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 CASE REPORT
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 164--166

Headache associated with airplane travel: A rare entity


1 Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
2 Senior Consultant in Ophthalmology, Rose Eye Clinic, Vellayambalam, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
3 Department of Neurology, Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajith Cherian
Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.111124

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Airplane travel headache is rare and has recently been described as a new form of headache associated with a specific situation. Of the 1,208 patients with primary headaches attending a tertiary care neurology hospital, two (0.16%) patients satisfied the criteria for headache related to airplane travel. Both the patients fulfilled the proposed diagnostic criteria for airplane travel headache. This unique headache had a mean duration of 24 minutes, localized to the medial supraorbital region described as having an intense jabbing or stabbing character that occurred exclusively and maximally during aircraft landing or take-off, following which pain intensity subsided . This rare headache felt on aircraft descent is probably due to the squeeze effect on the frontal sinus wall, when air trapped inside it contracts producing a negative pressure leading to mucosal edema, transudation and intense pain. Use of nasal decongestants either alone or in combination with naproxen sodium prior to ascent and descent abated the headache episodes. Awareness about this unique entity is essential to provide proper treatment and avoid patient suffering.






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