Sunday, August 15, 2010

Airplane Headache

Cartoon Reenactment of JetBlue Flight Attendant’s Dramatic Exit

No, the term "airplane headache" does not refer to disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater (or to being a passenger on that flight). Instead, it refers to a recently characterized type of headache that occurs during take-off and landing (Atkonson & Lee, 2004). The pain appears to be unique to plane travel and not associated with other conditions. Neurological exam and brain imaging results in all published cases (n=14) have been normal.

A new case study of a man with airplane headaches has been reported by Domitrz (2010). Clinical details are as follows:
A 29-year-old healthy man, who works as a psychologist, reported that during his last airplane journey, he developed a very severe and sudden jabbing headache located in the left frontal region with radiation into the left eye. It started during take-off, diminished during the 2-h flight, a very mild pain was present during the flight and increased during plane’s descent and lasted until a few minutes after landing. Then, the pain completely and spontaneously subsided. The same situation took place 3 days later when the patient was returning. He remembers that he had similar, but milder headaches during previous flights. However, they occurred only during airplane flights and did not develop during jumbo jet flights. Similar headache did not appear in other altitude variation moments, e.g. in mountain trips.

The pain was always located in the left frontal region with radiation into the left eye without any autonomic symptoms and neurological focal problems. He could not move until the headache disappeared. The patient has no medical history of sinus problems and using any medications. The family history has shown only tension type headache in patient’s 4 years older sister. General (including blood pressure and heart rate), neurological, otolaryngological and ophthalmological examinations were normal. Brain magnetic resonance imaging also with angiography excluded any structural lesions and arterial malformations.
Domitrz (2010) further notes that most reported cases have been in young males, as is her patient. She is also puzzled by why he gets these headaches only on airplanes that are not jumbo jets -- perhaps it is connected with differences in air pressure, she speculates.

What causes this specific type of headache? One view is that barotrauma is involved, with pressure changes affecting the trigeminovascular system (Berilgen & Müngen, 2006):
We think that barotrauma caused by pressure changes in the cabin during take-off and landing could affect ethmoidal nerves (branching from the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve) that carry the senses of the mucosa on the inner surface of the paranasal sinuses, and/or nociceptors in ethmoidal arteries, thereby activating the trigeminovascular system and leading to headache.
It's enough to make someone attempt an emergency exit!


ADDENDUM (added July 24, 2011): A new paper found that triptan drugs (used to treat migraines and cluster headaches) may be effective in preventing airplane headaches (Ipekdal et al., 2011). The abstract is reprinted below.
Ipekdal HI, Karadaş O, Oz O, Ulaş UH. Can triptans safely be used for airplane headache? Neurol Sci. 2011 May 10. [Epub ahead of print].

A few cases of airplane headache (AH) have been reported in the literature. Treatment strategies of AHs are also controversial. We followed-up five patients with AH. They were symptom-free during the daytime. Their physical, neurological, and ear-nose-throat examinations were all normal. Blood chemistries, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging angiography, and paranasal sinus tomography studies of the patients were also normal. We preferred triptans because of the possible effect on the mechanism of AH. Patients were recommended to use single-dose of their drugs half an hour prior to flights. All of the patients had a good response to single dose triptan treatment and became headache-free during flights. This is the first study which puts forward the usefulness of the triptans as a safe treatment choice for airplane AH.

References

Atkonson V, Lee L. (2004). An unusual case of an airplane headache. Headache 44:438–439

Berilgen MS, Müngen B. (2006). Headache associated with airplane travel: report of six cases. Cephalalgia 26:707-11.

Domitrz, I. (2010). Airplane headache: a further case report of a young man. The Journal of Headache and Pain DOI: 10.1007/s10194-010-0245-9

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209 Comments:

At August 15, 2010 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered vibrations resonating at differing frequencies in larger or smaller cabins? Or vibrations in conjunction with pressure changes?

 
At August 15, 2010 7:30 PM, Blogger shamus said...

21 year old male right here reporting the exact same phenomenon.

Last two plane trips I had this on the descent, including sensitivity to light + loss of attention focus.

 
At August 16, 2010 2:09 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Anonymous - I don't know that any of the articles have considered vibrations...

shamus - It's probably a lot more common than what has been reported in the literature. Do you ever have migraines? I ask because sensitivity to light is one of your symptoms.

 
At August 16, 2010 2:35 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Marchioretto F, Mainardi F, Zanchin G. (2008). Airplane headache: a neurologist's personal experience. Cephalalgia 28(1):101.

One of the authors talks about his experience of airplane headaches. He had a history of sinus problems from 14 to 22 yrs of age. Then at 29, while on his second flight ever:

"...while approaching the landing (the plane was approximatively 500 m above the airport), he experienced a sudden, sharp pain of very high intensity located in the right periorbital region, associated with profuse tearing, conjunctival injection and ptosis... During the attack he was irritable and found it difficult to stay in his seat."

He found naproxen to be very effective:

"An inconsistent action of ibuprofen has been described. This is the first report of the apparent good effectiveness of naproxene in this condition: a very simple preventive therapy with this drug proved successful in avoiding further attacks.

We expect this form of headache not being rare in the general population: it is probably underreported due to its short duration and spontaneous remission. Therefore, this simple therapeutic measure, if its efficacy is confirmed in other cases, could be of help, avoiding an unpleasant and worrying condition that could, as might have been in the present case, limit the use of air travel for many people."

 
At August 17, 2010 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started experiencing this in the last few years -- absolutely brutal, stabbing pain upon take-off and/or landing, sometimes accompanied by lots of tearing in one eye. So now I take an over-the-counter sinus med before I fly, and if I start to feel some pain, I hold my nose and keep gently blowing out my ears, and that seems to help.

I've maybe had 2-3 migraines in my life; no other headache history.

 
At August 18, 2010 4:50 PM, Anonymous P. Jennings said...

This is the unequivocal, final, non-negotiable answer about why people develop 'airplane headache' -- low oxygen.

Airlines do not create a "sea level atmosphere" when the plane is at however many thousand feet it flies, to get from A to B.

Some people have heart attacks while the plane is still in the air -- from the lower levels of oxygen -- and some don't have that heart attack (or die in their sleep) until the next day.

Tissues become depleted of oxygen over the length of the flight. In addition to personal susceptibilities, very long flights mean there is a lot of time to suck the oxygen right out of a person.

And the barometric changes don't help, of course. They just add to the problem.

 
At October 11, 2010 10:55 AM, Blogger Rajesh said...

I have all the symptoms. Jabbing Pain on my left side. So far it happened twice only during descent.

Is there any medicine available?

Thanks
Rajesh

 
At October 19, 2010 1:42 PM, Blogger Manuel Armando Sarabia-Acevedo (@marsax) said...

25 years old male reporting the same thing. I have been on a plane lots of times, but it has just happenned twice: a couple years ago and today. I think it´s more common than it seems, but it hurts a lot. You think your head is gonna explode...

 
At October 29, 2010 11:25 PM, Anonymous Arun Sudarsan said...

I have been flying a lot for last 5-6 years. since last 2 years I have been experiencing this intense pain starting from the back of the neck radiating to the the middle of the two eyes, help me to find some medication for this problem

 
At October 30, 2010 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I often get a boner when I fly.

Best guess is that it has something to do with a combination of pressure changes making engorgement easier, vibrational stimulation of my pudendal plexus and pretty air-hostesses, causing some kind of sympathetic NS vasoconstriction.

Similar processes (specifically the effects of mechanical vibration and pressure changes, possibly also rapid changes in atmospheric humidity), may be affecting the cranial sensory afferents to produce the reported pain?!

 
At November 15, 2010 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this exact same problem today the flight was only 1hr. No problems on take-off or during flight, but on the descent the pain started on the left front side of my forehead, travelled onto the left eye region. (BTW a few commenters have said left side, anyone know the reason why it happens on the left only, as happened me) The pain for me was excrutiating. I thought my eyeball was going to explode. had an ache in the region for a few hrs after but seems to have gone now.

 
At November 28, 2010 11:03 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

I am a 35yo male and recently experienced the exact same stabbing pain in my left eye upon landing. My nasal mucous contained blood for the next 3-4 days as well. Has anybody else experienced bleeding associated with these headaches?

 
At December 04, 2010 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On my recent return flight Chicago to NJ, when we began our half hour descent, I was hit with the worst pain ever experienced - only in the left half of my head - like a 1,000 hot stabbing needles/knives were jabbing into my head. It began over the left eye, then around & behind the left eye, to the top left half of my head, to the upper left jaw and over toward my ear. But it remained mostly centered around/behind my left eye. I thought my eye or head was going to explode. I was in such pain they called for a doctor on the plane, then was examined by paramedics at the airport and sent to the local hosp's ER and had a CAT Scan. (The intensity subsided greatly upon landing, but my head remained feeling very sore and traumatized.) The Scan show "slight sinus disease" according to the doctor. The ENT doctor said my sinuses, nose and throat looked great/clear afterwards. My reg. doctor said blood tests showed nothing. I now plan to see a neurologist. I don't think I can ever fly again until I know why it happened and how to prevent it again! I have flown extensively all over the world and this has never happened. I did not have a cold, no nasal drip, nor was I congested at all. Then I read this article and everyone's comments which sounded exactly what I had experienced.

 
At December 07, 2010 3:18 PM, Blogger Crafty Betty said...

It sounds like I might be the only female reporting such a problem, as well as the only person with it happening on the right side.... As my plane began its descent into Milwaukee last night I experienced the most terrifying pain imaginable and was removed from the plane by paramedics immediately when the plane landed. I have flown many many times, and this was my fourth flight in as many days. When I boarded the plane, no cold, allergy, sinus problems, but I was very restless the whole ride. Then the plane felt like it was 100 degrees and I could not breathe, suddenly both nostrils were completely blocked (but I could find no way to clear them as I did not have a runny nose, and it did not feel "stuffed", but it was definitely blocked suddenly.) almost as immediately as that happened I felt the most extreme pain right above my right eye, right where the eyebrow bone is (no where else). I honestly thought that at any moment that part of my brain would explode. I knew I wasn't having a stroke, but I thought maybe an annuerism. I had to call the flight attendant as I was sure I was going to die or at least was having something very traumatic happen to my brain!!! This is no exaggeration.. The pain eased as the plane taxied in to the gate, but I still had a moderate headache in that same spot. I actually was quite embarrased by the number of paramedics that showed up to help me because by that point I was standing and walking on my own. The paramedics as well as myself, figured I probably had a sinus infection (even though I have never had one, and this has never happened on a flight before.) So I expected to wake up very sick this morning with severe sinus pressure, but alas, no sinus problems or pressure at all!!! The only thing is a continued mild headache on right brow bone radiating up to my forehead. Is this the same thing???

 
At December 09, 2010 7:12 AM, Blogger Roy said...

Hi, 35 year old male here. Had almost no sleep before taking a one hour flight and felt extreme pain on the center of my forehead and spreading to the eyebrow area. My pores around the area felt itchy also. This all happened right before the pilot announced his first approach to land. The pain continued for 20-30 minutes but it was unbearable (from a 1 to 10 scale, it hit 11). I suppose the change in altitude caused this? One said that the lack of oxygen was the culprit? I am bound to fly again early next month and I am very worried to go through this ordeal again.

 
At December 13, 2010 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

31-year-old male. This happened once before when I flew with a head cold and I couldn't pop my ears. I could just feel the pressure building and pow... the ball-peen hammer slammed into my left eyebrow.

Last night on my flight into Newark I actually got quite scared as I was just leaning forward trying to shut my eyes and wham! I thought I blew a blood vessel or something. Now, ~15 hours later, I only feel a dull pain in my eyebrow.

Does anyone really know why this occurs? I found this

http://www.britannica.com/bps/additionalcontent/18/31739286/Severe-Jabbing-Headache-Associated-with-Airplane-Travel

Frankly, I'm wondering if we gain increased susceptibility to this, e.g. chances increase the more you have it. I'm getting worried about flying again.

 
At December 13, 2010 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to follow-up to Anonymous on Dec 4th, I was also on the Chicago-to-NJ last night, on a Continental flight. And my previous headache was on a Continental flight. It has never happened on countless other airlines with whom I've flown.

This might be a ridiculous hypothesis, especially since correlation does not equal causation, but perhaps certain airlines fly certain planes or having operating procedures that make us more susceptible?

 
At December 31, 2010 1:17 PM, OpenID CuteModelGuy20 said...

I just experienced this for the first time a couple days ago on a Delta flight from Detroit to Los Angeles. I never get headaches and it was during landing only. but, the pain was from the temples through the forhead and I thought a blood vessel in my forhead may burst because it was literally so intense. I turned on the overhead air just in case I thought it may be an oxygen depletion, and I didn't notice it helping, but it may have been too late.
To give others some insight at any commonalities, I'm a 31 yo male who has never had a sinus or headache issue. I was sleep deprived the night before. And, I say this because many patients I have read about seem to be male... I had a lot of sex the night before. Sorry to be crude, but I am wondering why mainly only males in our age group? So, there is my info and hope maybe it helps someone else find a commonality. My headache also ended by the time we deplaned. Cabin preassure I'm sure, but why all males and are we doing something to increase chances of this?

 
At January 10, 2011 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 30 year old female, and was only on a 1 hour flight, 15 minutes before landing i had the same symptoms, i thought my head was going to explode and thought something serious was happening to my brain!
i started to get the pain over my eyes then through the middle of my head then down to my neck area.
i did have a bit of a cold but nothing major! and as soon as i got on the plane my nose started to run, so it has to be something to do with my sinuses, just by reading other people's comments.
i have been on alot of flights and this has never happened to me before, i feel a bit at ease now that there are quite a few other people who had the same problem.

 
At February 04, 2011 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same thing I am a 25 yr old male and I had fallen asleep on jet blue when I woke up we were already decending and I had the worst headache over my left eye and the my forehead felt like pins and needles but sensitive to the touch I thought I had slept wrong cuz the back of my neck was also sore then I felt my nose running so I grabbed the napkin under my drink and when I blew my nose it was all blood it soon went away after we landed but still freaked me out

 
At February 10, 2011 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually glad to hear its not just me. Happens about a third of the time I fly and I fly a lot. Exact description. Jabbing pain in forehead (left side mostly). Makes me cry automatically and I'm a fairly tough 30 year old man. This pain reduces me to a little girl. Most people don't understand what I'm talking about when i describe how bad it is insisting it must be a migraine, but it only happens on flight descents and then comes back later in the night.

 
At February 12, 2011 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

31 years old male reporting from Australia the same problem..

First time I felt the same symptoms when the flight was landing...It was just 1 hour flight..

After that, I have not been in a flight until I travel today..it is 1 hours and 10 minutes travel one way and I returned same day...I didn't feel anything during take off and travelling...I felt a terrible pain in right eye and forehead..felt like my arteries in my eyes are going to blast..and so irritated..
During the return journey...felt the same thing during landing..this time it was more severe than before...the pain developed to the left eye and forehead..and my eyes became full of tears...

 
At February 21, 2011 10:26 PM, Blogger Vadim said...

I feel the same every time!

