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Wear Your Hair Down Before it Wears You Out!

Wear Your Hair Down Before it Wears You Out!

Wearing your hair up in a bun, a ponytail, or a clip may be causing you neck pain. The simple solution is to wear your hair down or have your bun positioned below your head, behind the neck, or to the side.

Having once commuted 1 hour a day to work I frequently had neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches, especially after a long day’s work.  I realized my ponytail was hitting the car’s headrest resulting in my head to be pushed forward. After I stopped wearing a ponytail while driving my neck pain and headaches were reduced by at least 80%.


Ditch the unwanted stress on your neck!

If one works 5 days a week for 52 weeks per year and has a 1 hour commute (30 min each way), that is more than 280 hours or 10.8 days a year with undue stress on the neck.  This time does not include running errands, picking up the kids from school, visiting family and friends, or grabbing a bite at In-N-Out.  Imagine your head in this forward position for 10.8 days.  Pain will occur due to prolonged stressors, repetitive imbalances, and faulty biomechanics at the neck.

How do ponytails affect your neck?

The forward head position tightens the:

  • Cervical extensors (e.g. muscles behind the neck; suboccipitals, upper trapezius, and levator scapulae muscles)
  • Pectoral muscles.

On the contrary, it lengthens/weakens the:

  • Cervical flexors (muscles in front of the neck)
  • Rhomboid muscles
  • Lower trapezius muscles.

This imbalance results in increased stress on cervical spine and decreased cervical spine stability.  This is when we feel pain, sometimes with headaches and shoulder pain too.

Stressed neck (incorrect)

Relaxed neck (correct)

Always be mindful of a forward head posture

If you’re unsure whether you have a forward head posture have a friend, family member, or coworker take your photo without you knowing and see if you do.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the pillows I sleep on causing a forward head posture? 
  • Do I sit with a forward head posture at work? 
  • Do I have a forward head posture when brushing my teeth?
  • Do I sit on the couch and watch football with a forward head posture?


Don’t let your neck and head become the next Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Fix the impairments now and don’t wait to stabilize your spine. Wear your hair down before it wears you out!

Do you think your ponytail is causing your neck pain?

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Christy Loo, PT, DPT
Christy enjoys spending time with family and friends and being physically active playing a variety of sports. She is frequently outside hiking, fishing, and camping – enjoying nature’s beauty and the fresh open air.