Health Tip – Aug. 9 – Airplane Headaches

Filed under: Dee Dee |

The hassle of air travel these days is bad enough, but that stress is independent of what appears to be a newly recognized type of headache – a severe one that comes on when the plane is landing.

Airplane headaches were first reported in medical literature in 2004 and more cases have been noted since then. They’re characterized by severe pain on one side of the head and near the eye that develops during landings and in most cases lasts less than 30 minutes.

Italian researchers recently reported on 75 new cases and maintained that airplane headaches should be considered a new subtype of headache. The designation would allow the headaches to be studied more directly than they have been so far.

Responses to questionnaires from people who say they’ve had these headaches indicate that the pain does not occur on all flights. The researchers noted that based on these reports, a traveler would need to have experienced at least two attacks for the pain to be classified an airplane headache. And the one-sided pain should be the only symptom – no nausea, or sensitivity to noise or light (these are symptoms of a  migraine.

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