MEDICINE: try white wine and get a little drunk!

HELPS ME!!!!

 
At February 22, 2011 5:58 AM, Blogger Maggie's Pearls said...

I am a 58 year old woman with a long history of migraines and I experience excruciating pain in airplanes primarily on descent. Definitely sinus related, though I can breathe fine. It feels like an intense "brain freeze". Mine are bilateral, forehead and nasal. Makes me cry and I can feel the pain for up to a day though much diminished. I have also experienced pain when driving over the mountains once. I don't think vibration has a thing to do with it. It is pressure change for sure. I have taken homeopathic Borax with some success, took Sudafed this last time and seemed to work but has given me rash. Anyone have any other natural solutions?

 
At February 23, 2011 8:19 AM, Blogger J Michael said...

As a pilot I can tell you that cabin pressure in modern aircraft at altitude is usually around 5,000-7,000 feet, roughly equivalent to Denver, CO. It takes time to adjust to higher altitudes, but this usually only takes a short period of time.

Some people, however, are more susceptible to problems, in particular those who smoke or who have lung problems.

Pressure changes should be rather minor on climb out or descent unless we are forced to make a rapid descent or climb, so that should not be the problem.

No doubt being in a pressurized vessel can cause problems with sinuses which can lead to pressure in the head.

Best solution - chew gum during takeoff and landing, breath deeply and just relax.

Can't stand the pain from flying? Stay on the ground and just fly a rubber band airplane and drive to your next destination!

 
At February 24, 2011 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a similar incident, however it was while driving from Seattle to California. I was sleeping during the drive, and woke up high in a mountain with a lot of pressure in my head, so I yawned to release the pressure like I always do, and there was an imediate excruciating pain behind my right eye that remained until we descended from the mountain. I get very upset when people call it a headache or migrain, this pain was like nothing I have ever experienced, definately not simply a headache. I am an ex-boxer, and have broken my are several times, and shattered the bones in my hands twice each. The pain behind my eye was 10 times worse than any other injury I have ever endured, and considered jumping from the car to get the pain to stop.

The pain went away when we came off of the mountain, so I thought it might have been a one time incident, and had to get back to Seattle some how, so I took a double dose of a very powerfull narcotic pain reliever ( several times higher than what you are given after surgery or for broken bones), yet on the way back it happened again, and the pain reliever couldn't even take the edge off. I am too scared to drive to a high altitude, and haven't left the state since. Reading everyones comments, I guess I won't be flying either.

 
At March 02, 2011 8:05 AM, Blogger jojo said...

36 yr old male. I have these same crippling episodes approx. 25% of the flights I take and always during descent. Seen my Doctor about this condition last week since it seems to be chronic and knowing I was to be flying again in a few days. He said use Afrin nasal spray B4 and during flight...it didnt work.

 
At March 06, 2011 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 19 yo female, and this has happened on landing of the last three flights I've been on, but never before. The first time it happened it felt like my fillings in my teeth were expanding and were going to explode and the pain shot up to my head. The last two times I thought I burst a blood vessel or something in my head because of the pain and intense pressure. I was sleep-deprived, but no cold or allergy or sinus problems at all

 
At March 22, 2011 4:08 PM, Blogger the real deal said...

41 year old male, non-smoker. same things happened to me several times on descent, severe pins and needles on one side for 20 to 30 mins... anyway, the one thing i noticed was that this happened almost everytime i rode a specific airline but didnt occur on another airline.

Could it be there is difference in pressurization upon descent among different airlines?

 
At May 19, 2011 11:39 AM, Anonymous Obayda said...

Actually I had exactly the same headaches 3-4 times in my life. The worst headaches you could ever imagine. Increasing with rapid altitude changes (landing and taking off), and typically on the left temporal areas (twice, and twice was generalized), very severe headaches. I'm mildly asthmatic and seasonal allergic rhinitis. and I noticed those attacks were markedly more severe the less I had sleep before the journeys..

 
At June 28, 2011 3:24 AM, Blogger magicrat said...

mainardi et al first proposed the diagnostic criteria. he presented the results of their study in a platform presentation in the international headache congress, held in berlin 23-26th june. send aswer to him for informations

 
At June 28, 2011 3:24 AM, Blogger magicrat said...

mainardi et al first proposed the diagnostic criteria. he presented the results of their study in a platform presentation in the international headache congress, held in berlin 23-26th june. send aswer to him for informations (federico.mainardi@ulss12.ve.it)

 
At July 07, 2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Farrokh said...

25 years old, same problem. I haven't had non of those aches before on my flights. and every time its getter worser. now its my second day of being in london (istanbul -> london) and every night I got minor aches in exact areas!

 
At July 18, 2011 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

30 year old male. Nonsmoker. mild sinus history. Had this several times during landing. (never on take off) But the first happened when I was 15, riding down from a mountain in a car. It was like someone was torturing me by sticking needles to my head (around eyes and cheeks). The last happened just today and made me search the net one more time about this issue and found this blog. I had two flights today (each 2 hour flights on Delta), and had the pain on right eye in the first flight. It was again like needles passing through. And my right eye teared up so bad that a napkin and whole my face got wet. Then my nose started running (right nostril) and pain relieved slowly when the plane landed. In the second flight, although I was always trying to yawn, make sure nostrils are open, the pain started on the left side. This time it was like left side of my head is gonna explode. I just had a one hour sleep before the flight.

 
At July 24, 2011 9:42 AM, Blogger Yash said...

I felt severe pain when the aircraft was landing. my forehead especially above right eye...the pain was unbearable. This happened 2 days back. I have felt this pain on one more occasion. Anyone knows about the cure?

 
At July 24, 2011 10:32 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

A new paper found that triptan drugs (used to treat migraines and cluster headaches) may be effective in preventing airplane headaches (Ipekdal et al., 2011).

I've reprinted the abstract as an addendum to this post.

 
At July 27, 2011 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the exact same problem on my last four or five flights in the past two years all on smaller airplanes.

 
At July 31, 2011 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Saudi Arabia 25 year old male had the same problem last night going back from Riyadh to Jeddah. I also had the same problem in China and in the US. The worst pain I ever had in my life. I thought I was going to die. I was waiting for a blood vessel to burst. My left eye was tearing. Stabbing pain behind my left eye. I didn't know what to do. It happened like 6 times on different airlines in different countries. It was always so painful I wished I was dead and not feeling like that. pain goes away as the plane lands. mild headache in the same spot remains for a day or two. Last time it happened I didn't sleep much before the flight so maybe sleep deprivation has something to do with it?

 
At August 03, 2011 1:33 AM, Anonymous Josh warren said...

Hey I've had several of these headaches, the severe pain behind my left eye on landing. I'm a 26 yo white male and am very active.

To whoever said it was lack of oxygen I can tell you this can't be it, I work in Colorado during the ski season and routinely hike at over 12,000 ft up mountains in the snow with no problem and live at 9,000 ft. So my red blood cell count is higher than the average americans by far allowing me to get much more oxygen to my body per breath, but I still suffer these headaches.

I think it happens most when I'm tired, I saw others mentioned being sleepy or waking up, its the worst way to wake up thats for sure.

I have had several concussions and always thought it was a result of that. This last one happened last summer and I got a concussion, flew from NC to AZ the next day with no problems. On the way back 6 day later I had several airplane bottles of rum to help me sleep since I was taking a red eye. I woke up with the aforementioned eye pain, it felt like my eye was going to explode. It happened when I landed in newark for my lay over and then again when I landed in Raleigh. I thought it was something to do with the alcohol and the concussion. But this time I had headaches for the next 3 months and couldn't drink any alcohol without getting drunk off half a beer and then a few minutes later a severe hangover type headache would set in. Don't know if this was connected with it, but i haven't flown since. I'll repost again if it happens when I fly and try not to get a concussion before my trip again.

 
At August 03, 2011 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have these exact symptoms as mentioned in the article. I only get this pain when flying on small airplanes. The first time I thought my head was literally going to burst and that some vessel was bursting in my brain. When it happened the second time, I thought I'm not going crazy. The stabbing pain is so severe. I thought I would have seizure. This last time I had a somewhat milder version. I chewed gum all the way - really hard and I kept eating strong mints to clear my head. It worked a little. I'm so glad to read that I'm not the only one. I used to suffer from migraines, haven't for a long time. Thanks for posting this article.

 
At August 03, 2011 8:06 AM, Blogger ........ said...

Hey, i am a 17 year old girl who has experienced the same type of pain you guys have ben talking about... But the biggest difference for me was that it started with me when i was 12/13 on a flight to Jamaica. And with me, the pains don't occur in my eye but around my jaw bones, right underneath my ear and the back of my head... I'm reading all of these comments and i'm starting to get more scared... I'm in America now but i live in Europe, i'm actually kind of scared to fly back to Europe in 2 weeks.. I'd rather go back by boat than by plane :(

 
At August 13, 2011 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear others are experiencing this...I am a 26 year old female and have flown frequenly my whole life both long and short haul. but the last year while landing I get horrible pain in my head its so bad it makes me feel faint. I feel my head is going to explode and it actually burst blood vessels in my eyes. The pain usually subsides once the plane has landed.

I was so worried I thought there was something seriously wrong with me strange there are not many female suffers.

 
At August 15, 2011 7:42 AM, Blogger Jose said...

I have had several times the same symptoms described by the majority of the people, severe pain in left eye and forehead. I have just come from a flight and I also experienced a very traumatic pain, although this time it has been while the plane was flying at high altitude, and the pain has been more spread over the head. I know for sure preassure is an important factor, as I had been experiencing severe pain during the whole flight and "magically" it disappeared the moment the plane started to descend. I has also been deprived of sleep the last nights, I am male and 34. I can also confirm that similar episodes have happened to me in small airplanes, never on wide-body aircrafts, so probably small aircrafts are worse pressuriced than the big ones, we could complain to airline companies about that! Thank you all for sharing your experience, it is conforting knowing that many people have the same problem.

 
At August 19, 2011 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 36 female and quite relieved to know that I ain't the only one undergoing all these symptoms. cure? after the episode i asked around and i was told to chew chewing gum. I did and it worked. so now I carry heaps of chewing gum when i fly.

 
At September 02, 2011 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I has septoplasty surgery in January 6, 2011 and left for a vacation to Hawaii February 10, 2011 and flew in a smaller aircraft to Chicago. When we started to desend the pain in my forehead area in unbearable. I contributed it to the surgery. I was seen by two doctors in Chicago's airport and was given a nasal spray and some pills which I took 1/2 when we took off and then I took that other half about one hour before landing in Honolulu. The pain was there but no at all what it was like landing in Chicago. On the way I also used the spray and the pills and still felt some pain. I am off to New York in two weeks and I am very nervous to fly again because of the pain. Sincy my surgery I sound like I have a cold all the time and I am forever blowing my nose. Any words of wisdom for me????

 
At September 02, 2011 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

33 year old male reporting the exact same excruciating pain. It is so intense, feels like head may actually explode at points. What is this? How can you treat it?

 
At September 04, 2011 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

34 year old female with exactly the same problems as described by others. i don't smoke and never had any sinus problems. i fly relatively frequent (20-30 times per year). the first time was some months ago and since then i have flown a couple of times without any problems until yesterday it happened again. like others have said, the pain is really really bad and i thought my head was going to explode.

 
At September 06, 2011 9:11 AM, Blogger DannyO said...

I had this exact situation happen during a plane's descent; I thought I might be having a brain hemorrhage or something, it was so painful in/behind my eyes.

I was able to feel increasing levels of pain with each drop, one more excruciating than the next.

A thoughtful stewardess brought me some aspirin and a hot moistened towel, and said she saw the same thing happen every few flights.

The pain lasted for at least an hour afterwards, but definitely dulled over time after landing.

I have had no abnormal neurological exam results (have had CT scans and a cranial MRI for a subsequent injury), no heart, blood pressure or other relevant issues.

What I do have is a solution that seems to work: Afrin nose spray, before takeoff and when the first announcement is made that we're approaching our destination.

Never had a repeat problem, though did once or twice start to feel my eye twitter a bit during turbulence that forced us up and down unexpectedly. Never enough to get the migraine, though.

It's a pretty horrifying experience overall, but seems to be managed with nose spray.

 
At September 06, 2011 8:37 PM, Anonymous beentheredonethatnotbychoice said...

Ok so after reading a lot I have an analysis for myself with as many factors as I could take into account and have listed them here:
1. Dryness of sinuses was most probably the reason for my pain. This is of course while I already had congestion. The following added to dryness for me:
a. had too much caffeine that day
b. had a cold drink on board with ice
c. had cold air blowing on my head
d. sat next to the window and peered out
e. cabin air is dry
f. IMPORTANT: I had been taking anti-histamines for a week. They seem to work differently (need to confirm with your doctor though). Basically I think an antihistamine dries up mucus but a decongestant drains mucus.
2. The plane was smaller so that may have contributed too.

Solutions that I read on msg boards that worked:
1. Someone mentioned the air-hostess gave them two styrofoam cups with hot towels that they put to their ears and got almost instant relief.
2. Order a warm drink during the flight before landing like hot tea (tea has much less caffeine than coffee). Warm/hot water might be best though.
3. Sit in the isle seat rather than the window seat.

That's all folks
Have a safe next flight

 
At September 08, 2011 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had this issue for almost 35 years. Some flights I Haney no issue at all and some flights I feel like I might die. Small commuter jets are worse, large jumbo jets better. I really think it depends on how well the aircraft manages the pressurization. Don't know if this is automated or pilot controlled. I have found a medication fix that seems to work most of the time. About 1.5 hours before landing (landing is worse) I take 4 Ibuprofen and 2 Sudafed. This seems to really help but I can still have issues. Wish I knew what the real issue was.

 
At September 22, 2011 7:22 AM, Blogger galegardens said...

I am a 52 year old female and have never had problems with flights in the past other than mild headaches. I recently took a two hour flight which seemed uneventful. The next day my left temporal area from forehead to upper jaw was very soar as if I had been hit by something. It was very tender to the touch. A few days later I began to develop a black eye and it progressively became worse over several days. My eye showed no sign of blood but the lids and eye socket area was extremely bruised. The doctor suggested that I may have burst a blood vessel in my left temporal forehead area and the blood has been settling around the eye socket area. So, Joel, yes I have experienced some sign of bleeding, although only within tissue.

 
At September 22, 2011 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so glad I found this site. I just got back from Las Vegas last night and I had this exact same thing. I felt fine during the takeoff but on the way down about 15 minutes from landing I all of a sudden got a SEVERE stabbing pain behind my lft eyeball and up towards the brow area. I thought I was having an annyuerism like someone else mentioned. I jumped out of my seat (I wasn't supposed to because theseatbelt lights were on) and ran into the bathroom to see if my eye was gushing blood because thats what it felt like. Then it subsided after landing and its the next day and I have only a slight dull ache in that area. I'm thinking it might be some sort of pressure thing with fluids and/or mucous behind the eye. Thats just how it feels to me, and I have a problem already with too much phlegm in my lungs. But I hope it doesnt get worse.

