Researchers at Giovanni e Paolo Hospital in Venice have found that "airplane headache" is not just a figure of speech and should instead be listed as a new subtype of headache.
Writing in the report, published in the journal Cephalalgia, the researchers said that airplane headache occurs usually during the landing stage of a flight and suggested a list of criteria which can be used by doctors to diagnose the disorder.
The researchers observed a group of 75 people who had similar symptoms of airplane headache and who had contacted doctors after lead researcher Federico Mainardi had published an article about the new phenomenon back in 2007.
The participants were then made to list out their symptoms in a questionnaire and the researchers found similarities with past cases of airplane headaches. The researchers said that the headache is characterized by a sharp pain on one side of the head limited to the time when the plane was landing and usually disappeared in less than 30 minutes among more than 96 percent of the people.