My name is Moe
My dizziness improves drastically when riding in a car
I am wondering if this is the case for others
My doctor says I most likely have MAV
I do have occasional migraines with aura but they don’t bother me much as the constant dizziness
I appreciate your feedback
Hi Moe, driving a car is the only time that when I feel normal, as soon as the car stops (when I’m parked or at a red light or stop sign) I feel the dizziness, I think there’s some other members here that improve while driving as well
I do well driving also and just like Diana, when I stop is where it got bad for me. I’ve improved 90% but prior to treatment, I would have to sit in the car for sometimes 15 minutes or more just for my equilibrium to settle before I could get out and stand.
My dizziness has always improved drastically in the car as well. Was even thinking to drive Uber for a while for work, but decided it might hamper recovery. Anyways, yes, what you are experiencing is normal for many of us on here.
I’m actually doing Uber 3 days a week only a few hours tho …makes me feel less handicapped
Yes, driving was my escape for a long time. Cycling had a similar effect. My imbalance disappeared (until I got out/off )
Exactly the same @Diana21 I avoid stopping at all costs usually!!
If I am a passenger though heavy breaking causes head pressure
Why some people feel better driving is a question to which I’d love To receive a satisfactory answer. It does seem odd. Personally, like many migraineurs, I can get terribly motion sick. When acute I wouldn’t get in a car driver or passenger and anytime (pre Propranolol) anybody would only out me in the backseat at their peril, and accompanied by a large bucket! Sometimes just a bit of reversing would do it too. So I’m amazed some people don’t feel dizzy driving.
All I can come up with for an answer is ‘Distraction’ possibly. So busy concentrating, dizziness is forgotten. I‘ve read if dizziness improves with distraction it’s PPPD not MAV. Not sure I believe that. But that’s what’s said. The other theory would be ‘Habituation’. I have only ever travelled successfully by habituation. I was always coach sick but 6 years of travelling to senior school by coach, always on an empty stomach habituated me to it so well I forgot all about it until I years later embarked on a day trip to London (100+ miles). I successfully completed the first six! Same with a car. Every Summer I would have to relearn longer distances than my daily commute to work and/or take meds. It’s habituation that means The Queen still rides in her nineties and how people with MAV can still balance on a bike/motorcycle.
All the effects kicking in when the vehicle stops are all indications the balance system has been pushed too far. Since chronic MAV one longer than usual car journey knocked my balance out for 48 hours completely. I remember one of my first ‘queer, what’s happening here’ moments as MAV morphed from episodic into chronic was feeling I was still travelling forwards after the car had stopped, and ditto with my own body when walking. I well remember my doctor’s er - reassuring? - words, “that’s something wrong with your balance. Nothing we dan do about that”. At that point I never linked it with my 72 hour self contained vertigo attacks and obviously neither did he! Oh Happy Days. Helen
My first ent said it wasn’t uncommon to feel better while driving/in a car with vestibular disorders, her theory is that the swaying/rocking sensations “blends in” with the car movement but this the same dr that thought I had a variation of Ménière only because my mom has it even though I don’t have hearing loss and/or true vertigo attacks
Hi Moe, So nice to see this question written by someone else and all the ‘Yes’ responses because I had been noticing this in myself for YEARS but have had noone to talk about it with. I would start to feel disorientated and dizzy such that I’d have to leave some event or other and the first thing people would usually say is “Are you okay to drive?” and I’d be simultaneously thinking “let me just get in the car as quickly as possible and I know I’ll feel better!”
This is a working theory of mine about it. When you’re belted up in the car seat and off on the open road your brain ‘knows’ that it doesn’t have to work so hard at figuring out where you are in space. It can relax in that respect. You are not required to stand upright, to walk or bend or twist or duck or negotiate your way around things. All the work your brain has been doing sorting out conflicting proprioceptive stimuli while you’re walking about and dizzy, can stop (similar to when we take to our beds). The vestibular system calms down. Your eyes are still working of course but they are staring straight ahead at things fairly far away in a wide field of vision so visual vertigo gets calmed too.
PS: I should add that I am NOT talking about full blown spinning vertigo attacks here. I certainly wouldn’t want to be and should not be driving a car then! I haven’t had one of those for a few years now but when I was getting them I had about 10-15 mins from getting the first signs and in that time I had to get to a bed and bathroom as fast as possible. I recognise those kinds of attacks and their early signs all too well.
Interesting to read your working theory. I do wonder whether when driving one would be using a much reduced amount of peripheral vision and, as that is processed differently, that might account for some part of this phenomenon. Just sitting down (posterior’s and body contact with the seat etc) should give added stability to balance system but then taking feet off terra firma should technically produce the opposite effect. All a bit of a mystery. Wouldn’t it be great to find the answer!