 
At September 23, 2011 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

57 yr.old female. I experienced a terrible stabbing pain in my left eye on descent on an AA flight from Santa Ana to Chicago. This has never happened to me before. I seriously thought maybe a had an aneurysm. I could not move and only spoke to my husband regarding it in the plane, it lessened on arrival,but I still have an ache at eyebrow level on the left side. Sinus's?..looking for some answers to this SCARE...thanks

 
At October 06, 2011 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, 32 year female who experiences the same symptoms every landing at sea level or near sea level (as in Berlin). The first time I experienced it was during landing in Lisbon. I thought I was having a stroke! i felt a terrible pain from the base of my head, going up to the whole head, jaws and ears. The pain continued for up to 2 hours after landing. i took a pain killer and it stopped.

 
At October 08, 2011 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

46 Yr old female, never had a problem Flying until this week. On descent into Spain from UK, excruciating stabbing pain in right temple, so bad I was convinced my eye was going to pop out. It subsided shortly after touchdown. On return to UK last night, again on beginning descent, awful same pain, this time in the left temple and eye, so bad I was almost crying, as much with fear as pain as to what the hell was happening. I can honestly say I've never felt pain like it and I think I'll be scared to fly and risk that pain ever again. After collecting luggage, I was dizzy and sick, so much that I was walking to taxi vomiting into a plastic bag. I'm here 24 hrs later, still in excruciating pain over left eye that painkillers just won't touch. Did all the right things, chewed gum, yawned, stayed hydrated. Totally puzzled, but reassured it's not just me!

 
At October 15, 2011 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 33 year old female and feel this excruciating pain every time I land on an airplane now..... this was a pain that I had felt a couple of times and now it's almost EVERY time that I land. It feels like I cam going to have an anneurism.... Is there anything that can be done?

 
At October 15, 2011 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for those of you that experience the pins and needles near the eye area and the excruciating pain, here is my remedy:
Eye drops/artificial tears

the ones that are the chemical free and do not have a limit on the number of drops. the reason being, I basically start using the eye drops just before boarding and then keep using it every 30-45mins.
It prevents the inside of the eyes getting dry and ensures the vessels behind the eye are moist enough.
Ever see how a plastic bottle is crushed inwards when the plane is about to land? that is exactly what is happening to the vessels inside, and if the vessels are moist enough, it helps.
The air quality in the planes is not what it used to be. Basically the air is recirculated and extremely dry, so use the eye drops every 30-45mins and arrive at your destination pain free!

 
At October 20, 2011 6:09 AM, Anonymous Alan Johnson said...

Yep happened to me when landing arriving and departing. As stated the pain was to the left of my face and started in my tooth. It quickly spead to my forehead and or really sharp for a good 10 mins. This is the 1st time I have ever had this.

 
At October 21, 2011 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter just had this happen yesterday and it scared both her and I. However, her stabbing pain was on both eyes - traveling from the right to the left. I didn't know what to do and was almost in a panic state of mind worrying about her. She's 21 years old and started crying because it hurt so much. I'm sorry to say, I'm glad I found that there are others out there who experienced this as well. She does have a cold and I told her that I believed it was probably from her sinus' being inflamed. Now I'll let her know that naproxin, triptan (maybe a couple from the doc for the flights) and afrin may help. Thanks to all who have posted with their results and insight!

 
At October 26, 2011 11:21 PM, Blogger culmodwreason said...

27/male, history of mild headaches; have also experienced this on several flights--almost always on descent

 
At November 18, 2011 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

27 yr old male, flew Newark to Ft Lauderdale returned the next day same thing happened both flights for the first time in my life and I fly a lot. It started as an itchy stabbing pain in the skin on my forehead then moved to my right eyebrow and then behind my right eye. My eye teared up I looked like I was crying the pain was so bad I felt like I was going to go blind... I wanted someone to pinch me in the face to make the feeling go away, once we landed it subsided now it feels as if my eye brow and eye are bruised. I don't want to ever go through it again.

 
At November 26, 2011 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just experienced the same pain but only on coming back down I found that pressing rather firmly on both my temples helped quite a bit although I could still feel some discomfort but it was much more bearable than the stabbing pain!!!

 
At November 29, 2011 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have experienced the exact same pain many of you have reported. It was simply the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. It began as a sharp pain on the left side of my forehead and within seconds I was shaking uncontrollably from the pain. It was so intense that I lost awareness of my surroundings and only have a select few images in my head, one of which involved the flight attendant asking for a doctor. For those of you who are scared to fly again....I have flown about 20 times since the incident with no issue whatsoever. The pain is very real, and it is, embarassingly, one of the few things I fear on this earth...yes it is that bad. I truly feel like it is a very rare occurence though, and you should be able to fly again with ease. Oddly, besides my forehead and eye, my left jaw and teeth were in terrible pain as well. It subsided almost instantly after landing.

 
At December 08, 2011 10:37 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

I fly 60+ times a year for work and yesterday was the first time I experienced this excrutiating, eye ball stabbing with pins...its horrible. I was sweating and crying and all I could do was hold my right eye tight in hopes it would go away. I still felt it when I got home and now its the next day 1:30pm and its coming back slightly...not as bad but enough to where I needed to go online and find out why it's still happening. Should I be worried???? What can I take??

 
At December 10, 2011 7:34 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

37/m Happened to me the second time yesterday. Happened the first time last year. I have flown many times previously and the last two trips have been on smaller jets. I am a doctor so the first time I scared myself to death thinking I was having a stroke with my symptoms.

Stabbing pain, onset sudden in mid descent, left brow right behind the eye, and it feels like my eye is gonna pop out. First time I vagaled out and just about passed out thinking I was having a stroke. I remember grabbing and putting pressure above my left eye but it didn't help much and it hurt rest of that day. Bending over made it worse. Same sensation at this moment. I really don't want to fly anymore due to this.

 
At December 12, 2011 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 23 year old female. I have been flying since I was 8 years old and never before had experienced anything like this until last year. I had a 3 hours flight to London and nothing special happened I felt as allways flying, after 3 days I was suppose to go to Venice, a short flight and still nothing, then after a week I sat in a plain from Catania to Rome and I thought I was going to die. The pain that came was horrible and I had another flight almost after I landed in Rome. I didnt want to get into the plane, I was almost dragged in it, at the beginning nothing happened and I thought that it was only some kind of coincidence or something, but after an hour or so it started and this it time it was even worse. In general I have very high pain level, higher than most of the guys in my age and I never cry because of pain, but this time my tears just started rolling and I couldn't think of anything just wanted them to let me out of the plane. As most of you reported I also thought that I was going to die, I knew that even if I called the flight assistant they couldn't help me anyhow and also I was not able to call help. I don't remember were the pain started, but in the end it was on both temples like sharp knifes was digging in.
When the plane landed the pain slowly subsided, but not entirely. For approx two days my head was throbbing, but it was bearable. After that the headache was gone and I lived a happy life until my next flight.
After 6 months I had to travel to New York connecting flights through Frankfurt and back. In short it was worse, I wanted to jump out of the airplane and at moment I didn't care if I was going to die, because anything was better that the pain.
Now, after 3 or 4 month of my last flight I still get headaches every second day or so, not that bad as flying, but they are annoying, call them migraines if you want or anything else, but it just breaks my daily life. I have been to several doctors and nobody either believes me that it is so horrible headache at flights nor they think that my current headaches are related to my flight experience. They say that it is normal that people get headaches on flights because of lack of oxygen, dehydration and pressure changes and what not and that my headaches now are just simple migraines, I should reduce the stress in my job and get another pillow for more comfortable sleeping, drink some herbal tea, get more fresh air daily (I have a husky, so I'm going for a walk every day with my dog for an hour)... Well in short I have tried sooooo many things I'm sick of it already. I'm going to Venice after a week and guess what? I'm going by train. I don't care that it takes two days. I'm not going back on a plane until I find a reasonable solution.

 
At December 25, 2011 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

47 year old female with the same problem. Couple of days ago I was on 2,30h long airbus flight and during the landing at some point when we were rather near to the ground super severe pain started at the left side of the back of my head( occipit mastoid area) like a cramp or spasm rapidly increasing the intensity and spreading through the head. My head was felt to be on the verge of exploding and I instinctively held it tight and pressing with my fingers. The pain was unbearable and thoughts of dying were crossing my mind. It spontaneously subsided after 10 to 15 min when we dropped altitude but dull ache along sutures of the cranial bones and cranial base were present for some time. I ve been suffering from sinus inflammation on and of for years but on this occasion i had a mild irritation and nose and ears were not blocked. Crew were reassuring me that its "nothing" and "normal" and no paramedics were called which was unsatisfactory to say the very least. I am frequent flyer and this is third time in two years to experience this pain although nowhere near in such intensity. Dont know what to do and I am very concerned about my next flight that has to take place in couple of weeks from now.

 
At December 25, 2011 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 19 year old female who experienced this one before about 5 year ago, and have flown several times since then but did not experience it until a couple of days ago. I was flying from Eugene to Hartford with connections in San Francisco and Charlotte. I had no problem during ascension, but during each landing (3 in 12 hours), I experienced these headaches with increasing intensity after each one.

The pain began at the back, right side of my neck and radiated up my head, to my temple and behind my right eye and eyebrow bone. As each flight landed, the pain spread to to the roof of my mouth, my tonsils, the back of my throat, the bridge of my nose and the left side of my head and eye. By the third descent, I tasted blood in my mucous, however this could've been from the extremely dry air on the plane as I have experienced nose bleeds after flights before.

I have a history of migraines as well as sinus infections. As to the hypothesis of the airline causing the problem, my first flight was with United and my second and third with US, and I experienced the headaches with both airlines. The headache lingered for about 1-2 hours after landing, but the intensity disappeared almost as soon as the cabin door was opened. By the third flight, the pain was literally so intense that I began to cry.

The first and second time it happened, it was only on small airplanes, not the large jets. The first time it happened, I was flying from Hartford to San Diego and it only occurred on the small plane to Chicago, not the large jet to San Diego, so I assumed it had something to do with the air pressure on smaller planes. This time, however, it occurred on the 2 smaller planes as well as the large jet. When I told my dad (a pilot and aircraft mechanic) about the pain, he told me to pop my ears, which absolutely infuriated me. OBVIOUSLY I POPPED MY EARS! When I tried to explain the pain he dismissed me and told me to just keep popping my ears. Anyone who has experienced these headaches knows it is more than just a matter of popping your ears. It is literally the worst pain I have ever experienced.

 
At January 06, 2012 8:08 PM, Anonymous ArcyArkani said...

23 year old male reporting:

I experienced this 2 weeks ago when flying from England to Germany and back today (1h 30 mins).
On the first flight my ears hurt really bad. I tried to pop my ears and that worked a few times and then it worsened. After the flight I found some dried blood in my left ear when I cleaned it with a Q-tip.

On the second flight my ears were less of a problem. I managed to yawn and swallow to reduce the pressure difference.
However 5 minutes before the captain announced the landing I got the feeling like something was trying to hatch from the area between my eyebrows. It hurt so bad I wanted to scream and ask for help(but I doubt I could have had a proper conversation then).

Massaging outward from between my eyebrows and over the eyebrows kept the pain in check somewhat but it immediately returned when I stopped massaging and the pain spiked if I leaned my head sideward or forward.


After landing the headache subsided quickly but my hearing was very bad. I could barely understand the flight attendant wishing my a good onward yourney as I passed him in the corridor (or anyone talking to me for the next 2 hours).

Its been 7 hours since landing now and a dull headache remains and my hearing is still improving when I yawn butI belive it has almost normalized.

I was sleep deprived (3 hours before first flight and 6 hours sleep before the second). Also I was recovering from a cold during my second flight.
I fly that distance regularly every year twice(back and forth) but only now during my last 2 flights has this happened.

I was worried that I might be suffering a stroke, so its good to read that other people my age are also affected by it. Then again...maybe we all had a stroke or something similar.

 
At January 07, 2012 5:42 PM, Blogger daredevil said...

i never have this kind of a thing it happens to me only when i have a cold and i have sinus so my nose gets blocked really bad and this is the only time when i get these headaches . if im not wrong it is related to the pressure changes in the cabin of the airplane which affects the sinuses hence crushing the nerves at the front left area of the eye hope i helped any queries etc mail me at othnael@gmail.com

 
At January 08, 2012 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to my daughter, who flew home from Denver tonight. When I picked her up curbside, she (26 yo) told me she had "the worse pain she ever had" on the right side of her forehead, behind her eye. She said "it felt like my eye was going to pop out." It happended on descent. It scared her, and she thought she was having a stroke or something. She rubbed the area, and the pain subsided, and was a dull ache by the time we left the airport. She had no change in vision, no weakness, pupils were equal size, and head pain had subsided, but not gone away all together. Other notes: She was very tired, dehydrated ( from a few cocktails the night previous) and recovering from a week old cold.

 
At January 09, 2012 5:40 AM, Blogger Vadim said...

SOLUTION!

Dear all,

I had EXACTLY the same problems as you all do for many times. And I found a solution - NASONEX, nasal spray (you would need a prescription for it)

I was diagnosed with deviated septum (very light version of it), which I've been having for 20 years. Currently, I take NASONEX, spray that helps to increase space in my sinuses. Nasonex is a temporary solution for deviated septum before I do a surgery.

But I do NOT have this headache in the plane anymore, while I fly a lot.

 
At January 25, 2012 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

53 year old female. The first time this happened was May of 2000 Chicago to LAX. I am not a frequent air traveler. At the time, I attributed the terrible pain, nose running like a faucet and tears running down my face to a possible sinus infection. No issues on the return trip four days later.

Left Chicago for Maui 2 weeks ago. Flights were Chicago to San Diego, commuter plane to LAX, jumbo to unplanned stop in Honolulu,change jumbo planes and on to Maui. Exhausted, but the only issue was a badly bloodshot right eye for the entire vacation (eyedrops didn't help.)

Return from Maui flight was at 10pm. I was restless the entire flight, couldn't get comfortable. Upon descent, I had the feeling of a thousand needles being jabbed into my right eyebrow. I massaged the area until we landed, when the pain subsided. Directly boarded the second flight from LAX to Chicago. Nodded off for a short while, possible exhaustion from the previous pain, only to have the same reaction on our descent to Chicago.

Had taken Sudafed prior to each flight, hoping to ward off any issues.

Don't want to fly again unless I can get this figured out!

 
At January 28, 2012 9:32 AM, Blogger Egyptian Diaz said...

40 yr old. On my flight from Caribbean to New York I also felt severe stabbing headache when the flight was descending. I had never felt this type of pain before. I figured Id do a MRI and find out if anything was wrong. I had gotten so nervous my blood pressure went up. So the mix of both tensions made it feel as if I was actually having some type of attack.

