When you fly, do you normally get off the plane nursing a headache?
A severe, sudden stabbing pain that usually starts in the forehead area above one eye. You’re definitely not alone. In fact, the problem is so common it even has a name: “airplane headache.” Neurologists have classified it as a “peculiar headache,” because it occurs only on planes, and usually lasts less than 30 minutes.
It also mostly affects men, and typically flares up as the plane approaches an airport and lands. So, what causes it? Neurologists think it’s an imbalance in air pressure. In other words, the cabin pressure drops quickly as the plane loses altitude, but the pressure inside your sinuses drops much more slowly, and the unequal pressure causes pain.
Another fact: People who are prone to headaches, in general, are more likely to suffer from airplane headaches. Airplane headaches are also affected by factors like the shape of your sinuses, the speed of the aircraft, the cabin pressure, and the altitude the plane reached. Which means, you may not get a headache every time you fly.
So, how can you arrive at your destination headache-free? About an hour before landing, take an anti-inflammatory painkiller, like ibuprofen or naproxen and use a nasal decongestant spray to open up your sinuses so they depressurize faster.