I know since being on here some people feel better travelling in a car. It surprised me but for some it’s obviously true. Some balance better running. Some feel more dizzy sitting down yet better walking. Everybody seems so different. One wonders why. I can well understand some people could feel better driving because of the Distraction element but it’s more surprising with travelling as a passenger. It does make me wonder if there’s a link between this and motion sensitivity. Are the people who feel relief driving or travelling by car people who don’t ever experience Motion Sensitivity would be my question. Apparently the vast majority of migraineurs suffer lifelong motion sickness. Helen
That’s a good point about the peripheral vision Helen. I read on a few medical websites that looking out to the horizon through a window can help when you’re feeling dizzy. Amongst other things this would mean that you would not be using your peripheral vision. I have tried this and it’s not bad but walking or car is better.
Yes, there are so many individual differences as I’ve discovered reading all the posts on this website. And yes, it certainly would be great to find the answers. Not having many answers to a condition that seriously affects my life drives me berserk I did suffer car sickness as a child and was badly airsick in a small plane as an adult but on the whole I’d say motion sickness is no longer a big problem for me. Which supports your idea that therefore taking my feet off terra firma doesn’t bother me. I ride my bike also without any particular balance problem. Re motion sensitivity though …one intriguing thing that has happened to me with this illness is that if I stand near a lift (elevator) waiting for it to arrive (and it might be many floors away) my body senses its movement! I feel miniscule nano-vibrations in the floor through my feet… my head doesn’t like it… I get that weird swing of dizziness and disorientation and then I know the lift will soon arrive. I have a Super Power! haha I even Googled this once Why does standing in front of an elevator give me vertigo? - weird sensation feeling | Ask MetaFilter And no, I am not at all anxious about lifts or being stuck in one or it free-falling etc etc I never used to feel elevators arriving before this illness.
From my own personal experience I’d want to quantify that by including the words ‘As much’. We are always using our peripheral vision to some extent. I’ve proved that myself when I found it impossible to balance with it blocked off (due to photophobia).
I was told by a psychologist to concentrate on the horizon out walking as it may help with balance. Perhaps for some the concentrating on a single point which is what a driver is doing has the same effect.
When it comes to ‘answers’ I’m sure all these things are just individual examples of the result of the enhanced sensory amplification that is MAV.
Yet another one. The brain sometimes gets over reliant on the feet for info and they get very hypersensitive. I’ve had similar experiences with tiny vibrations. I’ve found changing shoes, even one flat pair for another, can make you dizzy. I cannot wear memory foam shoes, I feel I’m bouncing on a trampet. I avoid sitting on tubular chairs, they vibrate minisculy. We have a very long boundary wall and vehicles hit it quite often. I always feel the impact through the floor first. The wall’s not close in front of the house, it’s some way away the other side of a garden and a hedge. On a dark windy winter’s night I say to Him Indoors, ‘Somebody’s just hit our wall, again’, and every time he says ‘I didn’t hear anything’ and I say ‘Me neither. I just felt it hit’ Don’t know about ‘Super Power’ but it does come in handy sometimes. As your balance doesn’t seem to object to your feet being off terra firma and you will better travelling by car, it’s surprising really we share this one sensitivity to the same degree. MAV really does defy explanation a lot of the time. Helen
Loved your dark, windy winter’s night story! Our MAVerick super powers :))
“The brain sometimes gets over reliant on the feet for info and they get very hypersensitive”. Now that’s something I didn’t know … food for thought. Yes, standing on memory foam … ugh!
@Onandon03 and @DizzyDame, I have the same superpowers! We moved into our new house almost a year ago and it has all hardwoood flooring which I was so happy about since the carpet “sponge” feeling under my feet was troubling. However, now I can be standing in the living room and “feel” the toilet flush from across the house!
My Dr mentioned that going across long suspension bridges “focus on the furthest distance, not the suspension cables”. He also looked at my husband at that point and said “don’t be surprised if she want to drive everywhere, it’s just that the Migraine Brain can process information it knows is happening. When migraineurs are passengers, they cannot process the information as well since they can’t predict the next movement”. My husband of course laughed since I am always wanting to do the driving, then he asked if I wanted to drive home after the appt
Nor me. Well, not until my feet told me.
At VRT sessions? Yep, that was what did it for me, I’m convinced. The therapist was so keen on the feet pounding on this n that type of surface and marching. Lots of marching, on the spot, up and down with (far too many) alternate head turns. I very nearly got to the point where I’d stick my head under the bed clothes first thing and ask my feet if they were ready to get up yet! Not wishing to take them by surprise, and thus fall over, you understand. Still all that’s virtually gone now. Last time I remembered it was when a friend who had labs years ago and still suffer fallout phoned to ask me to explain why she’d got so dizzy standing on duck boards (very wet conditions underfoot due to other beautiful English Summer) in a Craft Fare Marquee! Helen
We MAV-ers would probably make great earthquake predictors. Or tsunamis or mudslides or mine collapses and any other subterranean rumblings And no need for guard dogs or house alarms at our places - we can detect an alien footfall before the intruder has even got through the front gate!
@DizzyDame in my case I haven’t developed that sense yet …I went to visit my country back in March (when this was starting to become a chronic thing) and there was an earthquake, all I said was “woahhh my dizziness is really bad today” when I felt the floor going in waves, next thing I know everybody is screaming and yelling to get out of the house