Do i have mav? what do you guys think?

Hi everybody,First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my post. I have felt very in the dark about the way I have been feeling for the past year and a half. It all started about a year and a half ago. Well this current issue anyway. I have had Generalized Anxiety Disorder for the past 11 years, which came following my Panic Disorder I experienced for the first time when I was sixteen years old. I smoked some weed when I was sixteen and my life took a turn for the worst. This one “downer” I experienced became the beginning of pyshological problems that would last me for years.

Anyways, needless to say, I experienced Anxiety constantly for 11 years without any medication. Even to this day, I have steered clear of any meds. Regardless of this medication-free illness, which I have tried to treat naturally, I feel like a majority of my life has been wasted on constant worrying. I actually watch myself manifest new problems created by anxiety, like health anxiety for one. My symptoms, however, feel more real than ever. I have always felt off-balance, especially in shopping malls and nightclubs. This is what made being a teenager and young adult very hard. When everyone else was drinking and partying up their youth, I was scared to take a drink. I would just wish the night could be over so I could get in my car, go home and be safe.

Years and years went on with this debilitating anxiety. About a year ago, I started a new job and I was leaving for France for a week. Not to mention, I was adjusting to living on my own, which for a person with anxiety, is very hard. I wouldnt sleep at night, my diet was poor, I was walking my dog constantly, completing night courses through university and going to the gym. I started to notice a swaying feeling come over me, which I dismissed at the building i was living in as I was on the 21st floor and high rise buildings tend to sway. Every day at work, i would feel more and more pressured which was a result of my boss putting stress on me to get work done before my flight. Two night before my departure, I started to notice an inner rocking feeling while I was on the computer. It was like a pendulum was knocking on the inside of my head. The feeling intensified until I found myself in emergency crying. I went to emergency three times that weekend with no explanation given except it could be inner ear related. I then went to an ENT who ran tests and told me nothing was wrong. My doctor told me it was ANXIETY. The rocking eventually went away.

Today, I still feel like i am off balance, i have visual snow and cannot see in the dark at all.


I cannot see in a dark room, I have tons and tons of floaters, if i am on the computer I feel as though I am moving side to side, my muscles always feel tense, I have isolated headaches and migraines, which I have been getting since the age of 10. I feel jittery at times. I can’t even turn a corner in my house without feeling dizzy. When I am in a car, the feeling tends to go away, until I stop. When I am in bed, it just feels weird if I turn my head, not the classic spinning vertigo.

I am obsessed about the fact that there may be something seriously wrong with me that doctors are not catching. What do you all think?

I wonder what you mean when you say you’ve tried to treat it “naturally.”

If you have received a formal diagnosis involving anxiety, I hope you’ve had counseling/psychotherapy, especially if you’ve been avoiding medication.

Not every ENT is a neurotologist. OTOH, I was referred to a neurotologist by an ENT who had run across, and suspected, MAV. I wouldn’t have diagnosed it myself.

Hi david, i mean i have seen a psychologist who has shown me techniques to deal with anxiety and panic attscks. I was diagnosed with Gad aling with post traumatic stress disorder. But the off balance feeling is constant. I also feel like i am rotaying when i look down or up… is this common with MAV or is it more of an anxiety thing… aldo the visual snow…??

Hi ,
You have visaul snow, this is a symptom of migraine for some people.
Anxiety is comon amongst MAVers “during” a migraine.
Migraineures also suffer from postdrome and prodrome, anxiety and depression/tiredness.

There is a psychological dizziness,It’s called, phsycogenic dizziness.
Cognitive therapy has been used successfully for this illness, but like taking a medication, it takes time and most important having the right therapist.
Then you doing your homework.
Heres something about it from Dr Hain. … alized.htm

Hope this helps,


I would say yes, definitely you have a migraine brain. It is basically a hyper=sensitive brain and anxiety and depression run along with it for many people. I am not sure why you have avoided meds, when you say that you have “lost” so much of your life to this. It doesn’t have to be this way. It certainly isn’t your fault this is your situation, but I think you would be more empowered to get things under control so you’re coming from a place where you aren’t overwhelmed with intrusive thoughts about your health and your anxiety. I suffered anxiety for about a year, and I still get it now and again, but it was the absolute worst feeling ever. I would take pain over anxiety any day. Luckily, I was able to work with some doctors to get proper medication and now I have a much better hold of my life. I would encourage you to give it a try. I don’t think you can will it away if it’s truly a brain chemical imbalance.
Best of luck to you…

Also, you said that you’re going to a gym now… Take a look at member stargraves post in the success stories. That should help you. Stargrave had the off balance feeling like most of us, but was able to get rid of it by using the eliptical for 30 minutes a day. It took months but it eventually went away. Just a thought. I think you need a positive success story at the moment to help you get through and to know that this will go away. It takes time, but make no mistake, this does go away. The more you believe it will, the more likely it really will. I think that this is just a little blip in our lives right now. Thinking about so much can also make symptoms worse. Mine isn’t gone yet, but it will be and I know it. Don’t worry about it. I’ve been exercising 3 weeks now and already have improvement. The first 2 weeks sucked bad though. I’m taking it one month at a time right now. I’ll look at the 1st of each month and compare it to the last month. I’m not stopping no matter what though. Exercise is key I think. Stay focused. You’ll feel better.

Kelley is right, if you need a med, than you should add that to your program.


Actually, I was going to the gym, but at the time, it enhanced the violent inner rocking feeling. I got so scared that I stopped working out. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but when my rocking what as its worst, i was also anemic. I think that is normal in women, however, because of menstruation. I am just really confused with this whole disorder. When I brought up “migraine” to my ENT, he dismissed it. He said sometimes stress can cause these symtoms and to keep on living my life. I mean, that’s what I get, even when I see my family physician. He believes it is all part of my anxiety disorder.

If I had a central nervous problem like ms or parkinson’s, would my symptoms be different? I don’t get paraylsis or numbess but when I look up dizziness on the internet, those diseases come up and basically, I have been kind of fixated on these life-threatening illnesses which make things worst and cause depression. When I read about Migraine symptoms they correspond alot with mine. So really, it is confusing. These are a list of my symptoms:

  • severe neck tension.
  • rotationtal vertigo when i look up or down.
  • when i stand still to look at something, I feel “off”
  • if i turn a corner, I get an off-balance feeling.
  • If I make sudden head-movements, I get an off balance feeling.
  • sitting at the computer sometimes feels like swayin.
  • I have major major floaters.
  • when i look at a white wall, I see little lights flickering in my eyes.
    -I cannot see in the dark at all or barely, really really bad night vision.
  • cannot sleep properly, alwys uncomfortbale.
  • Wild dreams.
  • contsant worrying.

I can’t say whether you have MAV, but your first 6 symptoms sound identical to mine, except that I get more of a tilted or upside down feeling from looking up or down, not rotational vertigo. The off-balance feeling when turning corners or making sudden head movements always comes with a couple of seconds of my eyes not wanting to focus where I want to focus them. My brain interprets all of this as my head feeling as if it’s still moving (“motion trails”).

I was as afraid as you are of the serious neurological diseases, especially vertebrobasilar ischemia since I’m in my 50s. After a brain MRI and a CT of the inner ear, most of the worst possibilities have been ruled out. There are still a couple of nasties that have to due with CSF pressure, but those can’t be positively ruled out without a lumbar puncture. It’s down to migraine and/or Meniere’s now, with Meniere’s seeming increasingly unlikely.

ENTs are notoriously ignorant about migraine – only neurotologists are likely to have enough familiarity with it to discuss it intelligently. Worst, many ENTs won’t even prescribe a brain MRI. I hope you can find a better specialist.

Thanks for your reply. I guess I will have to insist on getting referred to this type of specialist. Are you on medication? Are the symptoms for you still present?

