Arts Wellbeing Collective member organisation, Performance Medicine, are well-versed on the impact that the performing arts can have on our bodies. Here, they offer insight into managing the impact of heavy headdresses on our bodies.
Have you ever finished a performance where you’ve worn big hair, wigs, or headdresses and ended up with neck pain and headaches? There’s an old saying, ‘beauty is pain’, but it doesn’t have to be!
Big hair, big fascinators and big headdresses look incredible onstage. However, for your neck, bigger things resting on top of it can lead to tired muscles, less than optimal postures, and headaches.
Your neck muscles respond to load in the same way that all of your other muscles respond.
For instance, if you lift a heavy weight, you will be exercising your arm muscles. They are likely to feel sore if you are not used to this task, or if you have changed the way you lift, or if you lift the weight for too long, you may end up in pain as the muscles may not have adapted to this movement or load.
Normally, your neck and shoulders can support the weight of your head for a day. However, if the weight sitting on top of your shoulders increases because you now have a wig, or a hat or headpiece (or both), your neck and shoulder muscles may not be strong enough to cope with this. Then, if you add on an asymmetrical hairstyle, or a headpiece that extends sideways past the width of your shoulders, then you’ll be increasing the load on this area even more! Heck, that’s exhausting!
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help: