Jump to content

High Altitude


Recommended Posts

Well, I went skiing with my family over the weekend.  I NEVER thought I'd ski again.  I am not a crazy fast skier but I like to make my way down at the respectable speed.  It's funny, I noticed while we were driving/climbing through the mountains my head started to hurt more and more.  I thought maybe I was just tired from the three hour drive.

 

Next day we put our girl in ski school (she hated it) and went skiing.  The crisp cold air felt good and down the slope I went a number of times without hesitation and I felt great!

 

Well, about three hours later an enormous headache and dizziness landed on my head and that was the end of fun. We went to dinner and I thought I was going to pass-out and then to bed I went.  The next day we went tubing and I felt okay.  Not great but I did deal with it.

 

Ugh, then on the way home,  HELLO HEADACHE!  It was not until we got home that I noticed my head started feeling better.  Then the next day I read that high altitudes can affect health conditions.  Now, I do know this but for whatever reason, it did not dawn on me that was the reason. 

 

I wonder if I will have trouble flying?  Anyone else sensitive to high altitudes?

 

I

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Iola!  The second I started reading about your mountain headache I started to wonder if altitude might have something to do with it.  I'm sorry it kind of took some of your ski-happy away...but I'm glad you got to go and "be there"!  I have wondered about flying and if the pressure from altitude would affect our heads.  I'm bettin it would.  Maybe not all of us but some.  I'm just so excited that you got to go up to the mountains and enjoy the experience and ambiance of a ski trip.  How fun!  Having said that let me add, "you'd never catch ME up there!"  lol.  I have never skied.  Don't give up.  In time you may be able to go again and not even be reminded you ever had a headache in your life.  

 

Rest up.  

Love, Carolynusa

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Iola,

 

I've flown many times since my SAH without a problem.  Don't forget that when flying you are in a pressurised cabin which tends to equalise atmospheric pressure although you still may have the popping ears as you ascend and descend.  There may be some who have different experiences but I haven't had a single problem.

 

When you are out on the slopes it's different because there you do experience the difference in air pressure and there is nothing to protect you from it.

 

If in doubt seek the advice of your doctor before you fly.

 

Macca

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What kind of altitude are we talking? If you are skiing in Colorado where the skiing is above 10,000 feet this could be very possible. One also needs to consider adjusting to altitude, if you come from sea level and than are skiing the next day this give a lot of people problems. I would consider in the future planning on not skiing the first couple of days and giving your body time to adjust to the altitude. Also if you are in the states I would say consider skiing in Utah and not Colorado. 

 

Even before I had a bleed I would get altitude headaches and last couple of years I just never skied the first day and it definitely made a difference. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Iola,
Sorry to hear that you had the trip spoiled headaches - but brilliant that you had at least some times where you felt great! We are all different of course, but just to share some things I have noticed in case it helps.....
I live in a ski resort, and have started to go skiing again regularly. When I was discharged from hospital, knowing where I live, they gave an altitude range to stick within for the first few months, and thereafter said any altitude (around here) would be ok, as before.

 

Altitude can impact everyone though - and as people have said above, it may be that you were at a higher altitude than I get to go. A plane is normally presurised to about 2100m..... How much higher than that were you? My husband is regularly ill if he climbs above at 3100m, but fine below, and he has no brain injury.....Maybe try a lower resort another time and see if it makes a difference?

 

Skiing is physical, and creates such a wonderful rush of sensations, plus you need to keep in perfect balance etc. keep warm and protect yourself from the elements, deal with speed, other skiers around you (I stil find this the most difficult, confusing) lots of equipment, the expectations of your group you are skiing with, long days, etc..... there are a lot of things that you will have been asking your body and brain to do again for the first time. Could that also have an impact on you too perhaps?

 

I find, after 19 days this season ( yes I am tracking them!) I can ski like I used to before, almost. But, the following day I am very, very tired and have a headache, without fail. It is like back in the early days after the bleed. I am beginning to think it's a combination of fitness (lack of it!) and the sheer explosion of sensations and expectations that are exhausting me.

 

I don't know the answer except the usual 'pace yourself'..... For me it's a balance between being able to do something I passionately enjoy again, and not being wrecked for days later.....I havent found that balance yet, not least because unlike you I don't feel unwell at the time, but later....if it's a physical thing you love doing persevere, maybe tweak the altitude, the length of time, the effort etc?
Hope that helps and you get some more days in the mountains soon x

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find that doing something I love to do can just as easily overwhelm me as something that I think of as trying or hateful like taxes or raking leaves for 2 hours.  After I noticed this, I just constantly monitor my own inner self and see how I am handling whatever I am doing.  If it is something fun, then I am more willing to take the consequences whatever they might be (for me they are variable and I don't get to chose which ones I get).

 

However, if it is something I hate doing anyway, I would definitely stop doing it and pick it up later.  If it is something in between, I usually opt out at soon as it makes sense...like a loud party.  I can see those people again even though I am having a good time now, yet it is not worth tomorrow being a down day.

 

I do X-country skiing and I love it.

~Kris

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Oh yes. When I fly if we land in Colorado, within five minutes of getting off the pressurized plane I am in screaming pain. Driving over the mountain passes is very hard as well, although the focus it takes to drive can be a diversion and of course we aren't on the highest peaks. 

 

As for the skiing, you are out in the cold and releasing endorphins and dopamine. For me that is a magical combination that helps me to feel better. I can be having a bad headache and go out on a run in cold weather and within 40 minutes feel better if the weather is nice and cold. I also wear a cold hat (helmet, dork-hat). I bet that was part of why you felt good while skiing. Unfortunately it only lasts so long so I can be out running for 5 hours and feel good for most of them, but the last hour or so the headache will return. 

 

That's one of the reasons I love distance running.

 

And yes, as Kris and Sara point out, sometimes I pay for it. I've realized that some of my long runs repay me with bad headaches. However, if I didn't do them I'd have a bad headache anyhow during the time I wasn't running. Plus I wouldn't have that time of no pain during which I feel like my old me which I rarely EVER get any more! So it is worth it to run marathons and ultra marathons, or for you to go skiing for the day to be me again!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...