effect in front of my eyes. I think for me it's more related to my sinuses than anything else.

rags
May 8th, 2010, 09:34 AM
I agree with Pelicano. I think it's prevalent because putting your hair up or messing with it in any way when you have a migraine can be torture for some people (like me). I do have a very sensitive scalp, too. I actually just had one a couple of days ago, and I couldn't put my hair up at all as it made everything worse.

Maybe because longer hair makes it worse for some people, (the weight and mostly for me, the combing or putting it up) the myth has grown that long hair causes them?

Shermie Girl
May 8th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Yeah... No. Hair length and weight do not cause migraines or chronic headaches. I have thick, fairly heavy hair and it has been all lengths between ear and classic and my headaches are the same, all the time.

I don't have a particularly sensitive scalp. I can wear an updo just about any time. If my head is really raging, a braid is more comfortable but isn't a necessity for me. :)

Juliannaissance
May 8th, 2010, 11:54 AM
Migraines are caused by chemical changes in the brain. Hair length has nothing to do with it.
Though I believe this is true....Sometimes when I put my waist length hair into a high ponytail or a tight ponytail I start getting migraines. This even used to happen when my hair was APL at one point. So I don't think it's the hair but maybe just the tightening of the hair on the scalp will give a bit of discomfort of you do a certain hairstyle.

talecon
May 8th, 2010, 04:10 PM
I know my mom used to tell me that when she had her hair long (down to her butt) that it caused her migranes. but she has really thick curly hair. maybe it was from all the weight it put on her head or something. I dont think I'll ever have that problem because I have thin hair

TiaKitty
May 8th, 2010, 08:59 PM
The weight of a lot of hair on ones head may change the way you hold your head up, via the neck. It would be the change in pressure on the musculature or spinal column that could be an irritant, which may provoke a migraine, but it isn't the hair that's the irritant, it's the position of the head. That position of the head/muscle strain could be caused by something else, such as sleeping in an awkward position.

Most migraines start in the occipital region of the brain, which is the part of the brain where the neck and head connect... Throwing off the musculature there could start a migraine, but a migraine is a series of complicated chemical events inside the head, not on the outside or scalp.

There is some theory about migraneurs being over-sensitized to stimulation, be it tactile, auditory, visual, oral, or smell. Or in many, all, or some of the areas mentioned.

What creates migraine in one person may not create migraine in another.

And what creates migraine in one person one day, may not create migraine in the same person on another day.

It varies widely, from person to person, what the triggers are, how they can be handled, and how effective treatment is.

I really feel for anyone with migraines. I've suffered myself since childhood. I've got a list of triggers a mile long, and when certain ones add up, BINGO. But which triggers together = migraine? It varies from day to day.

If I could reach through the screen and choke any single actor in a commercial, it would be one of the people on the Excedrin Migraine commercials. They make it seem so simple... Swallow a couple of Excedrin and you'll be all better. Yeah, right. I think Excedrin Migraine should pay for someone to clean up around my bed/toilet after I've had a real zinger that can't be controlled by OTC meds.

christine1989
May 8th, 2010, 11:54 PM
I have heard that very thick, long hair can cause headaches although no medical professional has ever confirmed this. I have had hip length hair, pixie length hair and everything in between and have ALWAYS had headaches. If hair is a factor it is second to heredity, environment and lifestyle.

rusika1
May 9th, 2010, 10:27 AM
I'm with everyone else; my hair can give me a tension headache if I put it up in the wrong place, but it hasn't ever given me a migraine. Migraines are much more likely to be triggered by things like foods or odors, weather, lighting, or hormonal fluctuations.

Migraineur since I was 7 or 8 years old, started having classic migraines at 16 years (big hole in the middle of my vision about 1/2 hour before the headache). My frequency declined quite a lot after I started on SSRIs several years ago. These days they're mostly tied to big changes in barometric pressure, I can tell the Santa Ana Winds are going to start before I open my eyes in the morning. No alcohol at all for me, a 50% chance it WON'T trigger isn't worth the risk. I've known a few women who couldn't have chocolate at all. One of the no chocolate women is also having major perimenopausal migraines.


