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Why Do Ponytails Cause Headaches?

We often hear that “beauty is pain,” but should an everyday, regular ‘ol hairstyle have to be such a sacrifice?

I love a high ponytail as much as the next girl. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s perfect for days you haven’t washed your hair since god-knows-when. The one thing I can’t stand about them, however, is the achey, throbbing feeling it leaves at the end of the day. Sometimes, it’s barely midday and I could already feel the migraine-like

What is it about a ponytail that triggers a headache?

If anyone can answer that it’s Dr. Denise E. Chou, neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center. She’s specialized in treating headaches and got on the phone with me to explain the mystery behind the ponytail pain.

Oftentimes, those who experience headaches while wearing a ponytail are already migraine-prone. “Patients don’t realize they have a migraine because it’s often undiagnosed. It affects about 12 percent of the population and roughly about 18 percent of women,” she says. The disorder leads to sensory hypersensitivity making the nerves around the face and scalp super sensitive at baseline.


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