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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Will flying affect post-concussion syndrome?

 brock20l - Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:33 pm

8 days ago I sustained a mild concussion. I did not lose consciousness.

3 days ago I went to the doctor because I was still feeling some symptoms of my concussion -- namely headaches. My doctor diagnosed me with post-traumatic migraines. He prescribed propranalol (20mg once a day) to stop the migraines, and referred me to a neurologist (who has not contacted me yet to set up an appointment).

My headaches are beginning to ease since I started the beta-blocker (they are not as severe, and do not last as long), but I am still not feeling quite like myself. Besides the headaches, I am feeling slight nauseous (only in the past day or two) and am feeling "foggy" and dazed, and am having trouble concentrating.

I am going on a trip 4 days from now, and never thought to ask my doctor how flight and the change in air pressure will affect my migraines and my other post-concussion symptoms. Are there any important interactions I should be aware of or reactions I should watch for?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:41 pm

User avatar Hi there -

The one concern flying raises is that you've been having migraines post-concussion, and although you're being effectively treated, there is some potential for the lower air pressure at 30,000 feet to provoke some mild dilation of the blood vessels in your head, which is what causes the migraines. The propanolol may well be adequate to offset this, and the problem should resolve with time anyway, but in some people it lingers as a reflex indefinitely, so you might want to put a call in to your doctor's office with the very reasonable question regarding possible migraine aggravation, as this could potentially make a pleasant trip pretty unpleasant. Then again, if you manage to get through your flight without too much discomfort, the increase in pressure on landing may well "reset" things migraine-wise. I've heard of this happening before.

Still, I'd put in a call just to get the doctor's input. There is some potential for a mid-flight migraine, and once you're up there, you can't fast-forward to your destination.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you.
 keetsa - Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:41 am

Okay, well . .
I am not sure if I have post-concussion syndrome, BUT:
I did sustain a concussion a month ago to date and I did lose consciousness (kept asking same questions repeatedly when I woke up, etc.). I seem to have some sort of residual damage in the cognitive region of my brain as I cannot remember numbers very well and at first could not remember them at all. I do not have headaches, but I sometimes feel pressure and cold sensations in my head; I also think a nerve twitches on the right side of my head where the trauma happened. O.o

I need to make a flight in the next week and I was wondering if it were safe to do so?

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