 
At January 31, 2012 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omG finally other people who have what i've been having my whole life! i was a kid on a flight from new delhi to london and i ruined the trip for my mom and people sitting around us because i was screaming and crying over a pain EXACTLY as has been described on here!! my mom was not happy with me at all (screaming child on a long-haul flight = hellish for all) and through my sobs i said it yelped that it felt like one hot 5cm nail being driven right through my head just above my eyebrow. i seriously couldn't sit still because of the excruciating pain! my breathing was all shallow and quick and my tears from all the crying were making the pain even worse because my peri-orbital region was just super-tender (hyperalgesic). It happened again to me on a flight from Frankfurt to Warsaw and again on a flight from Vancouver to Sydney. Each time, I would have blood in my mucus for many days after arrival. *shudder* I'm cringing even now remembering how unbearable it was. I'm fascinated now that there seems to be research in this area...Thanks so much for everyone sharing their stories. It really helps those of us who previously suffered in silence (like when you're a kid having this and everyone on the plane is telling you to shut up)

 
At February 01, 2012 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 26, experienced this on the decent of a flight last night. It was on my RIGHT side and the pain slowly moved from the front to the back of my scull.
Today, my head still hurts really bad... and I blew a whole bunch of blood out of my right nostril this morning... WTF??

 
At February 05, 2012 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 24 year old female, experienced the kind of unbearable pain in my forehead described here during landing. This was about 4 years ago and it never happened again because since then every rime I fly I chew gum, I heard it can help. The interesting thing is that when I had this experience, I just pressed my head against the seat in front of me in an attempt to stop my brain from exploding (it felt like it would) but when I could finally move I looked to my right and the men sitting next to me had a nosebleed. I'm thinking this could have to do with maybe a certain angle that the plane takes for descending? Or maybe not.

 
At February 12, 2012 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just decided to research this and I'm shocked how many of these symptoms I share. 38 yr old male, competitive runner... Felt this extreme pain on descent for over 3 years. Recent trip to Kauai resulted in worse pain yet. Just above left eye. Still feel numb pain on eye over a week later. No blood. I'm going to have a doctor work this until the root cause is solved.

I've experienced cronic bad breath as well, which could be related to root issue.

 
At February 16, 2012 1:52 PM, Blogger HeadExplode said...

43 Year old Male has had this happen to me three times now. The first time was in my early 30s. I thought I was going to die and struggled to use the phone in the plane seat to call home and tell my wife I loved her, because I thought I was having a stroke. For me it starts with my back top and bottom teeth, where I think they are going to pop out of my mouth, then stabbing pains behind both eyes; stabbing pain right down the center of my skull above my ears and then permiates down my juggulars on both sides. This just happened to my on a flight from Florida last week. My fiance thought I was dying. I'm now experiencing clogged ears that I can't pop and dizziness. I may have to go see a doctor.

 
At February 16, 2012 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

28 year old female. This has happened to me the last 3 times ive flown. Except mine usually starts half way through the flight and then starts to disappear when decsending. The pain is unbearable and feels like jy head isgoing to explode. I usually have to get up and go to the bathroom where i cry because it hurts that much.I usually get the pain towards my right eye, up my forehead and down my nose. Its almost enough to turn me off flying!

 
At February 17, 2012 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

28 female. I too have had the same severe pain when descending from planes since I started flying in my early 20s. I used to get them 1 out of 4 flights. Now I try my best to keep calm because couple of times, I ended hyper-ventilating because I was in so much pain. When I was younger, I used to get the same pain when driving downhill from the mountains. My family just assumed that I was over-reacting . Now when I drive downhill, my husband knows to never drive faster than 35 mph.

I don't get the headache as much anymore. I always fly with a lot of water, gum, and non-drowsy claritin.

 
At February 19, 2012 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

60 yr old female here just returned from fresno ca.on wednesday felt this excruciating pain felt like electricity going thru my left side of face into left eye which started to water profusely thought i was having a stroke this was on the descend thought it would never end and did'nt know what to do i usually chew gum but I did'nt on this trip thought maybe it could be where i was seated i was toward the front of the plane usually fly way in the back ,again on flight back home to boston same thing but less severe electrical pain thru forehead I Would'nt call it a headache never have i experienced this pain all i can do is describe it as pinching stinging electrical pain next time i will not sit up up front and will chew gum,atartnd would be curious to know where people who experienced same where they were seated on flight

 
At February 19, 2012 6:35 PM, Blogger Jennifer Ashley King said...

I am a 30yo woman from Australia. I have suffered the acute pain from the decent on a plane many times. It is very painful, just as others described. It's quite scary the first time because you think your head is going to explode and you don't know when or if the pain is going to stop.

I am a frequent flyer, and I find the international flights on larger planes do not generally cause the pain. I suffer the most on budget airlines that don't do a very good job of descending at a slow and steady rate.

I suffer from TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) and I grind my teeth at night (bruxism) and need a splint for my teeth to control the pain I feel in my jaw. This is under control and I don't feel any pain on the ground.

On the plane, pain starts on decent on my left side in the jaw joint, spreads to the eye and the back of the head, then goes across to the right jaw, eye and head.It is most intense in my jaw joints under my ears.

I try to see a Myotherapist to massage my jaw and face before I fly to ensure the muscles are relaxed and less likely to cause pain.

When you hear two bell sounds on the plane about 30mins before landing, this is the pilot communicating to the airline attendants that the plane is at "top of decent." This means that the plane is beginning to fly down to the destination (and usually when I start feeling the intense pain).

I reassure myself that the pain will not last, breath deeply, massage my jaw and sinuses with my fingers and make a chewing motion to help relieve the pain. I sometimes grip my hands together tight and concentrate on that distraction too.

The pain usually stops 5 minutes after we have reached the destination (although I am exhausted from the intense pain). I usually go home and rest with a couple of paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relief the residual tenderness.

I am an adventurer and I work through the pain so I can continue to travel overseas and interstate for work and play. I am sad to hear people are so scared that they will never get on a plane again.

I would really recommend the myotherapy to massage the muscles in the head, face and neck a few days before your flight.

I know the pain does go away once I am back on the ground so I keep telling myself this if the pain is acute on the plane. I wouldn't want this to stop me from seeing and experiencing the world.

Safe travels and take care.

 
At February 20, 2012 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just happened to me. 30 year old female, healthy, fly a lot. I was leaning against the window looking out and felt excruciating pain above left eyebrow less than a minute before landing. I didn't know what to do and thought I was having an aneurism, popped a blood vessel or wasn't getting enough oxygen. Went away when landed. That was an hour ago and now that spot is aching. Could it possibly be from low oxygen levels right next to the window? Never happened before and I hope it doesn't happen again.

 
At February 22, 2012 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

25 year old female, happens almost every time I fly, the neck pain and targeted headache combined. It is horribly invasive, but from start to finish only about ten-fifteen minutes usually on descents, but occasionally ascents too. Goes away and I feel great, but I am going to try naxopren and the other suggested treatment as I have two flights scheduled next week. Hoping for good results.

 
At February 25, 2012 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 41 year old female and the same thing happens to me on flights. I've had excrutiating pain on take off and landing on the last 2 trips abroad. On previous trips I've had slight head/sinus pain. I'm going abroad next week and found this article when searching for possible reasons/remedies. I've bought some Triptan migraine pills and will see how it goes.

 
At March 01, 2012 6:48 AM, Blogger Mike said...

33 yr old male. I have these symptoms about every fifth flight I go on. They have been happening since I was about 24. Like others, the first time it happened, I thought I was dying... brain aneurysm or something. I had never experienced anything like it. Things that seem to be triggers for me: alcohol an hour before the flight, beer especially, sadly. However, more recently I have noticed they are coming on without have a drink before my flight.

I appreciate all the posts to this. I am going to try some of the suggested fixes. I have not asked my doctor about this but I am thinking I will the next time I see him.

I can confirm, like all of you, it is the most intense piercing pain behind the eye and/or eyebrow. I have felt it in on my left and my right side. Most recent episode was last night on a flight back from Philadelphia. I did wake up this morning with what feels like a sinus cold, so I am wondering if the Airplane Headache was just a symptom of my sinuses getting infected earlier in the day. Wish I knew more about this - it is the worst part of flying, by far.

 
At March 03, 2012 12:32 PM, Anonymous Rick. 47 male said...

Wow it happens to Lot of people. Same thing happen to me when we were landing
I thought I was popping something in my fore head right side never had nothing like it in 47 years
What is weird first time I chew gum on a flight and it happens
But the only clue I can give you I did not sleep the night before. At all. Seams to be common side affect for the ones without rest
Taking a flight in a couple days. Will be well rested and pop a couple of aspirin before lift off to see if that works

 
At March 04, 2012 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

30 year old female, 18 weeks pregnant. I've been flying since I was 19. On my first flight 11 years ago I got one of these headaches but learned to chew gum & have not had one since. I did not get the headache but since my 4 flights in two days (2 days ago) I get an excruciating stabbing pain in my right eye/eyebrow every time I blow my nose & it makes my eye water profusely. A "symptom" of pregnancy is overactive mucous membranes & I'm wondering if that has anything to do with it.

 
At March 12, 2012 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

31 year old female experiencing most of the symptoms described above...mine usually starts at the back of my neck and painfully intensifies over the right side of my head and leaves a mild headache long after landing. The cocktail that I find helps me is paracetamol, maxiclear (which contains an antihistamine and a 'dry your nose up' ingredient)...and I chew gum for the full duration of the flight. I'm relieved to know that I'm not alone and no longer feel like I'm exaggerating when trying to describe the pain by saying 'it feels like my brain is swelling and going to explode'...I’m not going to take notice of the crazy/weird looks when I try to explain this horrible experience to non-AH peoples.

 
At March 13, 2012 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find out that I have the same Problem, when the Flights are with Boeing Airplanes! Can someone confirm to me that he/she feels headaches during flights with other airplane types (Airbus/Embraer/Bombardier/ATR....)?!

 
At March 17, 2012 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I experienced this for the second time yesterday flying from San Diego to Chicago, the only two times I experienced this I was flying from San Diego either east or south. It only happens during the descent and it's the worst pain I've ever felt, my right eye waters and I have to keep both eyes closed and rub my head HARD until the plane lands and that only eases it a little. Any suggestions? I'm a 23 year old male.

 
At March 23, 2012 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Female, 48, frequent flyer. During the past 5 years happens pretty much 9/10 flights, both international and domestic (right side for me); definitely more common on smaller planes, with faster ascent or descent and (I hesitate to mention) when flying economy versus first class (good diversionary tactics?). I don't have major sinus issues, but mild rhinitis because of allergies. Also, I do have a migraine history. I have a prescription for Maxalt (Merck) for my migraines, which if taken at the right moment just at take-off seems to stem the problem, but never completely. Ibuprofen in large doses also helps but not as well as the Maxalt. With meds, symptoms are still there, but at least I'm not begging the steward(ess) for large cups of cold ice to compress the back of my neck and head and the person beside me does not think I am having an aneurism or stroke. Similar to many of the other postings, always surprised by the lack of 'preparedness' of the staff to help with the issue; particularly for young people who are experiencing this for the first time, frightened and who may be flying on their own, some form of medicinal aid beyond Aspirin should be de rigueur.

 
At March 24, 2012 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever had lingering effects after landing? My daughter (29) is still experiencing severe head pain. We landed on the 13th and she had initial dizziness and pain, which continued after landing and worsen, after an ER visit, catscan were negative.... onto the neurologist for MRI,MRA,MRV.... anyone have lasting effects?

 
At March 25, 2012 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 29 year old male and I had this exact thing happen to me on my last flight. Right side, starting at the brow bone. The pain was very intense and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had a migraine for the rest of the day. It was the only time I ever had a migraine in my life. Now I have four flights ahead of me and I'm dreading the landings.

 
At March 25, 2012 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

21male just suffered this, and I've been on planes my whole life. Tbh, I've been getting headaches recently and was sick with a flu. But this airplane ride just had me rippin out my hair... much better after landing (some pain lingering)

 
At March 27, 2012 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

History; no headaches at all and no migraine. When: only in small airplanes. the first time was in a KLM cityhopper and when I told the stewardess what was happening. She went (1993) to the pilot. When she came back my headache was gone. She told me that the pilot did somehting with the pressure. It always happens in small airplanes during landing. Most stewardesses will explain that it happens because i have a cold. Like i have a cold since 20 years. In the new airbus or boeing 747 i have no problems.
I think i became very sensitve during an accident with a spade, who went in my face next to my nose.
During the last 20 flights i use baby nose spray with salt in it, turn my neck a little bit behind. And constantly yawn until my mouth hurts > better than the eyebrow bone pain. I thought because I have brackets on my teeth that i have had less problems, but my dentist said, that this is not an issue because my sinus are not that low. Sometimes people do have that and a brace/brackets can move the sinus together with your teeth.

Avoid cheap airlines. It seems that short landing procedures are cheaper and therefore pressure is difficult to adjust.

 
At March 27, 2012 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel fortunate to have stumbled across this blog while searching for my mystery condition. I've been flying all over the world in all kinds of aircraft for most of my 58 years (female) and had never felt this excruciating airplane headache so well-described by others until last summer when landing in a 737 in LA (Southwest). I did not experience the same problem when I returned to Sacramento. I flew several times in between and no problems, but it recurred just last week, once again on a Southwest 737 landing in LA, and it did not recur when I returned home. Five days later I still have a slight dull headache along the top and sides of my head. Absolutely no hint of nasal congestion, cold or other condition at the time of either incident or now. From everything I'm reading, it seems this is a relatively new occurrence and so is perhaps related to a procedure done with certain aircraft in certain approaches? I just can't understand why I haven't experienced this before if nothing else has changed. I've been flying with Southwest for years even when sick and this started just this past summer. I think I will try the suggested migraine solution, but I wish someone would pursue this with the airlines--I agree with the poster who said that this is under-reported. People just haven't been experiencing this particular condition for very long. I was actually looking at websites for aneurysm symptoms when I came across this site.

 
At March 28, 2012 2:08 AM, Blogger Tom said...

I'm a 30 year old fit male and I have flown over 200 times without any problems but my last 3 flights the landings have been unbearable.

Like the majority here I experience the pain around the front left region and in my left eye and behind my left eye.

Yesterday when landing on a short 30 min flight the pain was so bad that it is putting me off flying ever again and I desperatley would like to know the best way to prevent or even just ease the level of pain that is felt.

I'd rather go through child birth!

 
At March 28, 2012 6:09 AM, Blogger John Sandstrum said...

I've experienced these exact symptoms for several years now when I fly. I turn 50 this year. I have found using Afrin nasal spray REALLY helps this. I carry a bottle in my pocket when I fly now. It is really, really painful when an attack comes on, but the Afrin helps it almost immediately.

 
At March 31, 2012 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 38yr old female from Columbus Ohio. I have had the exact same symptoms on many flights over the years. The worst of the stapping pains upon accent and decent. I felt like i could be having a brain aneurysm. Felt kind of like air bubbles moving around in my head. I just got back from a trip to Florida. This time I did not experience the stabbing pain at all, but I got a mild headache that lasted for a week in Florida, noticed mostly when bending over. It has come home with me to Ohio and the past few days has become progressivly more severe pain lasting all day :(

 
At April 02, 2012 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been experiencing this for the first time this past 6 months. OUCH.. At first I thought it was from my pituitary tumor and thought.. wow.. my tumor is growing and I'm going to die. tbh, I was scared to google it, and up till ready these posts I didn't want to go to the doctor either for fear of what they would say.

