Small Cheese

Sinus Pain

Ever experienced a chronic pain at the brink of the eyebrow and nose when the plane is descending?

I was getting back from my hometown, as I like cold climate and the weather was hot out there, I had the air-con directed to my face. The plane ride was 1 hour 30 minutes, as you know, it would get colder during the flight but I did not redirect the air-con.

When the flight started to descend, I looked out to the horizon from the window at my right side. The ride was smooth and the weather looked fine out there, suddenly I had this very sharp and chronic pain starting from my right eyebrow, spreading down along the right side of my nose bridge. I almost knocked out by the pain and was in the verge of tears. It felt like my blood vessels along the nose bridge was going to burst and my right eyeball was going to explode or popped out. ‘Stroke?’ first came to my mind, but that could not be, I was merely 20 years old then. I control my breaths and tried to stay awake and calm to will the pain to go away soon. After the plane touched down about 15 minutes later only the pain started to ease. Left there were the numbness and aftershock pain that was still vividly throbbing that lasted for hours.

After that first time, I have the fear of getting on flight to have the same incident again. A few more times of chronic pain attacks later, I somehow figured it was because of my sinus congestion due to my nostril allergic to the cold climate. Since then, I never dared to direct the air-con on my face anymore. But still I had this striking pain from time to time (each time when I had nostril congestion or cold) but at least not every time I am taking a flight anymore.

I just learned that it would help to use a decongestant 1 or 2 hours before the plane touch down. But it is advisable to keep the nostril clear all throughout the flight; therefore a decongestant might come in handy even before boarding a plane. Pressure imbalance is the cause of the pain. A congested nostril would lead to natural pressure easing/balancing ‘out of tune’, which leads to pain. Note to self to bring a nasal decongestant spray each time taking a flight.

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