Diagnosis and Management of Headache Attributed to Airplane Travel

  • Federico Mainardi
  • Ferdinando Maggioni
  • Carlo Lisotto
  • Giorgio Zanchin
Headache (I Garza, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11910-012-0335-y

Cite this article as:
Mainardi, F., Maggioni, F., Lisotto, C. et al. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2013) 13: 335. doi:10.1007/s11910-012-0335-y
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Headache

Abstract

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. Furthermore, in the current International Classification of Headache Disorders, rapid descent from high altitude is not considered as a possible cause of headache, although the onset of such pain in airplane travellers or aviators has been well known since the beginning of the aviation era. On the basis of a survey we conducted with the courteous cooperation of people who had experienced this type of headache, we proposed diagnostic criteria to be added to the forthcoming revision of the International Classification of Headache Disorders. Their formal validation would favour further studies aimed at improving knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved and at implementing preventative measures.

Keywords

Airplane headache Sinus barotrauma Airplane travel headache Aerosinusitis 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Mainardi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ferdinando Maggioni
    • 2
  • Carlo Lisotto
    • 2
  • Giorgio Zanchin
    • 2
  1. 1.Headache Centre, Department of NeurosciencesOspedale Civile SS Giovanni e PaoloVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Headache Centre, Department of NeurosciencesPadua UniversityPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Headache Centre, Department of NeurologySS Giovanni e Paolo HospitalVeniceItaly

Personalised recommendations