You mentioned that you have severe neck tension. The SCM neck muscle can cause cause every symptom you named there when it’s tensed up. In fact people have gotten a migraine diagnose when it’s only a tense neck and they really don’t have migraine at all. although migraine can cause your neck to tense up, so can anxiety too though.

I would work on the neck tension as best as you can. Cardio exercise helps the muscles loosen up a bit. And you can youtube some simple neck exercises to do. I would focus on the SCM neck muscles and upper traps.

Once the neck calms down, you will feel much better.


Greg, its really funny that you mention this. When all of this began, my neck would give out this little electric zaps when I looked down. The dizziness also seems to be worse when I look down. And its not really dizziness but a rising up or surreal feeling of the ground, very hard to explain. When I am at the computer and I stop to write something, then look back up again, I feel really really off. Takes a couple of seconds to adjust again.

Also, I received a massage the other day focusing on my neck bc I had a headache that was going on three days, whenever he touched my neck or massaged it rather, I felt a floaty feeling come over me. Again, hard to explain.

Where should I go to have my neck looked at?

I would go to a good physical therapist. One who specializes in the neck area. You have classic whiplash symptoms. Which you can also get from tension in SCM neck muscle. Those electric zaps you have on your neck are probably your neck muscles going into spasm, no big deal. I’ve felt that myself. But the main problem is trying to figure out why the neck is tensing up so much. Could be a number of things. A good diet and exercise program will most likely bring it back to normal within a few weeks or a month. Stress and anxiety will tense you up big time. But switch to healthy diet and exercise and that should get rid of those things too. Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep at night too. That’s a biggie. Not too much sleep though. People are like machines, and we were all built to move. If we don’t move enough (like exercise) or put the right foods in us, we start falling apart over time. Now we have to start being healthy and moving on a regular basis. If we do that, then over time (months) you should be able to reverse this thing. Just stay focused and don’t get caught up googleing everything so much. Just remember, exercise/healthy diet= success. It may take many months, but so what. I’ve had this for many months now, and I wish I would know the info that I know now about healthy living back then. I’ve seen a good improvement in just 3 weeks. I can just imagine what I’ll be like in 10 months. Probably better than what I was before this mess started.

Now if you fear something is more wrong with you, get checked. I’m just assuming those are muscle spasms in your neck, but I’m not a doctor. Just ask your doc what you should do there. Maybe he or she will say it’s nothing, who knows.


Thanks, I will definately look into that. And I do not sleep very good, wake up 3 times a night because i cant find the right position to sleep in - very restless and uncomfortable. To think of it a year and a half ago i was in an accident, where we were hit from behind. I was in the middle of a conversation, (so my head was turned to the side), when we got rear ended by a truck going downhill. My neck was sore for a week after that but I never thought anything of it. I am going to get referred to a physical therapist. Is there usually pain involved with this, because I have no pain just tension like cant relax feeling.

As far as I know, the SCM muscle doesn’t always cause pain, just the other symptoms. Have you been rocking and off balance for a year and half now? If so, did it start mild and progressively get worse over the months?


Greg, the rocking sensations, “motion trails” and general off feeling have been going on for about a year and a half. They have never been as severe as when I first experienced the rapid inner rocking (front and backwards) that landed me in emergency three times because I was pretty much freaking out, which was about a year and a half ago. The accident was actually about 6 months prior to the first incident. I remember noticing the rocking while I was on my bed, cross legged, looking down at my lap top. It was as if I was rocking back and forth but as I wasn’t. The more I freaked out about the feeling the more intense it became. I slept for about a week on holidays and it eventually subsided. Now i notice when I am at the computer and/or tense up, the feeling slighty returns but not that intense. Sometimes while on the computer, I get like a car sick feeling except I am not in the car.

When I am at home and look down to put on shoes, the floor feels as though it is turning, or floating upwards. It is a very weird feeling but I don’t throw up over it. I stopped to admire some paint work in my house the other day, and when I stand completely still looking around a room, I feel off as if I am on a ship. Very weird.

