Can flying really give you a headache?

Can flying really give you a headache?, airplane headache, travel sickness, travel health
Can flying really give you a headache?, airplane headache, travel sickness, travel health


Researchers have found that the headaches that many people get when travelling by train, car or plane are more acute when flying.

'Airplane headache' is a form of pain that flares up during landing and takes place on one side of the head near the eye, which should be recognised in the medical world, Italian researchers have argued.

The scientists at Giovanni e Paolo Hospital in Venice led by Federico Mainardi suggested the condition should be considered a new subtype of headache with a list of criteria doctors can use to diagnose it, the Daily Mail reported.

Mainardi described it as 'a recently described headache disorder that appears exclusively in relation to airplane flights, in particular during the landing phase.'

It's unknown what triggers the headaches but one theory is that it could be related to pressure changes in the sinus cavities, based on the idea that travellers with colds or sinus infections can get severe headaches during take-off and landing. Mainardi's team said it is distinct from migraines and other well-known headache types.

The research was on a group of 75 people who had the symptoms of airplane headache with 96 per cent experiencing the pain for less than 30 minutes.

Neurologist and professor at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Canada, R. Allan Purdy said: 'Is (airplane headache) a unique disorder? I think it is. But others might disagree.'

'Nobody knows what causes it. Nobody knows how many people have it. Nobody knows what treatments work,' he added. Purdy noted that it would be studied more directly if it was classified as a distinct disorder.

However, the report did show limitations as nearly all of the individuals assessed travelled long-distance and had no physical examination.

Do you suffer from airplane headaches? Leave a comment and let us know below.

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