This Is What's Really Causing Your Ponytail Headaches

Republished with permission from Musely an Evio Community Partner

This Is What's Really Causing Your Ponytail Headaches.jpg

You expect to feel a headache when you drink a little too much or when you have a cold, but from your ponytail? Not so much. 

But ponytail headaches *are* a real thing. A 2004 study out of London found that 50 women out of a group of 93 experienced pain on their heads while wearing ponytails. These types of extracranial headaches" usually come about because of scalp sensitivity, and are reported different than the short of brain-buster, or "intracranial", headaches you might be used to. 

"If someone is wearing a hairstyle that is particularly tight, when it's pulled back that tightly, the pain sensors in the scalp become constantly sensitized or activated," explained Michigan-based neurologist, Wade Cooper, DO. "So over time, that starts to generate a pain signal and the scalp becomes achey and sore just from the mechanical pulling of the hair. 

The feeling is called Allodynia, which means that something that's usually comfortable - like pulling your hair back into a ponytail - can start to feel uncomfortable. According to Dr. Cooper, this sensation is more common in people who have migraines or other pain disorders because their nervous systems are generally more sensitive to any kind of stimulus. 

So how can you avoid these pony-induced pains? According to the pros, the best way to deal with ponytail heads are to simply let your hair down. If you don't feel better within a couple hours, or if you start to feel other symptoms like nausea or sensitivity to light or sound, it may be a sign of an untreated migraine, and you should check in with your doctor ASAP.