I actually find French and Dutch braids pull on my head after a while. I might just be securing them too tightly because once I remove the elastic, the pain seems to diminish.
Another thing I thought of, are you holding your head differently when you wear an updo? It might sound like a silly question, but when my hair is up, I can only drive short distances as I hold my head differently to keep the bun off the headrest. I always wear a braid if driving for long periods. So even if you're not driving, you might be holding your head differently and putting pressure on your neck.
I'm not sure if it has anything to do with hair thickness. I can't use bobby pins or claw clips because they make my head ache yet I know someone with thick ankle length hair who relies on claw clips. And having suffered with neuralgia, I know there are times I can't even bear to comb my hair and an updo or braid just isn't going to happen on those days. So sending sympathy for what you're enduring.
I'm glad you're looking for a solution and I hope you find one. If you want to cut, that's fine, but I'd hate to see you do it when you don't want to. We're here to keep working with you to find something that does work.
And please, let's celebrate thin hair (although yours never looks thin in photos but I'll take your word for it). I had a lady come and do a quote for me today - probably several years older than me - thin grey hair in an updo and wispy bangs and I thought she looked feminine and elegant. I definitely wasn't thinking that she needed to cut and get a perm or something to add volume.
Hair Journey Began June 2006 ...
Hair Type: 2a/M/ii
Natural Colour: Mid-Dark brown with natural red and silver highlights (more silver than red nowadays); fringe/bangs (which I am always in the process of growing some out).
Starting length: 25"/62.5cm (BSL)
Initial Goal length: 36" (Tailbone)
Setback: Major shed in 2010 when at 38" while dreaming of classic
New Goal: Healthy hair that I'm happy with! (Preferably tailbone with thick hemline.)
Estimated Date: Mid 2017 for tailbone and then maintenance/beautification programme begins.
C = condition the length; W = wash the scalp using diluted organic shampoo or shampoo bars; A = acidic rinse, either ACV or citric acid; Frequency = once a week. In-between times, scalp washes as required.
Favourite Products: locally bought shampoo bars; A'kin shampoo; cone-free conditioners; avocado, olive, almond and coconut oils.
Other: Regular micro-trims; light oiling on dry hair a few times a week; BBB; wooden comb; Mason Pearson comb; hair sticks, Flexi-8's, Ficcare, and other hair friendly toys.
Latest Experiment: Washing with rye flour shampoo
'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfailing beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.' 1 Peter 3:3-4
My Author Website
On Eagles' Wings (My Blog)
My Method for Scalp Washes