I feel sorry for all of you with this pain.. I just landed in Toronto last night, and the headache is still lingering, but slowly easing. I had to take painkillers this morning, but it is mostly gone. I'm dreading the flight home on Thursday. I'm going to try the nasal spray...

thanks
peace!

 
At April 06, 2012 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same thing happend to me in the same ecxact spot. It happend to me when me and my family were in the car up high in the mountins. I'm a ten year old girl and I always cry when it happens to me. How do I get rid of it or what do I do when it happens?

 
At April 08, 2012 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

54 year old female here. Happened to me for first time on descent in small United Express jet from Houston to Oklahoma City. Then 2 days later on descent back to Houston, only this time in a United Express prop plane. This is a 45 minute flight. Been flying all my life in all size aircraft. Pain left side forehead around eye causing tearing and some drainage from nose. Thought my head was going to explode. Subsided upon touchdown. Only happened during descent. Always had problems with fluid in ears and feeling like I'm under water for a couple of days after all flights, but never this!

 
At April 09, 2012 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 49 yr old woman who has been flying all her life. Took a trip on ryanair last Thursday from uk to Spain. As with all the others I experienced excruciating pain over my right eye as soon as the pilot announced landing in 30 mins. Thought my head would explode! Headache in same spot lasted 2days. Comforting to know I'm not alone . I would raise questions with airlines. Why is this a new condition (first looked at in 2010) all these posters have been flying for many years with no problems. So why now, what has changed in aircraft operation to cause this?

 
At April 10, 2012 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had same thing happen last night. I'm a 33 yr old male..pain happened only on descent....lasted for 25 min, pain was on right side from center of head to right eye....felt like am anurism or blood vesell was bout to burst.....scared the bell out of me to be honest

 
At April 13, 2012 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

48 yr old male. I first experienced this pain during descent into LAX on a larger plane about 6 years ago. It's exactly as others are describing it. It was on my right side above my eye and also felt like pins being jabbed into my eye lids. I was tearing uncontrolably from every pore in my eye. The most recent time was on April 9, 2012. However, this time it was on a smaller plane landing in Memphis TN. Then again on an A320 landing in LAX on the same day. I took another post's suggestion and purchased Afrin and planned to use it. Fortunately during the return trip home, I did not experience any pain. My sinius' were clear for these trips. I took behind the counter decongestants to make sure my sinius were clear. The pain is essentially gone by the time the plane arrives at the gate. It's nice to know that I am not alone.

 
At April 16, 2012 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this problem last Saturday on a flight from Punta Cana to Charlotte. Severe stabbing pain behind my right eye and eyebrow. Started about 20 minutes before landing. Did have a hot flush just before that. Used to have migraines a long time ago. Pilot was dodging turbulence by dropping and ascending too fast. Has never happened on any previous flights.

 
At April 18, 2012 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had exactly the same , the headech started when landing I had pain around my left eye and it dropped tears and I had a runny nose suddenly. After 15 minutes from landing I was ok , and now after 5 hours it came back. I am 26 male . I am totally healthy and my flights length was no more that 45 minutes !

 
At April 22, 2012 5:43 AM, Anonymous Sheri said...

41 year old healthy female... Thought I was going to have a stroke and my brain was going to explode out of my left eye socket. It happened on the flight from NY to Orlando and then again on the flight home. On a pain scale of 1 - 10, it was a 12. Sharp, stabbing pain that made me cry. I have flown many times and this was the first time this has happened. While it is comforting to know we are not alone... have people gone to the Doctor?? It was really that bad, but know I have to fly again...

 
At April 23, 2012 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a 32yr old female. I got the pain as we landed. It was on the right side of eyebrow to top of head to the my ear..sharp bad pain. It felt like something was going explode. This is the first time this happen to me and now im worried to fly again.

 
At May 15, 2012 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today flew with Air Canada,Toronto to Vancouver. On decent into Vancouver had excrutiating stabbing pain behind my right eye near my eyebrow. I'm a relatively healthy 54 year old man and have never had this problem before. I thought my head was going to explode and thought I might be having an aneurysm! It really scared me! This lasted until the plane landed. I had a connecting flight and was afraid the same thing might happen again. The connecting flight was on a smaller "express" Air Canada Plane and on decent I had the same pain but not nearly as severe as the previous flight. I still have a bit of a headache this evening. It's reassuring, but also scary to see that so many have had similar experiences. I'd hate to see this happen to the pilot or crew.

 
At May 21, 2012 7:52 PM, Blogger Paige Floyd said...

I am a 30 year old female and have experienced this multiple times and experienced it today while descending on a United flight from SMF to IAH. It is excruciatingly painful! It felt like my eyeball on the right side was going to have broken blood vessels and the pain moved around the right side of my face all over the sinus cavity. I am not sick and don't particularly have sinus issues. This is not the first time but it does not happen every time. What is the deal!!??

 
At May 22, 2012 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started having this issue on my last 10 or so flights when the aircraft started its decent. However, on my last flight, I found that aggressively blowing my nose right at the onset of the pain helped tremendously. Perhaps this was able to aleviate the painful sinus pressure???

 
At May 22, 2012 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

28 year old male, this has been happening to me off and on most of my life. First memory of it occurring was when I was 9. Stabbing pain if front left of head. Attempted to clear my ears by pinching my nose, and air came out of my eye. (That is the only instance of that I have ever experienced.)

Since then, every 5 or 6 flights, just as the plane starts to descend (usually just before the pilot announces the "initial descent, 20 minutes to arrival" it kicks in.

Happened today for the first time in a while. Excruciating, absolutely unnerving pain in left eyebrow and eye. Tears in left eye, and a slight spontaneous runny nose. I was sleep deprived in this instance, but have experienced it after plenty of sleep as well.

I have a family history of sinus problems, and have experienced similar pain when scuba diving deeper than 9 or 10 feet. The only preventative I have ever found was Sudafed, but it's impossible to find in airports anymore.

 
At June 06, 2012 8:56 AM, Blogger Shane and Chacha said...

I am a 37 year old male and have had similar symptoms on a couple of previous flights but other than that have no history of headaches. I recently flew to Puerto Vallarta and upon starting the decent -I experienced the most severe headache I have ever had. I was shaking from the pain. It was in the same areas mentioned in this article. My wife said I immediately had dark circles under my eyes and mt forehead turned bright pink. Every morning since I have been coughing up small amounts of blood??

 
At June 11, 2012 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 19 or 20, I experienced this excruciating pain in my head (never had headaches, and still don't) so suddenly and severely that I honestly thought I had an aneurysm or something similar and was going to die! Never experienced it since (am now 45) however, my son had it at about 12 years old and on his last flight last month (he's now 18.) Would like to know more about it and its prevention so that he won't have to suffer when flying, which he needs to do very often.

 
At June 14, 2012 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last two months I have been having to travel once a month for doctors appointment. I have never experienced anything like I am going to decscribe. I am a 29 year old female. On the first flight take off was fine, no pain anywhere. My flight was only an hour and a half. But when we started to descend I felt a pain that radiated from my nose around the top and bottom of my right eye. The pain felt like my whole eye was going to pop out of my head. My eye teared and my nose started running. I have been on many flights and never had this issue I thought I needed to be rushed to the hospital but as soon as I was off the plane the pain was gone. So the next month I had to do the same thing and as soon as the plane took off it started in my opposite eye. I pushed on it to try to make it stop, popped my ears, yawned and none of it helped. The pain is horrible I can't imagine going through this every time I fly. Does anyone have an idea of what's causing this?

 
At June 18, 2012 6:37 PM, Anonymous Matt of Sydney said...

29 year old Australian here. I used to fly multiple times a year domestic/international, small & large planes, never had a problem. A few years ago, out of nowhere upon descent I would get pains in my teeth (like grinding them strongly together, but I wasn't), needle-like pains in my neck, glands and shoulders, throbbing in my sinuses, and a feeling that my eyeballs were going to pop.

I imagine that's what it feels to have decompression sickness (also known as 'the bends').

Very perplexing. I have started having asthma-like symptoms for the last few years when it gets really cold, but other than that I'm pretty healthy, and have never been fitter!

I don't enjoy flying now, but you need to in Australia, as it's so far from everything. :(

 
At June 19, 2012 6:16 AM, Blogger TrustGuard Preservation said...

So glad I took googled this today, 39 year old male here, I flew back from Spain yesterday morning with Jet2.com and on the planes decent had exactly the same feeling as people are describing, all of a sudden I grabbed my left eye in excruciating pain which felt as though I was being stabbed in the eye, it started at the temple area and then I had pain in and around my left eye, really thought something serious had happened just held my head and rubbed really hard until we landed. When I got home couldn't sleep beacuse of the pain and my eye socket was tender to touch, next day still sore so went to the doctors as I thought I had something seriously wrong with me, doctor explained that it was my sinus and is related to pressure within the cabin, also as other people have said, I had been on my stag do and only had 2hrs sleep after consuming large amounts of alcohol the previous night, I also seemed sensitive to light and slight loss of focus, doctor prescribed me with Amoxicillin only to be took if I developed cold/flu like symtoms which so far I have not, I belive the condition is called Aerosinusitis or Sinus Barotrauma heres a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosinusitis glad to know its not just me but a very scary situation to go through at least we'll know not to worry as much if it happens again.

 
At June 23, 2012 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

45 yr old male with no health issues. Experiencing this unbearable pain for last 15 years or so. It happens only on mid size planes (@2hr flight) and during descent. Nothing worked so far ... I think the main reason is stupid pilots. I suspect they don't follow the proper landing procedures. Because on few flights (Southwest Columbus OH to Las Vegas and Chicago to NY) I was prepared but did not experience any pain.
and thank god, none of my family members experience this issue.

 
At June 23, 2012 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 30 year old male having a severe headache on right frontier when landing. It doesn't happen always. I had 6 landings on last two weeks, but it happened in the last landing (which was a small airplane).
Is there a simple way to avoid it?

 
At June 23, 2012 8:50 PM, Blogger Bomb Pop said...

Experienced this today descending on a dive in my open water course. I was about 15 ft below when it started...felt like my left eye was about to explode...odd sensation but obviously pressure related...I ascended up a few feet and it finally went away.

 
At June 23, 2012 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Experienced this today descending on a dive in my open water course. I was about 15 ft below when it started...felt like my left eye was about to explode...odd sensation but obviously pressure related...I ascended up a few feet and it finally went away.

 
At July 17, 2012 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happen to me for the first time today. 22 year old male here. The plane started it's decent and a sharp pain took over the left frontal region of my head. It grew stronger with each second for about a minute before it let down. It was so painful that I thought my head was going to either blow up or I was going to faint. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have experienced this.

 
At July 25, 2012 10:11 AM, Anonymous Karla said...

I'm 40, female, have had this happen to me many times since I started flying at the age of 19, almost always on descent. One, don't fall asleep on the plane. Two, keep your ears popped. I wear earplugs, pinch my nose and swallow, yawn almost nonstop during takeoffs and landings. I might look stupid, but I quit caring after the last time I begged the flight attendant to land the plane because my head was going to explode. I take 800mg Ibuprofen and a sinus decongestant an hour before flying, as well as using saline nasal spray. I'd love to hear any other suggestions or advice on what works for others.

 
At July 30, 2012 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 42 year old lady who has never suffered from headaches or migranes.The last two times I have flown(Boston-London, and Boston-Orlando) I have suffered the most painful severe head pain, always when landing. Like other blogs posted, I start of with a severe stabbing pain in my forehead around my eyebrow area and down the right side of my face. It feels like my head is about to explode. Even my jaw and teeth hurt on the last flight I took. I was in so much pain I too thought I was having a stroke and was convinced I was going to die. Once landed, The pain subsides but I am left with a dull headache for a few days afterwards. This is clearly a common problem and one that needs further study, as I for one am terrified of this happening to me again and will use other methods of travel whenever I can.

 
At August 04, 2012 3:23 AM, Anonymous Isha Jha said...

28 female - I experienced this for the first time 6 months ago and have found a fix. Wanted to post the fix here because this was the most physically painful and scary experience of my life.

I visited the doc and its definitely due to sinus blockage, although I have never had a sinus problem until now. I got a CT scan which clearly showed that my sinuses were blocked.

2 weeks before I fly, I start doing 'Jal Neti' which is a yoga nasal cleansing technique. It takes 10 minutes everyday. You can find all the information at the following link and through youtube videos. I learned the technique through these resources and got a jal neti pot at the local yoga center, although you could learn from a yoga teacher as well. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/yogalibrary/neti_faqs/jn_instructionbooklet.pdf

Nothing worked for me before this - painkillers, nasal sprays, earplugs - nothing!! Now, I do 1 or 2 pots every morning and it cleans my sinuses right up. I have never experienced the pain again!

If for some reason, you cant do this or it doesn't work for you, you can try another fix, which I read about on a forum. It doesn't work as well, but it offers considerable relief once the pain has set in.

Right before descent, ask the airline staff to bring you two cups, each half filled with hot water. You can stuff small towels or tissues into the cups and make sure the hot water doesn't flow onto you. Place each cup on one of your ears. It looks silly but it really helped reduce the intensity of the pain. This I used before I learned about Jal Neti.

Hope this helps!! Wish you luck with your next flight!!

 
At August 18, 2012 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 40yr old female with no neuro prob and last wk I experienced a throbbing pain that began in my right eye followed by an electric shock sensation that travelled from my right eye to my forehead and then continued to the left temple. The pain seemed more intense on my right eye. I also had tears coming out of both eyes. This only happened while plane was decending and happened to me both when I left on my business trip and when I returned 1 wk later using same airline for both trips (an airline I never used before). I had a headache after that for 24 hrs that could not be relieved despite taking tylenol.

 
At August 29, 2012 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

31 Y, Male. Have been travelling on long-distance 16hr and short haul 1-2 hr flights very regularly over the past 6 years... but never experienced this problem till a year back. Have started getting this acute pain just over my left eye brow, radiating outwards towards the eye and rest of forehead. Always happens during descent, and then goes away a few minutes after landing. The throbbing pain oscillates from mild to very strong and back everytime the altitude changes quickly.

 
At September 03, 2012 5:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

61-year old male, happened last night on descent, flight was bumpy so no water or food was served and my efforts to ward off the intense pain by swallowing did not work b/c there was nothing to swallow, I will try blowing my nose next time. I thought my eyes were exploding or bleeding as several have mentioned. Yikes! But fine immediately after. Never happened before and notices not many my age are posting.

 
At September 12, 2012 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fly 8 times a month, two flights each time, total flying time per trip 3hours. I first noticed this pain on my last trip back to work on descent into my stopover and again on take off and then final descent when I reached my destination. Yesterday I made the return trip home and the pain started immediately on take off but this time it was unbearable and I tried to hold my head in my lap but it felt like i was pushing needles into the left side of my forehead. I felt like my head was going to explode and kept thinking I was going to die before we landed, very scary experience.... I am a 41yr old female and I find it interesting that this is more common in younger males. There is a history of stroke in my family and I thought I was having one. I feel a lot better now after reading others comments and seeing I'm not the only one experiencing this. Im scheduled to fly again in 5 days time so I will stocking up on as many over the counter sinus medications before then. My job requires a lot of flying time so if I can't cure this I may have to start looking for other work. This blog has been very helpful.

