Can you raise threshhold/train your brain?

So I recently have not been able to wear anything on my lips, lipbalm, lipstick, doesnt matter if its unscented with no color, Ive even tried just plain olive oil! Anything I put on my lips sets my head off, so I always give in and wash it off just to feel better. Unfortunately my lips have become so dry and cracked I have to do something. They look and feel awful. So I am literally forcing myself to keep some stuff on my lips to see if I can break this. Has anyone been able to adjust to a trigger this way? I want to train my brain to overcome some of these things as my trigger list keeps growing and growing daily. I have to be stronger than this!! By the way, the stuff I put on my lips today, i could wear about a week ago without a problem. Maddening…

Some things are mental in nature. It sounds to me that putting things on your lips has become a psychological hurdle that causes stress and anxiety and in turn causes additional dizziness and migraine.

My suggestion would be to wait for a “good” day, or a day where you have low stress and have eaten well. Then try putting something unscented on your lips. Alternatively, you can put on chap stick before you go to sleep so your brain doesn’t have the chance to freak out.

Or, if you want to try it while awake, CBT can work. Instead of focusing on the “oh sh*t I just put on chap stick now I’m going to be dizzy” focus on your breathing. Or distract yourself by doing something that doesn’t exacerbate symptoms but will take your mind off the fact that you just put something on your lips.

Once you find that it is not the substance you are putting on your lips but your mental reaction to the action of doing so you’ll find that it doesn’t bother you as much any more


Most eloquently expressed if I may say so and can I venture to suggest such reactions to actions to be more indicative of PPPD rather than MAV which wouldn’t be surprsing if you think if PPPD as the end result of anxiety from a lengthy period of a chronic vestibular disorder such as MAV. Helen

yeah, it is weird. In a sense I think restricting food due to the migraine diet works similarly. We eat something we shouldn’t and we are immediately triggered. I have done the diet for 6 months and recently started re-introducing things with no much change, so who knows. I think we can re-train the brain for sure. There are many therapies based on exposure to fears, etc. Vestibular rehab is the same, visual therapy as well. I definitively think that being afraid of dizziness because MAV triggers more dizziness!

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Avoidance anxiety.

Some people can and do sometimes. I recall a young girl on TV recently who for some medical reason I can’t recall, had a foot transplanted facing backwards. This made it so it reacted like a mirror image and to get it to perform she had to instruct it to do the exact opposite of what she really wanted all the time. She was 7-8 years old. Young brain. It only took a couple of weeks. Helen

Thanks to you all for your thoughts. I saw my neurologist today and went to him with an open mind that a perhaps large part of my ever increasing sensitivities could indeed be psychological. He doesnt dispute that I have VM, but says my expanding list of triggers and symptoms do make me an “outIier” from the rest of his patients.
I definitely admit that I start feeling anxious before I have even tried to put on lip balm or a new shirt or eat something that I believe may be a trigger. I am always bracing for the worst and therefore thats typically where I end up. Its a self-fufilling prophecy. If I dont regain some control over this Im going to end up in a hermetically sealed room cutoff from society!


Yes, anxiety about triggering VM vs. actually triggering VM is hard to distinguish. I’ve had the same frustration, especially with food. But yes, if your sensitivities are expanding I’d look more at working on the anxiety component. I got counseling help for a while and I would recommend it. But make no mistake - it’s hard to completely get rid of anxiety with VM - at least I haven’t been able to do it. With practice though you can at least keep the anxiety to a manageable level so you can recover. Good luck, I know how you feel.

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Thanks- I appreciate your insight. I have maintained a steady level of anxiety for most of my life, so I agree it will be hard to separate it from the VM since I believe anxiety played at least some role in my having this condition in the first place. Hopeful that I can get a handle on this and willing to try anything!