Does the hijab, or headscarf, cause headaches? A recent report generated some mild interest by saying,”Yes, of course!”
All right, so it’s not quite that simple. The hijab is the headscarf worn by Muslim women. And before we even get to the latest report, the “hijab-headache” is actually well-known among the women who wear them. No, putting on a hijab is not an instant guaranteed headache, but many women wonder how much the hijab contributes.
Now to the recent report, from Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain. The study questioned five women to see if they had experienced headache while wearing a hijab. The answer (of course!) was yes.
Women, have you ever had a headache while wearing a dress? A jacket? A shoe? … ok, you get my point.
However, four of the five said that they had not experienced headache before they started wearing the hijab. And the the fifth women said that her previous headaches got worse when she started wearing it.
The headaches also resolved when the hijab was removed.
So we’re not really talking about triggering a migraine attack here, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that does happen.
The researchers believe that this is not specifically a hijab problem. They cite a previous study which connected ponytails with headaches.
Yes, in that study over half of the women in the study experienced headade due to ponytail. The remedy in almost all cases was – loosen the ponytail.
So we’re probably dealing with something similar, whether it’s a ponytail-headache, hijab-headache, hat-headache, long-hair-headache or scarf-headache. It’s a result of the pull on tendons and muscles.
So one solution would be shave your head and never wear scarves or hats, but the remedy in most cases probably doesn’t need to be so extreme.
If any kind of head scarf is giving you a headache, think about the weight and tightness of the scarf/underscarf. Consider a lighter scarf, breathable material, and/or wearing it looser. Try a slightly different style. Think about colour, and how much heat that may be generating.
You might also want to change the length of your hair, or how you wear it under the scarf.
There is not a large amount of study for these types of headaches, because in most cases the solution is fairly simple. Loosen up, and experiment a bit, and you should find the pain going away.
PS For some people, wearing something tight around the head during a migraine attack actually helps alleviate symptoms. That might be the day when you try tightening things up a bit, if only for an hour or so.
For more on the study, see “Hijab (Headscarf ) Headache”