Tiakitty: The weight of a lot of hair on ones head may change the way you hold your head up, via the neck. It would be the change in pressure on the musculature or spinal column that could be an irritant, which may provoke a migraine, but it isn't the hair that's the irritant, it's the position of the head. That position of the head/muscle strain could be caused by something else, such as sleeping in an awkward position.

Most migraines start in the occipital region of the brain, which is the part of the brain where the neck and head connect... Throwing off the musculature there could start a migraine, but a migraine is a series of complicated chemical events inside the head, not on the outside or scalp. This. Too many people think any bad headache=migraine. (I blame television) Sometimes I wish there were some way to make sure everyone would have one clearly identifiable migraine--only one, I'm not a sadist--sometime early in their adulthood. Just so they would understand how a migraine differs from a 'normal' headache.


Tiakitty: If I could reach through the screen and choke any single actor in a commercial, it would be one of the people on the Excedrin Migraine commercials. They make it seem so simple... Swallow a couple of Excedrin and you'll be all better. Yeah, right. AMEN! I have never had an OTC med 'cure' a migraine.

JenniferNoel
May 9th, 2010, 10:37 AM
I'm with everyone else; my hair can give me a tension headache if I put it up in the wrong place, but it hasn't ever given me a migraine. Migraines are much more likely to be triggered by things like foods or odors, weather, lighting, or hormonal fluctuations.


I'm in the exact same boat. Tension headaches come after about three hours wearing the wrong bun. And a high ponytail gives me the worst headaches of all after about an hour.
Never gotten an unexplained migraine though, even when my hair was around TBL.
So from my experience, no, I don't think long hair can contribute to migraines.

LisaButz2001
May 9th, 2010, 11:51 AM
Hi eveybody. TiaKitty, I actually had phenominal success with Excedrin Migraine, when it was first introduced, but not so much now. Has anybody got any feedback on Migralleve? This particular migraine lasted 7 hours. I had one three weeks prior. I don't know what my personal triggers are, except that I get one in close proximity to my monthly cycle (not the case this time). I do have a tender scalp, during migraines-no bun. I don't vomit, but I have front to back throbbing skull pain, light and noise sensitivity. The migraine three weeks ago lasted almost 48 hours with OTC pills. Thank you all for your input.

DARKMARTIAN
May 9th, 2010, 12:01 PM
I very VERY rarely get migranes. I think ive had maybe three in my entire life.....but occasionally I do get a headache from having it in a pontytail for awhile......:(

not very often though

Neoma
May 9th, 2010, 05:36 PM
I have migraines whether my hair is short or long.

On a non-migraine day, I can wear an updo all day without suffering repercussions. On a particularly bad migraine day, sometimes I can't bear to have my hair up, so I will take it down.

I have been going through a particularly bad siege lately: all-day migraines almost every day. If cutting my hair would make the pain stop, I'd do it in a heartbeat. It won't.

Flynn
May 9th, 2010, 07:20 PM
Aside from the scientific research, I can offer you my own personal anecdotal experience

I am a migraineur and have suffered equally with longer hair and very short hair. I would much rather enjoy my pretty long hair while having a migraine than ever cutting it short again and wishing it would grow.


Whereas I had exactly the opposite experience. I chopped all my hair, and went from a couple a month, to one every couple of months if I was unlucky.

Then I went on the pill, and they all but stopped. I've grown my hair out again, and only have problems now if I do it in an updo that has an unusual weight distribution on my head, and therefore puts strain on my neck.

(If you haven't tried it, my brother and I both find the absolute best thing -- better than any of the things the doctor has told us to try -- is a couple of panadol/tylenol, a strong coffee, and a big glass of water.)

TiaKitty
May 9th, 2010, 07:40 PM
LisaButz2001 I don't have Migraleve available to me. It looks like paracetamol and codeine are the main ingredients. Maybe it would work for you, but discussing it with your healthcare professional would be best.

Neoma I feel your pain with the all day, multiple day migraines. I can have an extended migraine, lasting up to 72 hours at times. The horror. If this change in your migraine pattern has you worried, you should definately consult your physician. Anytime the pattern or frequency of your migraine changes, that's worth reporting to your medical provider!!!

Excederin migraine doesn't work for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work for some. I have some recalcitrant migarines of unspeakable tenacity.

Anyone else have to change their hairstyle when they have one coming on or during one? My go-to for migraine hair is two english braids. Sometimes I can pull it all back in a bun, but not always...

