Woman bends over in agony over painful long hair strands billowing in a pattern. Hair shears, scrunchies, and comb make background pattern.

Long Hair With Migraine Disease

Last updated: December 2022

I have long hair. I have a love/hate relationship with it, though. Having long hair does cause my head to hurt and leads to migraines on some days. My hair is the longest that it has ever been right now. I love how it looks, but it can be a struggle when a hairstyle can bring on a migraine.

There are several problems that I can think of when you live with migraine disease and have long hair.

Can I put my hair in a bun?

First of all, many wear their hair in a bun. That is something that I love to do, but this is the worst hairstyle for me. It causes bad migraines. In a bun, the hair is twisted around several times, with a scrunchie holding the bun together.

The tightness of the bun causes the middle of my head to hurt first. Then my eyes start in. This leads to the right side of my head hurting. It not only causes a migraine, but my neck issues start in, as well. I am sometimes away from home and tend to wait it out til I am back in the car. That is when I just let it all hang loose, literally, to get relief. Ha ha.

Can I put my hair in a ponytail?

Ponytails are my next popular style. This is something that I do because I like easy maintenance. I just brush a little and put an elastic hair tie on it. I have found it best to keep it lower to the neck for pain relief. There are days, though, that it does not matter if the ponytail is high or low. What do I do when I feel the starting symptoms? I do the same when my hair is in a bun - just let it go.

Can I wear headbands?

Headband days are when I seem to have some flyaways at the front of the forehead area. I want to wear it down, but my hair fails to cooperate. That is an easy fix. Just pop a thin, hard plastic headband on it. I like these as they hold my hair best. I have not tried the thin spandex bands or any others, though.

The problem is that the pressure from the bands can become bothersome to my head. I will either feel it in the top center or behind the ears first. That is when I know that I have had it on too long.

What symptoms do I look for?

As stated above, I can tell when I need to take the hair down or the headband off. I may get any of the symptoms below:

  • Pain starting in the center of the head (stabbing/throbbing)
  • Pain on the top/sides of head (throbbing)
  • Eyes bothering me/Nausea (dizziness, floaters, difficulty seeing)
  • Neck pain from ponytail (stiffness/achiness)
  • Pain behind the ears (throbbing)

Why do I keep my hair long?

I have been pondering this topic lately as it has continued to grow. There are some positives to having it long. It really is a brush-and-go type of style. I like easy, and it only takes about 5 minutes to put it up. When my hair was around shoulder-length, I had to flat iron or curl it. That style took about 30 mins. As I said, I like easy, and I do not have to think much about what I want to do with my hair. It will either be a loose ponytail, braided down, or just loose. I love not having much maintenance.

Will I cut my hair?

I may decide to cut it one day. Right now, I can tell when a migraine is starting. I know some people do not get any advanced warning. If I stopped getting the early warnings, then I would definitely cut it. My medicines do work pretty fast also when I do get a full-blown migraine. I am on Aimovig 140 mg monthly and a nasal Imitrex at 20 mg up to 2x per migraine. So, if my treatments stop working, or I get to a point when I am not able to manage my hair on my own, then I will cut it.

Long hair and migraine disease, or any chronic illness, may not work for some. We all have to live with our choices and decide what is best overall. For me, it is keeping my hair long for now as it is the easiest way to do hair without effort.

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