 
At September 14, 2012 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 56-year old woman looking up my symptoms in a panic and amazed to find so many people have experienced the same thing. Last night I flew Delta Tampa to LA and got this terrible headache near the end of the flight. Suspect it was as the plane started to descend? But not sure. It was the right front side of my skull -- felt like hot pins and needles in my skull bone and intense throbbing in my right eye. Severe watering in my right eye but I could still see. Super painful and scary. Thought I might not be OK to drive afterwards but, although not completely gone, it was pretty fine... the severity passed off significantly, not sure at what point before we landed. Not sure how long it lasted even. It was awful.

I experienced this only once before -- on my last flight, in July, a short trip from Atlanta back to Tampa, also near the end of the flight. Duration was shorter but just as severe, same symptoms which completely went away right afterwards.

Unfortunately today I still have some of the same pain although not as bad... prickling above my right eye.

I have no significant history of headaches. I have a few extra lbs but not huge... moderately active... considered very healthy for a woman my age. I don't take any regular medications, eat well, occasional alcohol... I'm healthy. This was out of the blue.

 
At September 24, 2012 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter is 30 and healthy. She has had this severe headache as all the reviews stated and only while flying. This has happened to her twice. Well, today she had to fly to Chicago for work and after reading these reviews I told her to get some gum, drink lot's of water, and take Sudafed 1 1/2 hours before the flight. She did, and you know what, she didn't get that sharp pain. She was even waiting for it 30 minutes before the descent. Nothing happened and she was sitting at a window seat. This is the first time she has taken Sudafed. She said she had gotten a good nights sleep too, the night before flying. I do believe it was the combination of all of the above plus and this is a big plus, she was praying to God, I was praying, and my parents were praying. That's how bad she had these sharp pains, just as you all have had. I feel for each and every one of you. I hope the information above has helped someone. I just combined all of the reviews and put them together. I'm thankful even if it may be just this time. She is doing the same thing on her return flight tomorrow. I will come back and post how her return flight went.

 
At October 02, 2012 12:54 PM, Blogger deedubya said...

Just had to Google my symptoms and this seems rare. 50 year old male and I fly infrequently. First time this has ever happened, same symptoms as 90% of these posts. I may not have been drinking as much water as I should have a day or two before my flight. I suffer fall allergies with those usual symptoms. I also was napping on the tail end of this cross country flight and had just woken up as the descent began. This is very interesting in that the descriptions of the pain is so similar to to mine. I suppose it is the sharp and highly localized location as in previous posts. I figure that it may have been due to the pressure change but the descent was not abrupt. I think that updates would be helpful from people who have posted previously. I am interested to know if this happens every time they fly or just occasionally. I can only hope that we all find some sort of relief.

 
At October 09, 2012 3:28 PM, Anonymous Keri said...

(34 yr old Female)I just flew from Amarillo to Houston a week ago and on the descent I felt like needles were being ramed into my left eyebrow, tears were streaming down my face. I have flown all over the world and have never had this happen before.. I swore I was dying. I then boarded a plane from Houston to Greenville SC and it happened again. On the flight back it happened but it wasnt as intense. I did not have a cold or anything going on with my sinuses. I swear the people around me must of thought I was freaking out because we were landing.. only if that was so.

 
At October 13, 2012 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the same thing during descent only especially MD80 planes - smaller planes - feel excruciating pain suddenly during descent like some one poking needle in your head and eye socket protruding pain from the right side of the fore head to eye. I cannot talk or do anything at that point and only breathing heavily helpts calm my pain a little bit. after deplane it does away with mild sensation of an event in the past.
I am shocked to see - I am not the only one facing this problem.

 
At November 04, 2012 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have this same problem..I'm 37 male. I seem to only have this problem when descending into Ontario ca. allthough I don't fly more than once a year and its usually to Portland Oregon. but I've never had it happen anywhere else. not Portland, Seattle, salt lake. but I am definatley convinced its caused from change in pressure, since I have like a few others had posted, have had this happen by diving deeper than 10 feet under water. thanks for all the remedies. I will try them next time I fly...cause this really is the worst pain I've ever felt.

 
At November 15, 2012 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a 2 hour flight from Vienna to Heathrow yesterday, all fine on take off and during flight but approx 15mins before landing pain started in forehead above RIGHT eye and remained for 5-10mins. Excruciating.

No symptoms at all during 3 flights in previous 8 days.

I'm 45 and flown many times with no symptoms previously, although I've flown with a bad head cold in the past which did result in a pain on descent, but this was much worse.

Following morning still got a mild headache.

Andy

 
At November 15, 2012 11:15 PM, Blogger $n@b££ said...

29 Year old male from India, same exploding headache in front right part of head.
Seems it's going to explode, tears from right eye, loss of focus, sensitivity to light

Have had thrice in last two months, no symptoms earlier. Though I have had minor sinus problem for a few years now.

Trying on a Yoga activity - Jal Neti (Let google be your teacher) and It seems to be working - not sure though, there could be other reasons as my problem is still in initial phase.

Good Luck.

 
At November 18, 2012 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 29 female and I get these 50% of my flights, I have to fly twice a month. It is the worse pain ever and it affects different areas of my face each time. First time was above my right eye, the last time it was like the glass in my sinus cavities were crawling all over my face and even through my eyeball. I tried afrin and it may or may not have helped since I was flying all day. My nose runs like crazy when I'm flying. Everytime I feel the descent like a ton of bricks, lots of pressure. I'm going to try Aleve next time.

 
At November 24, 2012 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 29 year old female, and your describing my experience (but my nose was not blocked, and the paramedics did not show up). I had a sharp stabbing, ripping pain that was located on my right brow line, and it was terrifying... I thought I was experiencing a brain aneurism, and I was literally praying to God. The pain is exactly as you described... I'm curious to know if you have ever experienced this again, as we are flying in a month.
I did have a smilar, but much shorter pain recently. I was not flying, it was so quick, but is still worrysome, I'm calling my doctor first thing Monday.

 
At November 30, 2012 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me (28 year old male). I've flown over 200k miles in my life and this just started to happen to me over last 6 months. Once in September on a Denver to O'Hare United flight and then again last night on a Denver to LaGuardia United flight. I had many other flights in between then when it didn't happen...

I did catch the flu this year and it left me with two weeks of being really congested. Ironically the congestion/flu started after my August flight and ended before my flight last night.

When it was happening the first time I thought I was having a stroke. When it happened again last night, it didn't catch me so off guard because it had happened before. It still hurt like hell, but I didn't think I was going to die this time since I was fine after the flight landed when it happened the first time.

Just a tip for everyone, when it happened last night, I started flexing muscles in my arms, chest, stomach, legs, etc. to try to get blood flowing and away from my head. It made the pain go away for me with 10 minutes left in the landing.

 
At December 04, 2012 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

19 yo Female with similar symptoms.

I took a series of 4 flights with about 2-3 hourly layovers in about. My total flying time was around 24 hours overall. Symptoms started to arise on my second flight, continued till my fourth flight. Same throbbing excruciating pain in my temples that travels to my lower left jaw and then towards my right temple, just about where my right eyebrow is. It felt like the vessels near my eye balls were clogged and it was going to just explode. Was also experiencing blocked ears and nasal that made it hard to breathe. Really similar symptoms as the above comments, except my eyes were also bloodshot after the flights, coupled by bloody mucus.

It seems like a lot of people face this problem, can anyone recommend medication to take? I will be taking consecutive flights soon as well and I don't want to experience this again.

 
At December 11, 2012 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

27 year old fit male

I fly approx 50 times per year and have only three times experienced this. Only when descent begines and pain is chiefly at the back of the head. It is one of the most excruciating pains I have ever felt.

 
At December 28, 2012 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 48 year old female and it happened to me too, just today. As the plane started it's descent, I started to get that excruitiating pain, except this time, I could it went down into my jaw and my throat started to tighten up. My left eye started to tear and my nose started to run. It doesn't happen all the time, so I'm not sure what exactly triggers it. It's pretty scary, because the pain is so extreme and intense. I had asked my doctor about it before, but he never heard of it. After searching the internet, I came across something called a "cluster headache" which described my symptoms exactly. Has anyone had any luck taking anything that would stop this from happening?

 
At December 29, 2012 1:45 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

28 y/o male. Same thing has happened to me numerous times in the past year. Three times in the past 2 days (3 out of 4 flights). Feels like a knife trying to stab its way out of my right eye socket/forehead. The most recent occurred on a flight from Venice to Rome.

 
At January 14, 2013 5:26 AM, Blogger PaulC said...

30 y/o Male.

I've had this since I was 14 on decent only. I fly about 3 times a year and get it every time... unless I prepare!

I now have a personal "fly kit" which has a 95% success rate at avoiding the pain. 1 hour before landing I take a nasal spray decongestant and put in some pressure damping ear plugs (Ear Planes are the main popular brand). I then screw up a tissue and put it in a cup (or a sick bag) and apply Olbas Oil. I breathe that stuff in until we land. It sometimes feels tender around my eye, but I don't get the pain any more unless I give myself less than an hour.

Also, I've been Sky Diving with sinus pain. I took a nasal spray before we left the centre, as you are told not to take anything with you. On the way down I could feel the pain growing, but it didn't get any worse than a dull ache... no hot pins or anything! The cold wind soothed it ache on the way down and it didn't cause me any issues.

I've read a lot about this over the years, and even some pilots get it!! It's caused by pressure differentials and made worse by conditions which block the sinus. I don't have a condition, I'm just unlucky. You can have surgery, but for me it's not worth the aggro.

 
At January 14, 2013 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 32 yr old male. This happens to me all the time and it is the worst pain ever. It happens on airplane decents and driving down mountains. Never ascending. I've tried nasal sprays, getting drunk, excedrin, cheap sinus pills and noproxen. Nothing worked.

 
At January 15, 2013 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

51 year old female - No history of migraines, sleep deprived night before flight. This excruciating pain has only happened to me twice (Jan 2011 and Jan 2013). In both cases it was a flight from Denver and happened during the descent into San Jose, CA airport. 10,000 tiny knives jabbing into the left side of my eye and it lasted for an eternity but it was probably less than three minutes total. Afterwards I had a mild headache that lasted for a few hours. If I have to fly out to Cali again I'm going to try the San Fran airport and pray.

 
At January 18, 2013 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same horrible symptomatic thing the very 1st time i flew. Am 42 yrs female. Again - on the descent I also had extreme dizziness to the point of nearly passing out. I also had diffictlty breathing and talking was an effort - felt as though was using up my entire lung capacity even trying to say one word - i could not have managed a complete sentence. Could feel a strange pressure in my chest. My nose ran like a tap. Symptoms lasted 30mins - ears and eye painful for 3days. WHAT IS GOING ON.Surely Airlines have a duty of care to passengersit is OBVIOUSLY A pressure issue.

 
At January 20, 2013 2:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very similar (now 33 yr old) Australian male - sharp stabbing sensation above left eye. Only on descent. Except this is random - I grew up, flying many times with no such issues until flight taken at age of 22. The tingling sensation got so intense on this occasion, I eventually blacked out on approach and woke once landed. Hasn't happened on other flights since, but on one taken yesterday and today - it occured yesterday (not as intense as to black out, but strong) and absolutely nothing on the return today. All occasions I have flown during this 11 yr period with or without the occurence have been a mix of wide and narrow body commercial aircraft. All flights of ~1.5 hr duration.

 
At January 28, 2013 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

33 year old male here. I had the same pain that everyone seems to be talking about. I have flown a lot and had never had any issue. I was sitting in the exit row and the window was to my right. The pain was in my right eye/eye-socket. It was Continental/United flight. Next time I am going to (1) avoid exit row (seems like the plane was colder on touch & windy), (2) avoid window seats, (3) chew gum, and (4) never fly Continental/United. It has to be one of those.

 
At January 30, 2013 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swimming, even with my head 2 inches below the surface, I experience discomfort. Plane flights, only on landing, searing pain in one ear, graduated to root tooth pain, and the latest was a continuous pain on a blood vessel on forehead, right eye, to the right upper part of my skull. Pain enough to ask for cabin crew help, and wanting to get off the plane....in mid air!!! Male, 53, healt.hy

 
At January 31, 2013 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! Worst headache of my entire half-century life! It was so sudden...so excrutiating and it came out of nowhere. I have flown alot in my lifetime but have never experienced anything like it. I did have some sinus and allergy issues but again, after all the times that I have flown I can't imagine that this was the first time that I'd had a cold inflight. Anyway, it was like so many others who have reported on descent. It started right above my left eye but immediately expanded to behind the eye and the left nostril. It was like I had been attacked...blindsidedly so and with fury. It's difficult to explain, it could be compared to a sudden penetrating force into the eye socket or an unexpected hit with a baseball bat or maybe more like an explosion from behind the eye. My eye and my nose ran like a sieve. The debilitating pain subsided after about 10 minutes and I tried to keep my agony discreet, but the lingering ache made me nauseous(sp?) for hours. A day later I can still feel the affects. I may call the doctor, but I may not. I may just chalk it up as getting older, but at least I got to explain it in detail on this blog :) And that in itself makes me feel better!

 
At February 01, 2013 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had same pain with airbus 330 during landing.

 
At February 01, 2013 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

45years old male. I also had a right eye pain on my last flight landing. just asked stewadess for portable oxygen
and oxygen mask breathing did help in a minute!!!

 
At February 02, 2013 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had same left side pain during landing. i have had this kind of pain only twice.

 
At February 04, 2013 2:45 AM, Blogger Onin said...

I just came back from a week of vacation in Vietnam-Cambodia. I experience the same thing on both aircraft descents (when we arrived in vietnam and when I ge)t back in Manila). The pain was so close to intolerable as I cant stay seated and I wanted to roll on the floor. It was so painful as if there are veins exploding inside my head. Then in the morning when I woke up I experience bleeding in my nose. looks like a freshly squeezed blood. Before this flight, my last was in 2009 which is a longer one since I travelled from Manila to Japan then to US and I didnt experience this pain. Now I'm having second thoughts of travelling. Do I need to see my doctor for this?

 
At February 09, 2013 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had the terrible sinus pressure headache on a few flights too. The pain was without a doubt the most severe pain you can imagine. I have told people if I was sitting next to the exit door I would have bailed. It felt like my frontal lobe forehead area was going to explode. The pressure squirted water out of my right eye and actually hit the back of the seat in front of me. In both cases it was in the spring while I was suffering from seasonal spring allergies. I'm thinking maybe had a sinus infection and the pressure changes wreaked havoc.

 
At February 12, 2013 6:30 AM, Anonymous manaja said...

I first noticed this back in 2003 after a flight to the Dom Rep from the uk , Id never had it up till then , but now and again when I fly I get it , Ive put it down to the airconditioning in the hotels where I stop in. An example of this , the last few times Ive flown and experinced this have been to hot humid countrys, where Ive used the airconditioning, I do not get it if I fly into europe. Aspirin an hour or two before landing helps as it acts as a decongestant .
The air hostess ten years ago told me its to do with having pressure build up in the sinuses, I think airconditioning systems cause this especially on planes.