If you’ve been like this for that long, it’s gonna take some time to knock it out. I would definately have that neck looked at by a physical therapist first. Then I’d do some elliptical every day for 30 mins. Start slower than that though. The 1st week do only 5-10 mins 3x that week. Then gradually go up 30 mins 5x a week. That will get your blood flowing in area’s that don’t usually flow very well (like the little blood vessels around inner ear and other extremities).

Also add about 3-5 servings of vegi’s to you’re diet, and 3-5 servings of fruits also. Stay away from any known migraine food triggers. You can still eat some garbage foods as long as you put in the good stuff too. I eat about 80% healthy and 20% the worst type of foods you can think of. It works for me and it’s realistic.

It’s funny you mentioned about smoking pot when you were sixteen and haven’t been right since. I tried pot when I was 16 and went into a full blown panic attack. I’ve suffered from anxiety since I was about 14. Never saw anyone for it and never took anything for it. I just thought that was the way I was. It hasen’t controlled my life though either. But I do know that healthy eating and exercise knocks it out. If you stay consistant with eating right and hitting the gym, you should be in pretty good shape mentally as the months go on.

The same goes for the dizziness. I’ve been off balance/ dizzy for a year now. And I’ve basically just been lying around the house drowning in my own sorrows for the past year. Until 3 weeks ago, I figured I have to do something or I might as well die. I don’t wanna be on meds so I have to do this through myself. So I learned a ton about healthy living and I’ve been at it for 3 weeks with some pretty good results. I won’t be happy til the dizzi’s are gone though. I won’t take nothing less. But after 3 weeks I can tell that they’ll be on there way out. There are days where I feel that they won’t be, but I know that’s just frustration and I try not to pay much attention to those thoughts.

Your symptoms are very much like mine I noticed. Rocking when looking up, moving ground when looking at it etc.
I’m guessing you don’t wanna take meds either. If you wanna get rid of it without the meds, it can be done.


Were you diagnosed with MAV or do you have neck-muscle related problems?

I just read where you were in an accident and had your head turned while getting hit from behind. Same thing happened to me. I was driving and looking over to look for oncoming traffic (I was at a standstill) and got hit from behind while in that position. My neck was sore, and I did some physical therapy, but didn’t think anything more than that…it was over 10 years ago. My chiropractor told mle it would get worse over time, and I wonder if that’ s part of my deal??
The other day after work (as a hairstylist) my neck was really stiff and sore, and my husband was rubbing it for me…I started getting waves of anxiety…which is really strange since it felt good and there was nothing to be anxious about…but like it was a trigger that started working on some of my MAV stuff…
so confusing!!


Ya, its a tension feeling and I get major anxiety with it. I never wanted to relate it to the accident though, because you kind of think what are the chances if my neck wasn’t really in bad shape when it happened? I mean, I even declined the physio therapy because I literally thought nothing was wrong with me. Then about six months later this tension, which was released under extreme pressure in life and at work and then rocking, off balance feeling. I know 100% its not inner ear related because I did ever test with the ENT to rule out ears. Even now, I as type this message, extreme tension in the back of my neck.

I spoke to my mom yesterday about it possibly be relating to my neck and she mentioned to me that when i was a baby I had severely weak neck muscles, which caused my neck to tilt at a 45 degree angle. Doctor told her it was pinched nerves in my neck. The anxiety for me, follows the off balance feeling because I am scared of what will happen, will I fall?, pass out?, have a deadly life-threatening disease?..for me, all these things go through my mind. Often times, I feel like it HAS to be psychogenic and its all in my mind, but that kind of thinking does not make it go away - unfortunately. See, I do get headaches alot and migraines, but as Greg put it, that could all be neck related. I also get a general floaty feeling and feeling as if I am not on the ground. The feeling of my neck though also radiats to my forehead and very light and subtle electrical zaps in sync with my heartbeat.