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Cutting Hair for Headache Relief?

My 15-year-old niece who has chronic daily headache asked me if cutting my hair, which was to my mid-back, into a pixie cut reduced my head pain. Although I don’t remember noticing a correlation, I’m hoping you may have some experience with this. She said it always feels like her hair is pulling on her scalp and that she gets a horrendous headache whenever she straightens her hair. Any idea if cutting her hair may help relieve her head pain?

18 Responses to Cutting Hair for Headache Relief?

  1. Yes! I chopped mine off and noticed a slight difference which prompted me to ask my neurologist. He said people that suffer from migraines sometimes have hypersensitive nerve ending in their head and skin. I cannot remember the word for it, something like aleopecia. Anyways, the weight of the hair can be enough to exacerbate daily headaches. When you’ve been to the neuro, have they lightly touched your face or scalp and asked if that hurt? They are look for this sensitivity. Not all patient have it but I did notice a small improvement.

  2. Alas, at one point in my 20′s I did cut my hair super short…for me it made no diff with chronic daily HA and 4/month migrane. Now that I am in my 60′s, a sure exacerbation of sever chronic daily HA is going to hairdresser and having my neck in the sink- even with a padded cushion…. Good luck,

  3. Robin Leszner says:

    My short hair has provided me with relief, especially because any pins, clips or ponytails would surely trigger a headache, and I hate having my hair in my eyes! Also, it’s much easier to dry my hair before going out into the cold (another trigger). I don’t think it’s a cure-all, but it certainly has helped me. :-)

  4. Allison Eckerman says:

    I noticed a difference. I have an extremely sensitive scalp, and it hurt to go to the salon, or comb through knotted hair, or put it in pony tails with any clips or headbands. But last summer I cut it fairly short (A-line chin-length, when before it was to about mid-back), and not only was it easier to deal with (quick, easy brush-through in the morning, no knots!) but also it seemed to decrease my daily headaches a bit. I would recommend her cutting it short, especially if she has scalp sensitivity!

  5. Nilofer says:

    I have never had thick, heavy hair so haircuts only created a slight feeling of lightness. I do remember making a lot of associations as a pre-teen/teenager that were similar. I noticed that I always got a headache after sitting in the car wearing my jean jacket. The collar was creating added pressure to my neck. I could never wear hairbands of any sort either. As a much younger child I thought that AM radio gave me headaches but that FM radio did not. My parents just thought that I preferred Musac from FM radio rather than the static-filled talk radio on AM.

  6. Mel says:

    Long or short hair has never made any difference with my headaches (chronic daily headache + episodic migraines). When I wore it long – mid-back to waist – I almost always wore it up, and my scalp would ache from pins/clips/ponytail holders, etc. Now I wear it in a pixie cut, but still have pretty severe allodynia – lying on my back is painful with the back of my head touching the pillow, and I dislike wearing hats, headphones, or anything else on my head.

    Does your niece have general scalp tenderness or sensitivity to things touching her head? If she’s lying down, does it still feel like her hair is pulling on her scalp? If not, cutting it might help. She’s 15, after all – why not experiment?

  7. I have had mine long or short. The thing about shorter hair is it takes less time to dry and straighten, which cuts down on the head pain. I can’t ever wear mine in a ponytail anymore, so it might as well be short….although, when it is long, you can quickly braid it, or let it dry and go, and the length makes it so styling is not a necessity. When mine is shorter (shoulder length) I do have to do something with it. Trade-offs, really. Good luck to her!

  8. Lisa says:

    My hair is long but I find if its hurting a braid is best. A ponytail can hurt or sometimes it can feel good–it’s weird!

  9. Lily Ellis says:

    I definitely notice an increase in headaches when my hair gets longer than shoulder length. Tying my hair back gives me a headache after a few hours, although weirdly enough two ponytails I can tolerate most of the time.

  10. kate says:

    i interviewed for a migraine research project years ago, and the neurologist in charge asked me about my short hair. though it wasn’t something he’d officially tracked, he said it seemed that well over 90% of chronic migraine sufferers (female) kept their hair short, and so he was starting to ask more about it. he wondered if it was an unconscious method of pain management.

    mine’s been short since age 18, prior to which it was long, down my back. i really don’t like to deal with my hair anymore, which is not what i was like in younger days. i don’t notice a pain difference each time i cut it, but i do notice that i find it wildly irritating when it gets a bit too long and heavy, and i feel great relief when i get rid of some of it. migraine-related? who knows. it wouldn’t surprise me. migraines are so crazy in so many ways, nothing surprises me anymore.

  11. Sandy says:

    I cut my long hair into a pixie a couple years ago, and it helped a little, because “my hair hurt my head”, as did “pins, barrettes, combs, etc”. I’ve let it grow a little bit (really not much), but I wanted to use styling product on my hair, not my scalp, because it hurt too much to touch my scalp. I think each person is different. The right meds have helped a little.

  12. James says:

    Yes, I have heard this before. I’ve never had long hair myself, but certainly some who have migraine have had a drastic improvement after going to a shorter style.

  13. lisa says:

    I can’t speak to the impact of having less hair, but I can say that when I opted for a few subtle (or that was the intention) hair extensions, the impact of the constant slight pull on my scalp triggered a massive migraine, a scenario that was repeated when I had the extensions replaced. After that, I removed them.
    I find ponytails intolerable for the same reason.

  14. no says:

    I CAN’T stand long hair, or having a lot of it.
    I’d like to have long hair, but I can’t stand it, so I settled for a lenght that didn’t annoy me: breast lenght, and thinned it a lot so it doesn’t weight much.

    My headaches haven’t been better, I think, but I do feel more comfortable. Pony tails no longer weight my head down or make my scalp hurt.

  15. Eshetie says:

    I have certainly assured that when my hair gets longer, i get a migraine like headache will visit me.it lasts until i cut my hair.Some thing puzzle to my life…

  16. Bureinato says:

    I have medium length, thick, heavy, wavy, hair and about 2, 2 & half years ago I got it cut short. perhaps 2-3 inches long all around. It didn’t change my headache(s) and I hated, hated, hated it. So I grew it back, which took about a year – year & half.
    It’s cut so most of the time I don’t need hair clips, and when I do use them I rotate them, don’t use them all day, change them up during the day.

    I figure I at least proved to myself short hair doesn’t make a difference and I am never going back to a little orphan Annie cut.

  17. rodger says:

    I shaved my head completely and its amazing. Probably the best decision I’ve made in my life.

    Haven’t had a single headache since.

    I think it might be related to temperature of the brain, since migraine is essentially inflammation of the brain, at least for me, when I used to have then my forehead would burn, and layer of hair acts like thermos, trapping the heat.

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