‘Hair Wash Headache’!

September 5, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

Weight of hair can pull the upper neck backwards

Weight of hair can pull the upper neck backwards

In recent correspondence to an acclaimed international headache journal, a doctor located in India reported on migrainous headache occurring after washing of the hair – as the author explains this has either not been noticed in other countries or it may be that similar headache presentations in other countries occur but are called something else.

As reported by this doctor, the crucial factor here is that many ladies from India have long hair that is plaited and it is time consuming to dry their hair (it is uncommon to use a hairdryer). Consequently many women do not wet their hair daily. On the days that they wash their hair however they describe throbbing headache developing within 10’-15’ ; their history of these headaches is usually quite long; this is the only headache they get; usage of perfumes or shampoos is uncommon … therefore the author (doctor) considers there are no other triggering factors …..

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Imagine the weight on the back of the head of all the wet hair pulling the upper neck backwards – the stress on the neck structures would be significant …. could this be an unrecognised cervicogenic headache?



(Ravishanka K. ‘Hair-wash headache’—an unusual trigger for migraine in Indian patients Cephalalgia 2005;(25)12:1184-1185

Ravishanka. Unusual Indian migraine trigger factors. Headache World 2000. Poster Presentation. Cephalalgia 2000; 20:359)

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About dean
Consultant Headache & Migraine Physiotherapist; International Teacher; Director, The Headache Clinic & Watson Headache Institute; PhD Candidate Murdoch University, Western Australia; Adjunct Lecturer, Masters Program, Physiotherapy School, University of South Australia; MAppSc(Res) GradDipAdvManipTher Experienced health practitioners trained in the Watson Headache Approach perform the examination and treatment techniques developed by Dean Watson. These techniques are based on his extensive experience of 7000 headache patients (21,000 hours) over 21 years and are now taught internationally. For your nearest practitioner who has completed training in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’ please refer to the ‘Practitioner Directory’.

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