Today we’re going to talk about dreadlocks… and neck pain!
Some people get the impression that dreadlocks are incredibly weighty - I mean look at them, big, thick, bulky things anchoring down their wearer’s heads! Surely these things must result in a significant force bearing down on my neck - potentially leading to discomfort and neck pain.
While it’s true that dreadlocks do have a weight to them, they’re not as heavy as they may at first appear. Simply, dreadlocks are made from hair - at least mine are! and so they only weigh as much as the hair that they’re made from (most of the time - I’ll come back to why it’s only most of the time later). So while they might look bulky and massive… it’s still only hair - if you sit down and start a set of dreadlocks, the resulting dreadlocks will weigh just the same as the hair that you started out with… so as long as that hair didn’t cause you discomfort, the dreadlocks shouldn’t cause you discomfort (obviously the situation is going to be different if you add extensions onto the dreadlocks). Now it might be a little deceptive in that you might start out with hair that’s chest length and end up with dreadlocks that are shoulder length - as dreadlocks may shrink up significantly as they lock, so a length of dreadlock doesn’t weight the same as a length of hair - it weighs as much as the hair that it’s made from - which may be significantly longer than the length of the dreadlock… but again, it’s still hair - mass only gets added at the rate which the hair grows, so generally so slow that you’d never notice them getting heavier.
Now obviously there are extremes - the weight does increase with length - grow them long enough and you’re going to be aware that you’ve got them - though you’d notice regular hair if you grew it out long enough.
Let me return now to where I said they only weigh as much as the hair, most of the time. The real issue when it comes to dreadlocks and weight is not so much the dreadlocks themselves, but the water that they can hold when you wash them - I tried to show this is my weighing dreadlocks video… but it’s not so easy to weigh dreadlocks!. Dreadlocks can soak up water like a sponge - a dry sponge doesn’t weigh all that much, soak it up with water and you’ll be able to tell. Slow weight changes as a result of the hair growing are not noticeable - instant weight changes as a result of soaking up water, those changes are noticeable. It’s when the hair is wet that you may experience discomfort - which is one of a few reasons why it’s advisable to try and dry dreadlocks in as timely a manner as possible. The longer the dreadlocks, the more water they will soak up, the more they’ll weigh while damp, and the longer they’ll take to dry - and so the issue with dreadlocks and neck pain is not so much down to the dreadlocks themselves, but more down to the weight they can gain while being washed.