Is severe motion intolerance a MAV symptom?

Hey gang,

I know it states that severe motion intolerance is related to MAV and I wanted to find out how many of you have it and if you do have it, are you able to drive at all. I still can’t wrap my head around why I can’t drive. I’m wondering if this is because I have MAV or it’s what caused MAV or if it’s just a separate problem. The more I learn about MAV, the more it makes sense that it’s MAV causing it as the vestibular nuclei might be damaged because of the migraines and therefore the signals being sent to brain about movement are all messed up. Or maybe it’s the opposite.

My next question is: Are the drugs we take for MAV going to work on the motion sensitivity? Or do we have to treat it differently? Have any of you that couldn’t drive, able to drive now.

I never ever had motion problems. I grew up around boats, fly all the time, never got car sick etc. I’m really concerned about this because right now I’m on medical leave from work but really need to get back to work but have a pretty long drive. Right now I wouldn’t consider driving that far.

Anyway, is there anyone else here that has this problem. I hate it. I’m so isolated.



Sorry about any spelling and grammatical errors. I type on my iPad and I type too fast. I meant to preface my post with that statement. I’ll blame it all on MAV. Haha.

Hi Mary,

I have the same problem and I have never had the problem before this. I was always able to ride in boats, travel by plane and never did get car sick.

This all started for me in August and I haven’t been able to drive since. I really miss being able to drive and feel very isolated also. I stay at home most days now while my husband is at work.

I have been on numerous meds and none of them have helped me with the visual vertigo/motion problem when I am in the car as a driver or passenger. It’s very frustrating for me also. My life has completely changed and I often feel lonely because I can’t go anywhere during the day unless someone takes me. I also feel bad for my husband because he has to take me to go do all of our errands that I used to do during the day when he was at work.

I have an appt. next week with another neurologist, but think he probably won’t be able to help me either.

It sounds like we are in a very similar situation. I’m here to talk if you need to.


Hi All,

I did have pretty severe car sickness as a kid. When I started riding in the front seat/ driving, it’s seemed to wane. I flew a lot, and it never seems to bother me. However, MAV has changed it all. During the past few years I had short bouts with dizziness in my truck, not while I was actually driving, but when the motion stopped. When MAV hit full time last September, the motion intolerance definitely worsened. I am still able to drive, but when I stop at red lights, stop signs, etc. I get a feeling of dizziness. Once when I was at the drive thru at my bank I felt like I was going to pass out. I think the combo of the car stopping the motion and me turning my head back and forth several times sent my brain for a whirl. I haven’t had another bad episode like that, but have been fearful of long car trips. I have been on a low dose of nortriptyline for several months and it seems to give me some relief.

Last week I drove my son on an 800 mile round trip vacation. Progress! When we reached our destination, I had no problems, but when I drove home I got dizziness that night. I have an appointment May 3 with a neuro opthamologist to discuss my issues with eye movement and motion. If I get an insight, I will report back.
I understand your frustration with this symptom. Having simple things we take for granted: driving, going to stores, eating whatever we want to, etc., taken away is devastating. hopefully, the right comb of meds will give us all some relief.


Late last year I developed motion sickness problems with MAV… Any drive over an hour I would instantly start feeling so lightheaded/dizzy/nauseous in the car. I attributed it to MAV. It was especially bad when driving in the dark. At the time I was on propranolol which didn’t do anything for the motion sickness [or dizziness], but now I am on celexa and it has knock on wood gotten rid of the motion sickness thus far

Hi Mary, I have had many bouts of motion interolance during the last couple decades.(usually they last for several months) Right now I am going through my worst ever. Since Nov 2011. 3 Vertigo attacks in the car in one month and then the motion interolance became unbearable. It improved a little with some meds but then I had to make a several hour trip and that day had a severe vertigo attack in the car as a passenger now I am back to unbearable even with meds. I have a 2.5 mile commute so I can make it to work but not easily, some days the meds seem to work better than other days. My problem is that I feel just as bad as a passenger so going to doc after doc is just not an option. I have done that for years anyway. I guess I don’t have any words of wisdom. I do understand how you feel isolated not being able to be in a car. My friends and family talk about going here going there and I just say (to myself) that I will just stay home as much as possible. It is like riding a roller coaster being in a car for me.

I have always gotten car sick- even as a kid. Flying as a kid, always kept the throw up bag close!

When my “dizzy spells” started out as a child, I’d always ask my mom to drive me around in the car. For some reason, it kind of helped me feel better.

I’ve only had 3 MAV (true vertigo) attacks driving. I just know not to swerve and I can slowly pull over, thankfully when I’m moving, I feel best and they seem to straighten out.

I’m so sorry you cannot drive. Just throwing it out there- but maybe you could live somewhere closer to an area you could get out and walk to shops, etc.? That’s what I’d do, I’d feel more free!

Thanks for all your kind words and comments. It gives me hope that maybe I’ll be able to drive long distances in my near future. I actually went on a 6 hour road trip a few days ago and didn’t drive but did pretty good. I guess my drugs are doing their job. But I know I’m not near being able to drive myself too far because just turning my head or looking down gets me crazy dizzy.

I hope those of us who can’t drive, get inspiration from those that suffered that as well, but can now drive like Suki530. I’m so happy the celexa is working. Do you take any other drugs?



Hi Mary,

I am also one of these unlucky souls who never overcame Motion Sickness and now that i have this dizzy migraine and or Mal de debarquement like syndrome i’m more motion sensitive than ever. As a kid i had to stay away from amusement park rides that go in circles, fishing boats and cuvey rides in the mountains. I got sick a number of times as a young boy and teenager driving from San Jose, CA. to Yosemite. As an adult I stay away from curvey road mountains but if for some reason i have to go travel thru them i am the one that is behind the wheel. What is so disappointing is that i would love to go on a Cruise but it’s never going to happen in my life time.

Wish you the best,


Motion intolerance is very common in MAV. If you treat the MAV successfully, the motion intolerance will retreat. I would not suspect any real damage at this point, its too soon to be making judgements like that. Lets assume the most simple explanation first, as it is most likely the truth.

I kind of got the impression that motion intolerance more typical of BPPV than MAV.

The way I, probably imperfectly, understand it is that the vertigo experienced in MAV is due to the balance function in the brain not working properly (on account of a migrainous brain storm).

Anyone, please correct me if I’m wrong as I’m always keen to improve my understanding. :roll:

Hi Wexan,

I have been tested for Bppv several times and it always comes up clear. It appears many people with MAV can’t drive (me being one of them). I am so discouraged as even with drugs, the driving has only slightly but not enough to drive more than a few miles and even that is scary torture!! This is what kept me on a medical leave for 6 months now and it’s sooo frustrating. :twisted:

Next time I see my dr I will have to ask unless anyone knows anything about this.

Thanks everyone.