Neoma
May 9th, 2010, 08:43 PM
Neoma I feel your pain with the all day, multiple day migraines. I can have an extended migraine, lasting up to 72 hours at times. The horror. If this change in your migraine pattern has you worried, you should definately consult your physician. Anytime the pattern or frequency of your migraine changes, that's worth reporting to your medical provider!!!
Oh, TiaKitty, I don't know how you handle 72 hour migraines! :blossom: Left untreated, mine generally last 12 hours.

mizk5110
May 9th, 2010, 09:24 PM
I've gotten horrible headaches since I was very young - I remember laying on the living room floor at our old house with all the lights off except the light over the kitchen sink, wrapped around a puke pot, crying because it hurt so bad only to find that crying made it worse...and I was 4 years old. My mother has gotten true migraines since she was a teenager, so for me it's genetic predisposition. My biggest triggers are the changing of the seasons (fall is especially horrible for me), increased exposure to pet dander, and increased stress. Yep, my headaches are mainly allergy-related! However, if I feel a headache coming on and don't take something right away, I end up with the mother of all migraines!! Thankfully DH learned from experience how to baby my headaches while we were dating, so I have the best nurse ever.

I also noticed that my headaches got worse when I was on the Pill, and decreased slightly when I switched to the Ring. I also found they have decreased from 2-3 a week to maybe one or two a month when I started taking Singulair (allergy med), and Synthroid. Granted, I knew there was an allergy connection, but perhaps there was a connection to my low thyroid function, too?

Anyway, my hair hasn't been past BSL in 7-10 years, and it's the first it's been past APL in almost 3 years...so definitely not a hair connection for me.

Oh, and not a sore scalp thing for me, either - one of DH's "headache therapies" is a scalp massage. :) *melts*

pelicano
May 10th, 2010, 03:20 AM
Anyone else have to change their hairstyle when they have one coming on or during one? My go-to for migraine hair is two english braids. Sometimes I can pull it all back in a bun, but not always...

I have to have mine completely loose, or very loose bun - can't bear any kind of tightness feeling.

Teakafrog
May 10th, 2010, 05:47 PM
I get killer migraines, have for years, when hair was ear length to waist length, no difference. I've tried every over the counter and prescription med there is, with varying degrees of success, but hair length definitely is not a contributing factor.

Gypsy
May 10th, 2010, 06:18 PM
My mom used to get headaches but not migraines from her long hair.
She had a lot of very thick, very heavy Italian hair and would get constant head aches and neck pain.
(this was taken when she was 10 years old- she was getting her hair cut to a pixie cut and it made the newspaper, lol! It was a big deal back then for a little girl to have such an "extreme" hair cut!.)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v102/LaMermaid/poodiehair-1-1.jpg
I think that picture was the last time she had a major hair cut aside from trims until she cut it for good in the 80's and hasn't had the problems since. Still has headaches, of course, but nothing like the frequency or pain level as with her long hair.
Even though I know she feels better, I still miss her long hair, lol!:cool:
My chiropractor even told me that he's had patients who got tremendous relief in the neck after cutting even just a couple inches off their long hair.
Meh. I'm still a fan of the long hair. Of course, since I don't experience that level of distress, I guess I can't say "I'd never cut my hair for that"/

LisaButz2001
May 10th, 2010, 08:12 PM
TiaKitty: I have resisted a Dr.'s intervention for fear of being told I need a prescription, chiefly due to the side effects either present in the various drugs now, or that may turn up later. This is why I'm not on the pill either (Yaz is a great example.) Flynn: I shall definitely try that home remedy. I am actually a major caffeine ingester. I seem to recall being told caffeine restricts blood vessels and that restricted blood circulation causes headaches. Gypsy: Did your mom enjoy being a trendsetter, or prefer long hair? I am tempted to see if the chiropractor is right, and return to waist/tailbone, but I love my new length, so unless these migraines persist or intensify further, I shan't cut it yet.

missmandy
May 10th, 2010, 09:05 PM
Well, HAVE you been sitting on it? lol If you are maybe all that pulling is what's causing it.

LisaButz2001
May 10th, 2010, 09:51 PM
MissMandy: LOL, not deliberately, only happened once/twice. I mostly have it a cinna-bun and when it is down I drape it over my shoulder.