 
At February 16, 2013 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, please research Aerotoxicity. I was a frequent flyer for many years, with no problems. On three separate flights in an 18 month period, I experienced the symptoms many of you have described, always sudden onset, and always during descent. In addition to pain, tearing eyes, runny nose, I experienced excessive sneezing, which I naively suspected might be symptomatic of a developing allergy, despite the fact that I'd never been diagnosed with an allergy of any kind. The development of several other symptoms over the course of the next few days following the last flight, prompted me to research, as all of you have, to try to determine just what had happened. I learned that the air that is brought into the cabin from outside, is brought in through the jet engines. Jet engine oil contains organophosphates, including tricresyl phosphate (TCP), which, when heated and pyrolyzed, is extremely toxic. This does not happen on all flights, which would explain why one experiences symptoms on some, but not all flights. My last experience, in 2012, was serious enough to make me stop flying altogether.
The Aerotoxic Association is a tremendous resource. Please learn about this.
Stay safe~
Former Flyer

 
At February 16, 2013 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, please research Aerotoxicity. I was a frequent flyer for many years, with no problems. On three separate flights in an 18 month period, I experienced the symptoms many of you have described, always sudden onset, and always during descent. In addition to pain, tearing eyes, runny nose, I experienced excessive sneezing, which I naively suspected might be symptomatic of a developing allergy, despite the fact that I'd never been diagnosed with an allergy of any kind. The development of several other symptoms over the course of the next few days following the last flight, prompted me to research, as all of you have, to try to determine just what had happened. I learned that the air that is brought into the cabin from outside, is brought in through the jet engines. Jet engine oil contains organophosphates, including tricresyl phosphate (TCP), which, when heated and pyrolyzed, is extremely toxic. This does not happen on all flights, which would explain why one experiences symptoms on some, but not all flights. My last experience, in 2012, was serious enough to make me stop flying altogether.
The Aerotoxic Association is a tremendous resource. Please learn about this.
Stay safe~
Former Flyer

 
At February 16, 2013 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction to my earlier post - My last flight was in 2011, over a year ago, and for a frequent flyer, that is significant. I also would encourage you to be aware of any symptoms you may experience in the few days following your flight. Many do not make the correlation between their flight and post-flight ill-effects like extreme fatigue, dizziness, loss of coordination or cognitive function.
Stay safe, everyone.
Former Flyer

 
At February 18, 2013 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy! here I thought something serious is wrong with me. I experience it during the last two of my flight last year. it was so painful make me think twice to ride a plane I hope there is a right MED for this

-21yo Male

 
At February 22, 2013 12:11 PM, Anonymous Sandhar said...

I first encountered this passion in January this year while going from Delhi to Kuwait. The pain in my left eye and forehead was so terrible that i thought i was going to die. I didn't want to die i am just 27(in fact no one does no matter how old. But the pain started to disappear after landing and totally went away in about 2 days. I flew back to Delhi today and had the same pain on the left side of my forehead and nerves around eye. A tear also came out of the left eye. I am flying after 5 days again but i am going to see a doctor before that. This is the worst kind of pain i have had although i had a dislocated shoulder which wasn't fun either. I will update after the flight about my experience.
Have a safe journey ya'll.

 
At February 28, 2013 2:09 AM, Blogger Sarah Nashold said...

well at least now i don't think I was actually dying after hearing your stories...I did then. I woke up after fitful sleep at the tail end of a red eye flight from Vegas to? Detroit? Milwaukee? I fly the pattern often but they stop at different places on route to final destination so I don't remember route or carrier of the specific flight if that matters but it was a big plane.

I bent forward to get something out of my bag and on the way back up felt pressure in my head and throat with pain...and hot so freaking hot and dizzy and nauseous heart racing... and I thought holy @#$% I'm @#$% dying! I'm too young to go out this way. I haven't had kids yet! damn it why did i wait?! (female 38.. fighting with biological clock while believing i was dying)biological clock answer... because they would grow up without a mother. Thinking... did I just throw a clot? am i having a stroke? an aneurism? a heart attack? am I going to die? I was so dizzy and hot (usually run a cooler temp) I wanted to crawl to the mini bathroom and throw up because i knew i could not have walked ... but i was afraid I'd pass out and be taken out of the plane in emergency landing or found dead in the bathroom which would have been a much worse end then just dying on the plane...so i said to me "calm down breathe slow the nausea will pass" wile i took my pulse and checked myself for signs of stroke... this pressure was intense in my left neck and throat and side of head and all of a sudden it felt as if my tonsil area got swollen and then felt like it burst which freaked me out more thinking now I was bleeding out internally through a major artery...as i sat there and waited to die my pulse became slower, the headache rapidly subsided it all went away... by the end of the flight even my cold was also almost gone..i asked the stewardess if something about it...if she had ever heard of anything like that and she basically said no and asked if i was sick?

i don't know what happened.. my body spontaneously decided to purge itself of my cold though..i was basically over it by the time i got off the flight.. I was on the tail end of a 2 week cold that was slowly declining so the added sinus pressure makes sense with some other reports here thought the rapid cure does not... when I got off the plane and saw my boyfriend, I was afraid to have a nap. I thought well at least I'll die in my bed visiting someone I loved. i woke up and flew home a week later without incident. but it sure freaked me out.

only one other time, years before, i had had a bad cold with no sleep and had to fly for an interview and had the most terrible sinus pressure during the flight that i couldn't normalize or purge...nearly made me cry but it was so very different then this time with weird pain and pressure...sometimes i wake up on a flight with knife like pressure and pain in the ear area but if i plug my nose and blow it usually makes a seal breaking sound and its fine.
maybe i was dying but i just didn't die. or maybe my immune system did a super set.

 
At March 11, 2013 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

35 year old male. I fly a lot all over the world. On big airplanes, I was flying last week on a turbo prop out of portland to sacramento. Everything was normal until we landed I looking at the wheel to see if it was spinning as we landed I got the worse headache felt like a hundred needles were stabbing me between my eyes. The pain was hard to bare. I had no idea what it was, I never been on a small planes so i thought that was it, after reading other post it seems pretty simple. Just thought my experience was different but i guess not, thanks everyone.

 
At March 16, 2013 7:05 AM, Anonymous Sumit said...

I also had similar very severe and excruciating pain but on the right side of my eye...and i am experiencing residual pain for 3 days.....last time it occurred on my let side of the eye and there was no residual pain...... however reathing very heavily when the pain starts helps me ....when i stop breathing heavily for 5 mins pain increases.......i just try to take as much air as i can during descent. But this time i dont know what to do for residual pain

 
At March 16, 2013 7:08 AM, Anonymous Sumit said...

As joel said I also had some bleeding in nasal mucus after this pain and bleeding occurred for around four days......on second time there is no bleeding yet on the third day of my flight

 
At March 16, 2013 2:21 PM, Anonymous jsouthie said...

As with most of the other posters on here, i am also a 31 yo male. It seems strange that this is such a recurrent demographic.
I had it about an hour ago on my flight from Greece returning to London. The pain started in the back of my neck and radiated across the back of my head and temples. The pain was soooo intense i was almost reduced to tears. I honestly thought my head was going to explode and felt like there were hundreds of bubbles expanding in my brain. I still have the headache now and will follow this up with the doctor if i feel similar tomorrow.
My main question is, have any of the previous posters had any follow up problems down the line? My big worry is that i feel like ive been through some form of brain trauma.

 
At March 20, 2013 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 28 year old female. I flown at least once a year since I was 17 but over the last three years I have experienced the worst migraine ever roughly 8-12 hours after flying but only on the return flight. It's that bad twice I have ended up in hospital on a drip of fluids and pain killers. I returned on the 18/03/2013 from a holiday. Before I left the doctor gave me Sumatriptan to take after landing to try and avoid the migraine. I have felt rough and like I may get an attack but so far it seems to have prevented a full blown attack. I don't understand why it would only be on the return flight and only over the last couple of years. Any ideas?

 
At March 26, 2013 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

35 year old male. I have experienced the same issue. Piercing pain above my left eye. Unfortunately, it's always with the same airline that asks if you want to get away. I have avoided them as best as I could, but today my wife and I jumped on a quick emergency flight to Austin Tx and she experienced it for the first time. She is 33. Twice, once landing into Houston and again landing in our home town to end the trip. It was brutal. She broke into tears and couldn't make it stop. My association is with the descent and the rate in which the airline changes the pressure. American and Continental, now United have never impacted us this way. My wife is a big United frequent flyer, so her first experience with (wanna get away) was rough. My mild headache and her debilitating pain washed away the moment we landed. I travel with gum which i heard opens your esophagus letting your body equalize pressure with the cabin. Not sure if that's malarkey, but it works for me. I also keep the ice in my drink to chew on. Once I run out, i start chewing the gum.

 
At April 02, 2013 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS IS DEFINIATELY CAUSED BY SINUS ISSUES. I am a 22 year old female and I flew on a small plane for the first time last year. As we started to descend I got this stabbing pain in my face and it started to move up into the head and also into the neck. The pain felt like severe and itchy pins and needles. I thought I was going to die! I had my nose broken 4 years ago now and have had the most ridiculous symptoms since. I'm going for sinus surgery in June, but i'm flying from canada to cabo in 5 days...KIND OF HORRIFIED. I plan to take a decongestant and sinus spray.. another thing that really helps me is holding warm cloths over my face and breathing in. Try using a netipot and stay hydrated! If you dont know why you are having these issues or you dont feel like you have sinus problems you should go see an ENT or get a cat scan to be sure.

 
At April 02, 2013 10:24 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

As the blog owner, I'll step in and comment here. Although sinus issues can cause headaches and earaches when flying, the "airplane headaches" discussed in this post are NOT caused by standard sinus problems like congestion.

Mainardi et al. state:

The headache attributed to airplane travel, also named "airplane headache", is characterized by the sudden onset of a severe head pain exclusively in relation to airplane flights, mainly during the landing phase. Secondary causes, such as upper respiratory tract infections or acute sinusitis, must be ruled out. Although its cause is not thoroughly understood, sinus barotrauma should be reasonably involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms.

 
At April 15, 2013 1:49 AM, Blogger AI said...

30 Male, I have travelled very very freqiently for work but only developed this problem 3 yrs ago and since then it has happened on every descent that was in a "not so new" plane for planes that were clearly new (from seats n equipment clues) I never had this pain. Its the same left frontal lobe + radiating to left eye, in my case 1-3 days after the landing I get massive clotted bleeding from my left nostril.

 
At May 11, 2013 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

49 year old male, This has exact thing has happened to me on 2 flight over the past 6 months. All was ok on long haul flights, but my excruciating headaches (on the cleft hand side behind my eye) were caused on decent after 3-4 hour flights only. I have it bad now as I write this, and the pain is very bad even though I took rizitripan. it didn't touch it, which to me suggests it is much more than a migraine (which I sometimes get on the right side). Last time it took 3 days to clear and I couldnd make it out of the airport without help. my eyes could hardly focus and the whites went red. I drank loads of water as I knew it might happen again. I have flown for years - why is this happening now to all these people? What has changed in these aircraft?? This is a Major problem!

 
At May 11, 2013 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addition to the last comment: Is there really nothing anyone can do to raise this issue at a higher level so the general public area aware and the airlines will take notice - From reading this excellent posting on the blog, its clear this is to do with wrongly controlled cabin pressurization. Can no-one take direct action?

 
At May 11, 2013 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thought - do all the people suffering this problem perhaps have problems equalising while diving? I cannot dive because of apparent "air pockets" in my head/sinuses.. Hope this might help explain the reaction to what recent changes to some sort of pressurisation practice in smaller airlines.

 
At May 21, 2013 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

38 years old female writing:
I am glad to find this forum and to know that I am not the only one who gets this devious massive stabbing attack of headache during plane's descent.
I am a frequent flyer and this jabbing attack suddenly happened to me only 2 years ago. It was so scary.
I had the same attack on my forehead just like everyone in this forum had described. I've tried to take aspirin, nose spray, chewing gum, ear-plug as advised by my GP. None works! It was such a nervous-wreck since then on each time that the plane prepared to land. But last January this year the attack surprisingly did not occur on my whole trip with British Airways. I was so joyful thinking that the problem was very much over! So I thought it was all just about bad cabin pressure on small domestic aircrafts which I've been using for the last 2 years. Well it is not the case! I just got back from holiday in Italy couple of weeks ago using a big aircraft thinking that it would make any difference. The attack unfortunately happened again on my departure journey. And there was even an aftermath headache and nauseous feeling which lasted for several days after. Preparing my return journey, I then analyzed on what I did do back in January that I had not done on my last agony departure. And I applied these findings on my return journey back home and I flew pain-free.
Here are the tips:
1) Make sure you keep yourself warm in the plane. Wear thick clothing such as sweatshirt/ jacket
2) Apply generous amount of 'VICKS' at the bottom of your feet and wear thick socks.
3) Wear closed shoes such as sneakers or boots
4) Also apply some VICKS on the crown of your head and a bit under your nose and around both of your temples
5) Order only warm drinks (tea, coffee, or warm water) during flying. No alcohol.
6) Make sure that the blow-out air above your seat is turned off.
7) Prior to landing, apply again couple of times the 'vicks' on your head crown and under your nose. Also Pinch your nose for several times and hold it couple minutes before you release it.

I hope this helps for your next flight. Let me know.

 
At May 28, 2013 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

48 yo male, very glad to have found this thread, as I suffer from the same issue. Started a year or so ago, and has been happening on around half of the 10 flights I've taken in the past year, including this past weekend on both legs of a round trip San Jose to San Diego. Interestingly, it was the right eye on the way down to SD and the left eye on the way back. It comes on incredibly fast, at around 10,000 ft during the descent only. Pain goes from nothing to a 10 in less than a second. The pain for me is behind the eyebrow and extending down behind the eye a little. It is an incredibly sharp stabbing pain, and feels like capillaries trying to explode all above my eye and behind my eyebrow. Massaging my eyebrow and breathing deeply helps a little, but mainly I just suffer the pain until the plane gets close to landing, then it clears up.

 
At May 31, 2013 3:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been having exactly the same issues , except mine is always in the right side of the head. I am male 37 and have been a frequent flyer (long flight and short flights from europe to africa and USA for over 20 years. I really thought I was the only one. The first time this happened was last year, I thought it was to do with some personal stress that I was going through and I was not sure how to explain this to my GP or anyone for that matter. It happened three times now. Twice on a trip from UK to Kenya and today to Germany from UK. The pain is indescribable, the only way that people can understand is perhaps when they see a film and see some horror films that a person changes from a person to another being i.e. (Incredible Hulk) ... I am in tears whenever this happens . ..it is the worst of the pains. I am in bed now recovering...still some pain in the head , similar to the pain you get when you have a very nasty toothake....but this is nothing compared to the one I had felt earlier in the flight. I have a flight back on sunday and am not looking forward to it. Please advise if any remedy has worked...I will try the rubbing menthol, covering up etcc. as someone pointed out and report back...btw..mine started exacly when the Flight captai =n made an announcement that we were descending
I recently been having blocked nose (sinus) problems and have been using nasal sprays to open the passage. Slept only four hours before my trip, did not have anything to drinnk before my flight, was running to catch the plane before the flight, was late for the flight (under stress), perhaps not drunk some water. The only explanatioin , after reading these threds, is the cabin pressure...since they have stoped smoking on planes they have cut down the oxigin pressure (all air now comes from the egine) so for airlines now they save a lot of money ...but they are putting a lot of us on the health risk....isn't there someone that can help us put all this forward to the International Aviation Safety ?
Association (IASA)?

