There are times when we experience discomfort on our scalp or hair. This pain is sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation or tightness. If you do experience this type of pain, you will probably ask yourself the question – why does the root of my hair hurt?
Most of the time, hair and scalp pain is not severe and goes away without any intervention. However, if you experience persistent pain on your scalp and hair, this could indicate a more serious condition.
If this occurs, immediate medical consult must be sought to make sure proper medical intervention can be initiated. It is ideal, however, to understand the functions and anatomy of the hair and the possible reasons that are causing your hair to hurt.
Understanding Hair and Its Structure
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Hair is simple when it comes to structure. However, it has a lot of essential functions. This part of the body is made up of keratin, which is a strong form of protein.
Each hair strand is anchored into the skin through a hair follicle. The bulb of the hair creates the hair follicle’s base. Inside this bulb, cells divide and grow to form the hair shaft.
Blood vessels will nourish the cells located in the hair bulb and deliver certain nutrients and hormones that modify hair structure and growth at different phases of a person’s life.
The Cycle of Hair Growth
Hair growth transpires in cycles. Each hair growth cycle comprises of three distinct phases.
The first step of the hair growth cycle is the Anagen or the growth phase. Each hair spends several years in this stage. The next step is the Catagen or the transitional phase. After several weeks, the hair growth slows, and the hair follicle will start to shrink.
The last phase of hair growth cycle is the resting phase or the Telogen. Over several months, hair growth will stop, and the old hair will separate from the hair follicle. A new hair will initiate the growth phase, and the old hair will be pushed out of the hair follicle.
Hair grows differently regarding the rate in every person. As the person ages, the pigment cells in the hair follicle will die, and the hair eventually turns gray.
Why Does the Root of Your Hair Hurt?
In most cases, hair root pain will resolve on its own. However, there are cases where the pain becomes persistent. You may need to see your healthcare provider for further assessment when this happens.
It is, however, vital to understanding the possible cause of your hair and scalp discomfort.
Hairstyles are one of the primary reasons why the root of your hair will hurt.
If you wear your hair in a tight ponytail, cornrows, bun or tight braids, your scalp may feel tender and painful. The discomfort is often noticed when you take the hairstyle out after wearing it all day.
- One way to help you with this type of hair and scalp pain is to alter your hairstyles. You should also avoid pulling on the same areas on your scalp. Also, you should consider avoiding hairstyles that are very tight or those that feel like they are pulling on your hair.
Headaches may also cause the root of your hair to hurt.
Tension headaches often initiate the contraction of the muscles on your scalp, resulting in scalp tenderness and pain. This type of pain typically starts at the back of the head and will gradually move forward.
Tension headaches are associated with depression, stress, arthritis, eye strain, grinding your teeth, and holding your head in one position for an extended period.
- To relieve tension headaches, you should adhere to a healthy and well-balanced diet, get enough sleep, drink ample amounts of fluid and ultimately reduce stress in your life. If these interventions do no work, you should seek medical consult for further assessment.
3. Fungal Infections
Fungal infections like ringworm can affect the scalp, and this may cause you hair and scalp discomfort.
The distinct symptom of ringworm is a rash forming rings with areas of hair loss. If this condition is not treated, you can experience swelling, redness, crusting and pain on the affected areas.
- To prevent the spread of ringworm, you should avoid sharing brushes, combs, and hats with other people. If you already have the infection, you should see your health care provider right away. Your doctor will prescribe you the right medications to treat the disease.
- You can also make use of a medicated shampoo to prevent spreading the disease to other people.
4. Hair Loss
If you are experiencing some form of hair loss due to hormone changes, childbirth or chemotherapy, you may experience hair and scalp tenderness or pain.
The treatment for this type of hair pain will depend on what is causing your hair loss. However, if you are experiencing sudden and unexplained hair loss and discomfort, you should consult with your health care provider right away, so you will be assessed and treated accordingly.
- The treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your hair loss. However, if you are experiencing hair loss unexpectedly, see your doctor to rule out serious illnesses.
5. Head Trauma
Head injury or trauma can contribute to scalp and hair pain. This type of pain typically occurs in those areas where a minor or major head trauma has occurred.
Head injury can result from something serious like a fracture or has or something less severe likes pulling the hair too tight causing strain to both the hair follicles and the scalp.
6. Serious Illnesses
In more serious cases, hair and scalp pain may be caused by brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, and hemorrhage. In this case, scalp and hair pain associated with acute illnesses can result in chronic and debilitating complications like paralysis, blindness, or brain damage.
- If you are suspecting that a serious illness is causing your hair to hurt, you should consult with your health care provider. Proper and timely diagnosis is essential in the treatment of the underlying cause of the pain and prevention of further health complications.
While the hair is simple in structure, it can cause discomfort. The causes of such illnesses can vary depending on the underlying reason. Also, the interventions to treat, cure and further prevent complications will vary.
If you are experiencing hair and scalp pain, you should consult with your health care provider right away. Your doctor can accurately assess and diagnose your condition. With proper diagnosis, your doctor can formulate the right treatment plan that will target the underlying cause of your hair and scalp pain.