“Space” migraine – why does your head hurt in zero gravity?

Ever since the Apollo mission, many astronauts have complained of headaches. Moreover, under normal conditions on Earth they did not encounter such a problem. Until recently, scientists have not paid much attention to these complaints, but a recent study has shown that headaches in space are much more common than previously thought – almost everyone suffers from them in the first week of being in zero gravity. Moreover, the pain is often accompanied by increased sensitivity to light and sometimes even nausea. All this forces many astronauts to take drugs. The reasons for this phenomenon are not fully known, but there are some assumptions about this.

“Space” migraine - why you get a headache in zero gravity. In space, almost all astronauts experience headaches. Photo.In space, almost all astronauts experience headaches

What happens to the human body in space

Our body is adapted to life in the conditions of earth's gravity. Therefore, when a person finds himself in weightlessness, or in microgravity conditions, many processes in the body are disrupted. For example, blood begins to accumulate in the torso and head, resulting in swelling of the face. In some cases, this even causes vision impairment.

In addition, the fluid in the inner ear, which allows us to navigate in space and maintain balance, also ceases to perform its function. The result is disorientation and motion sickness, as, for example, on a ship. This is an unpleasant symptom that can cause dizziness and nausea.

What happens to the human body in space. In conditions of weightlessness, the functioning of many body systems is disrupted. Photo.

In conditions of weightlessness, the functioning of many body systems is disrupted

True, the body quickly adapts to new conditions, as a result of which unpleasant symptoms and discomfort disappear after a few days of being in weightlessness. However, this does not apply to headaches. According to a study published in the journal Neurology, 87% of astronauts continue to have headaches throughout the mission.

Why do you get headaches in space

In their study, the scientists analyzed data from 24 astronauts who kept diaries during multi-week space missions. In addition, the authors also took into account the memories of more than 40 astronauts. As it turned out, headaches during the first week spent in space are not random phenomena, but generally the norm. Almost every person suffers from them, as mentioned above.

Headaches are often accompanied by sinus pressure and nasal congestion. Many astronauts reported taking aspirin or other painkillers to combat pain. However, some managed without medication, as sleep and exercise helped them.

Why do you get headaches in space? Many astronauts continue to have headaches throughout their stay in space. Photo.

Many astronauts continue to have headaches throughout their stay in space

According to doctors, the cause of headaches may be increased intracranial pressure, which is associated with the redistribution of fluid in the body. When gravity weakens and stops affecting fluids in the body, blood, lymph and cerebrospinal fluid leave the areas of the body where they usually accumulate and begin to affect other parts.

It must be said that for the same reason, the so-called neuro-ocular syndrome occurs in space. It occurs due to increased pressure on the back wall of the eye in zero gravity, as a result of which vision deteriorates.

It is surprising that the scale of this problem has only now become known. According to scientists, this may be due to the fact that astronauts previously downplayed the frequency and severity of symptoms for fear of being banned from space flights, since doctors would consider their health not good enough.

Why do you get headaches in space? Headache may be associated with high intracranial pressure. Photo.

Headache may be associated with high intracranial pressure

Now that the problem is known, scientists will analyze various biological indicators of astronauts in space, based on scans of the eyes, brain and samples of blood, hair and urine. They hope that they will be able to discover the exact cause and develop effective methods to combat headaches.

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Finally, let us remind you that headaches — This is far from the only health issue that astronauts face in space. For example, scientists previously discovered that DNA quickly mutates in zero gravity. In addition, the lack of gravity destroys human bones. Also, astronauts are faced with the problem of peeling nails, which eventually simply fall off. Therefore, long-term space flights will be a serious blow to the health of astronauts.