 
At June 01, 2013 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 27 year old female with a history of sinusitis. No history of migraine.
Plane was an Airbus

Started feeling this excruciating pain just like the ones described in here 4 months ago. 3rd or 4th attack happened a few days ago. I didn't cry during the first few times but this time, I cried. 1st and 2nd time were painful as well but this was the worst so far, thus, the crying (or sobbing.) What's worse? Our plane had to circle around because of air traffic. So imagine that. I wanted to ask the pilot if he could do an emergency landing anywhere. I just needed to be on the ground, STAT! This was also the worst since the pain didn't really completely disappear for the rest of the day. I had to take another dose of my medicine so the pain would go away.

On this last headache episode, I was asleep and was only awoken by this terrible headache. That's also when I heard the pilot say "cabin crew prepare for arrival."


I went to a neurologist. First time she's heard of this and can't really explain anything because it only happens during plane landing and everything seems normal. She said we should do a CT the next time this happens.

I've been riding planes my entire life but these headaches now make me scared of flying. I'd rather not travel if I were to experience this everytime I ride a plane.

While in pain, I was afraid of touching the left frontal part of my head, starting from the left brow bone, for it may cause my veins or nerves to explode or something. I thought I was going to die.

On my 1 hour return flight I took:
Mefenamic Acid 500mg
Cleansed my nose with Sterimar nasal spray
Sprayed Fluticasone nasal spray
Chewed the hell out of the gum

I didn;t suffer from this terrible headache on my return flight. Either what I did before my flight worked or this headache isn't consistent as well.

 
At June 01, 2013 1:24 PM, Blogger Nicky said...

I'm a 42 y.o female. I've been dlying every 2 weeks for the last 7 years from uk to spain. I have never ever experienced pain like it. My left side and I felt like someone was stabbing me with an ice pick in my left eyebrow, also my left eye was streamimg. I started to panic and then as the pain became excruciating everything went blank. Can't remember only landing and holding my head. It drained me, I felt very tired and heady all day. Its been 11 days since this incident and I'm now suffering with symptoms of nueralga. My left side of face is sore and my eye also. The skin feels like its been burnt. I'm due to fly in 3 days and I'm absolutly terrified. I'm becoming anxious thinking about it as I've never suffered from pain like it and still going through it. Please any working suggestions. My husband has made me an appointment for when I return home to see the doctor. Thank you in advance......... I thought I was dying and ever knew there was so many people going through the same thing. I really wonder what could be causing this?
Nicky

 
At June 02, 2013 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

28-year-old black female. I've experienced this on two occasions. The first one was when I was 19, I had two flights that day. The first was fine (as it had been my whole life, and I flew A LOT). During the landing of the second flight, I experienced this excruciating pain on my right-side. It spread from my ear down my throat and resonated worst in my teeth. I thought that once was a fluke, because it never happened again (and I still flew A LOT). However, I traveled two days ago and it happened on all THREE flights from Japan to Gulfport. This time it was on the left side. The first time shocked me crazy (it had been almost 10 years since the first time at this point) and it was hell getting on those other two flights KNOWING what was coming. I'm desperate to try something before I have to fly back.

 
At June 08, 2013 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I hope I can help!! I used to love to fly and then I started to get those same severe headaches, pressure, severe stabbing needles in my eye, while everyone else was enjoying the flight, I was crying and ended up with severe migraines many times. During the last few years, I ALWAYS take pseudophedrine for two days before my flight and in the morning before I board. I ALWAYS put the "EARPLANE" earplugs in my ears as soon as I am in my seat, and I don't take them out until we have landed and are getting ready to leave the plane. I am SOOOO HAPPY to say that I have NOT experienced ANY MASSIVE pain since doing this. I get a slightly runny or stuffy nose and that is it. TRY IT!! Good luck!!

 
At June 09, 2013 12:53 PM, Anonymous Pat said...

I'm a 54 year old white male. I got AH while landing in Florida, coming from Missouri. Pain was over left eyebrow. I thought I was turning into the incredible hulk. My wife witnessed this on landing in Florida and my daughter witnessed it coming back to Missouri. Both times it was on descent. When the pilot leveled off, the pain eased a little. I dosed up on Walphed. (Walgreens Sudaphed) Then, had whiskey before descent. It barely knocked a particle of an edge off. I'm thumbing it from here on out.

 
At June 16, 2013 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see people are still commenting on this. Well I was relieved to learn that it was probably not a stroke or something terrible.
I am 32 female. I have flown a bunch before and this has never ever happened. I flew on Friday on a large place on Southwest and nothing. I flew back on a small plane back - the one where there are 2 seats on one side and 1 on the other. As they announced that we were landing, after a 1 hour flight, I thought my brain would split open and my eye would pop out. The worst pain I have ever head in my life. I had headaches before but I almost thought my eye was coming out... Sharp pain on left side of the head, going behind my eye and ending in the jaw. Which was weird and super intense. It was like someone was sticking something sharp through my brain and eye. I had a brief sensitivity to light thing and basically held my head and kept eyes closed. When we landed it was less, when I drove home it was less still. A few hours later just a bit of a pain. I had a bit of an allergy thing earlier so I'm thinking it's sinus preassure and probably has something to do with small planes... Well it was good to find this discussion

 
At July 04, 2013 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

35 year old male

I had my first episode on a flight from the uk to Barbados 13 years ago. An intense pressure radiating between the eyebrows and behind the eyes when we came in to land. I Felt like my head was going to explode. I thought I must have a brain clot or haemorrhage, luckily I lived to tell the tale and the pain disapated after an hour.

On the return back to the uk I was concerned that it might happen again and it did, this time on takeoff then again on landing. I have flown every year since to different destinations, long and short flights, boeings and small planes and I still get the same intense pain.

I recently came back from Portugal and my partner asked me why I was acting so funny on take off and landing ( closing my eyes, holding my nose, irritable, fidgety, clenching) I told her what I was going through. So she made me go and see a doctor. Surprise surprise, NHS no nothing, doctor shrugged his shoulders and said he did not know why this happens, I would just have to deal with it every time I fly.

So after some research I hypothesise:

1. If you or a member of your family are quite prone to snoring you are more likely to be susceptible.

2. Since smoking planes has been banned the air quality has diminished as airlines save money and could possibly be a factor. Since I never experienced these pains prior to the smoking ban.

3. Smokers and drinkers will be more susceptible due to the obvious reductions in their health.

Just my observations feel free to add

 
At July 06, 2013 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don;t really know if I;m feeling relieved or not by reading about so many people suffering from what seems to be a rather common problem but with no clear answer. My young son (age 16)told me yesterday that he suffered from the same severe headache during landing after a domestic flight with a propeller aircraft on a 1 hour journey.He was alone and got very scared.He suffers from occasional asthma symptoms but he also is a professional tennis player, and he was coming back home after an international tournament.He also told me that he had had another painful attack of the same sort 2 years ago on a flight trip to spain but after that, he has been on an airplane a lot of times without any problems untill yesterday.The whole story seems to be very scary so I wonder why noone has got a responsible, professional answer by a neurologist or a throat specialist and a possible treatment based on natural remedies other then strong chemical bombs.



 
At July 29, 2013 11:26 AM, Anonymous Silverwings said...

Seems that the problem is within the sinuses. It is called aerosinusitis or barosinusitis. The sinuses are contracting during descent and in case rapid descent the pressure might not equilibrate inside the sinuses fast enough. Squeeze is produced on descent when trapped air in the sinuses contracts and produces negative pressure.

The reasons to this can be due to inflammation, polyps, mucosal thickening, anatomical abnormalities, or other lesions. Sinuses might even narrow within time without a reason.

There are several treatments depending on nature of sinusial blockage. Simple inflammation might be cured with antibiotics and narrowed sinuses can be expanded in simple operation without bigger pain or long recovery time.

In first place I would suggest to go and examine sinuses and see what is blocking pressure equilibrium.

Hope this will help :)

 
At August 12, 2013 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this pain today. 47 y/o female. Prior to it everything was fine. No pressure building in my ears. All of a sudden during descent of plane, I got shocking pain behind my ear, down my jaw and across my forehead. A paralyzing pain. It felt like a nerve root was hit and not sinus pain in my case. (I can't say electric shock, because I've felt that before, which is just intense, paralyzing vibrations.) I thought I was going to go insane. It's a pain that would force you to request a talk with the pilot and ask him to watch how he's landing (no matter the risk of being taken into custody).

 
At August 19, 2013 10:28 AM, Anonymous tranft said...

I'm a male and have had this prob throughout my life. It doesn't happen all the time on every flight and used to happen only on descent.

I have correlated this with air-pressure as I get the same type of headache when I went up the Palm Springs aerial tramway which goes up to 8500feet. On my last flight from Hawaii I noticed on my Casio alitimeter watch that it measured 5700 feet. Obviously we were much higher but that's what the watch was measuring as far as air pressure. Oddly enough on my flight to Hawaii, same airline, same type plane, I did not experience any headache. I am convinced that it is cabin air-pressure related.

Can any pilots chime in on how the cabin air-pressure is controlled? Automatically or manual? If it is manual perhaps we could request the pilot do a gradual equalization or maybe even a specific pressure?

 
At August 24, 2013 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I`m 32 years old and a frequent flier my whole life. This problem started after a flight in 2004 after an extended period of not being in the air. The problem occurs on about 3 out 4 flights I take, always on descent below 4,000 feet. My home is at 3,500 feet above sea level.

I work with an airline and fly on Cargo planes where I am the only passanger jump seating on the flight deck as well as regular passanger aircraft.

I had one time where I experienced the pain on take off on an international flight that lasted 12 hours.

I`ve flown so much, actually become accustom to the stabbing pain.

The pain always stabs behind my right eye. It feels like it pushes my eye out of my socket. I can also feel pain in a vein in my forhead.

Typically after a flight I end up blowing my nose which causes some blood to come out and I get headaches lasting up to a week or more.

This week I`ve flown 2 flights with 4 cycles. The first was mild, the second was extreme, the third was light and the fourth was in a Turbo Prop that travelled at 15,000 feet which did not affect me.




 
At September 06, 2013 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

33 year old healthy male. I experienced this pain in the right frontal region for the first time today. Second leg of two flights from NYC to the SE. First flight went fine. Second flight, smaller plane- while descending I felt the worst pain of my life just above my right eye. I am an emergency physician, and my first thought was that I was having a subarachnoid hemorrhage (ruptured aneurysm in the brain). I recall wondering if I'd make it to the hospital in time to have surgery. I was writhing and crying in pain. After realizing I could feel everything, move everything, and speak OK, I woke my wife and had her check my eyes to see if I had bleeding, unequal pupils, or some other terrible finding. Once the pain subsided a bit and I got my wits about me, I realized the pain was not deep in my head, and put 2+2 together to realize that the pain was d/t the descent. It's better now after naproxen and nasal decongestant spray. I've worked in a very busy ER for several years, and I've never seen a patient with this condition. Never did I think I'd experience such awful pain.

 
At September 11, 2013 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im a 45yr old female and i experienced this frightening pins and needles type pain above my eye brows with an intense pain on a recent flight from England to Gran Canaria..scarey but subsided once we landed. Feel relieved to know this is relatively normal.

 
At September 14, 2013 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank you all for posting. I read everything on this thread. This started happening to me in 2010. 48 yr. old woman. I've always had air sickness, nausea close to vomitting, I was glad when that went away and after 2-3 yrs this started happening. As most of you thought, I also thought this was aneurism and thought I was going to die on the plane. Mine started on the left side, just above the eyebrow, one instance on both eyebrows and most recent occurrences on the right eyebrow. On my recent flight to NYC via JetBlue, landing was not too bad. I did not have this upon landing which I was already expecting, however, from NYC to Rochester NY, I had the severe pain. I on the other hand need to sit by the window, preferably windows closed, air vents closed (no air at all). have only water and a ton of gum chewing, did the Afrin technique (no effect), every now and then took Sudafed (well these are now the ones over the counter which are no longer the original ones since somehow they took it off the counter) but still not helping. Told my allergist and GP, they are clueless. But with all your help what I am going to try are the following: Jal Neti - one of my co workers have been doing this helps her with the sinuses, massage before flying, this time try Naproxene, no drinking except my own water I bring, not sure about the hot towel coz I do not want to be bothered by too much fuzziness from the stewardess asking questions, continue to have lots of tissues on hand in case of the crying eye symptom, and wear a hat. That helped ward off unnecessary air and light and yes, ear plugged with my ear phones even without music, constant yawning to air my ear out. I will let you knowin my next flight if these worked.Good luck, people do not understand unless they have it. It is bloody painful. I have not narrowed down which type of plane coz this happened to me in both big and small planes but I sort of agree about the recycled air and how each airline may be doing this. Yes, we need the airlines and everyone be aware that we are suffering. It hurts like hell.

 
At November 12, 2013 1:03 PM, Blogger Je'Nee said...

Nov. 10, 2013 AA flight from Vegas to Orlando - with stop in Dallas..Upon descend into Dallas - felt like my head on the left side was hit by lighting. The most blinding pain i have ever felt across the left forehead, left eye and left temple. I thought it was a stroke or aneurysm...I was by myself and thought i would never be able to tell my family good bye - as i was sure i was going to die..I was first off the pane and dropped into a chair and had a nose bleed and them got sick, and stumbled into a bathroom stall and sat on the floor..I called my husband and told him where my life insurance paperwork was, as he looked quickly online and found this site. It assured him and me that I would not die so I started crying...after about 30 mins, the blinding pain turned into a migraine - a welcome thing at the time. I had to them talk myself out of renting a car to drive home, and got on the next flight. Still a migraine - but not the blinding pain as before. Next day called my Drs. and forced me to go to hospital for a CAT - and of course it came out normal. Day two - today, I have a normal headache - so it is getting better. I do not believe that any nose spray or pills would have helped - i was perfect and a split second I was in pain that NO ONE can imagine unless they have felt it. Pain so intense i told my husband where the life insurance was..WHY DO DRS. NOT know about this?!?! What about the airlines?!?! What is happening to us - and what can we expect now - was there damage somewhere to us? And why us?!

 
At November 19, 2013 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the pain disappear after having a root canal treatment? It could be an infected tooth.

 
At November 19, 2013 8:34 PM, Blogger jenee said...

This is no tooth ache...nothing to do at all with teeth..my teeth are perfectly fine..

 

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