MAV on one side only?

Is it possible to have MAV on one side only. I don’t get the headaches, but my dizziness and any balance problems seem to be on the right side only. For example about 5 weeks ago I felt I was being pulled to the right all the time. That lasted about 4 days. I know migraine is a vascular issue. So I was just wondering if my vascular issues (migraine) are around the right inner ear area. The right ear is more sensative to sound than the left ear. When I turn my head to the right, the motion sensativity is worse on the right. I do get the constant imbalance. But I just feel like I’m on boat or something. That’s not exactly right sided though. But I suppose if my right inner ear is being migrained so to say, that may be where the imbalance is stemming from?? Dr.'s are pretty sure I have MAV and not meniere’s, cause I have no hearing loss and have not had spinning vertigo, plus a billion balance tests that they had me do (which I passed) and hearing tests (which I also passed). I do get tinnitus in both ear’s at times (which I believe migraine can cause that as well). Of course the tinnitus is usually more in the right ear. But I do get it in the left ear too, just not as much. I’m going to see a neurologist at U of M on January 26. I did a little backround check on him, and found out he studied under the supervision of Dr. Robert Balou. So I’m guessing he’s gonna want to put me on Celexa.

Hi Greg,

Yes, it is absolutely possible to experience migraine symptoms on one side of the body. Interestingly, the etymology of the word migraine means ‘half head’ as some of the early descriptions were of crippling headaches on only one side of the head. I get the scintillating scotoma (aura) ONLY from my right eye. All my other symptoms occur symmetrically. I wouldn’t get too caught up with where the imbalance is hitting - if it’s migraine it’s not ‘in’ the ear, it’s from the brain.

Anyway, good luck with the neurologist and your healthy lifestyle approach. Will be awesome if you can get things under control that way and you’ll also be super healthy!


I have exactly the same problem with my right ear. I could not walk straight - I kept getting pulled to the right. This was so strong that I actually injured my right foot and it was badly swollen all last summer. I could not walk down the middle of a sidewalk as I kept veering off to the right and ending up on the grass. One would think that I was drunk the way I was walking. I had pain and tinnitus in the right ear and I was extremely sensitive to noise on that side. Caloric testing revealed that I have 30% damage to my right vestibular nerve, likely stemming from a viral infection (which I have had in the past). This was contributing to my tendency to fall to the right. Fortunately with time this problem is finally subsiding


Your experience is really interesting (in a horrible way for you). I get the same effect - I call it The Shopping Trolley Effect - with migraine. I can feel like I’m a being pulled to one side (for me usually the left) in the same way that a shopping trolley does. Sometimes the sensation is wholly within me other times I’ll actually have a little lurch or stumble. Mine is from migraine alone though. Very happy to hear yours is subsiding.


My right ear has always felt a little funny since this all started. And I must say that when this started, I had a cold. Is it possible my problem is more ear related? Can you explain to me what the caloric test consists of. I thought I had all the tests, but maybe not. Although when I took the tests, I wasn’t exactly having a bad dizzy day.

Hi everone,
on top of being pullled to the side the worst sensation of all was feeling like I was being pulled downwards into the earth. I couldn’ t stand and talk to people for more than a few minutes before I felt like I was being pulled towards the ground with tremendous force.

The caloric testing is usually a part of of ENG testing. It involves irrigating the ear with cold or warm water and the eye movements are recorded. It is used to diagnose asymmetric function between the two ears. This test can provoke great dizziness in people. As my right side is damaged, I did not have a strong reaction to the caloric testing and I only felt minimally dizzy. When my left ear (which is normal) was irrigated I felt considerably more dizzy. I have had two bouts of vetstibular nueronitis in the right ear which lead to the damage, which unfortunately started this whole MAV mess


yes i also had that test. it did come out normal. have you ever had the spinning vertigo before? I also get the feeling I’m being pulled toward the earth. Especially when I jump up in the air. Those feelings come and go for me though. I’ve only had the pulling to the right once for about 3 or 4 days. But i am constantly off balance.


Since having this MAV Condition my right side of head is always the more noticeable side…which there is more tension and motion. Most of the times when waking up with vertigo i’m laying on my right side. So yes…i personally believe it can be more One sided.


I always felt pulled to the right side when off balance too. On caloric tests, it showed as 54% parasis in the left ear, not quite sure what that means. I could never lay on my left side and over time couldnt fall asleep on my right side either, as turning onto my back can then trigger vertigo. I nearly always woke at 4 in the morning with the spinning vertigo. I got a severe vertigo attack when they did the ECOG test in my ear, but I had been feeling horribly dizzy for weeks. The last diagnosises I received were inner ear lesion and vestibular migraine.

I kept notes for years and could clearly see, that the severe vertigo attacks came the day before or day after a bad migraine.


Hi, just thought I would mention that as well as having migraine symptoms only on one side, there is also a possibility of having another condition, such as BPPV at the same time as MAV. I have both conditions, and my BPPV is definitely right-sided. My consultant said that people with MAV appear to have a higher incidence of BPPV compared to the general population, although it’s not really understood why.

I guess I am fortunate in that I have never experienced spinning veritigo. My current symptoms are morning lightheadedness (what I would give for that to go away) and visual vertigo in busy/complex environments. I never rest on my side at night - I sleep upright. I just don’t want to provoke anything


Wow, I see your symptoms started the exact same time as mine, in May 2010. I was diagnosed with MAV in october 2010. I thought all summer long that I had VN, but was told by an ENT that I did not because I never had spinning vertigo. I was told that in October when I was diagnosed with MAV in the ER. But when I was believing I had Vestibular Neuritis after researching dizzy problems on the internet, I thought that my symptoms of imbalance and motion sensitivity were from having the VN. Also when all of this started in may, I had gotten a cold. Another reason I thought is was VN. Plus no hearing loss. Just strange sensation in the right ear?? I read that with VN it can take several months to totally clear up. But the virus would only be present for the first few weeks. I did read about MAV back then too. But I read that MAV is more common with people who have a history of migraine headache and motion sickness were more likely to have MAV. Which I have no history of either one. So I ruled MAV out in my own mind.

When July came around I felt much better with the dizziness and thought that the VN was starting to subside. Sometimes I wonder if the anxiety that this dizziness causes makes the dizziness stick around. Cause when I self-diagnosed myself with VN, I knew in my mind that I’d only be this way for several months or a year and it would go away. So I saw myself actually getting better by just waiting around. But in September I sprained my ankle and was sitting around for about a month, then I noticed the dizziness started coming back. So I went to an otologist and he told me I had MAV. He prescribed me something called Midrin. Well within hours of this medication, I got real bad with imbalance and motion sensitivity I ended up going to the ER at U of M hospital in Michigan. They also told me it was MAV. Well now that I know I have MAV and not VN, I don’t seem to get better at all now. Just stay the same. I guess just knowing that MAV doesn’t go away, that makes me depressed and almost have a give up attitude. Rather than thinking I had VN, and knowing in my mind that that does go away actually made me less dizzy as the time was going by… sorry for the long post.

I have seen improvement but it has been really slow. I feel a lot better than I did in September - that was a real low point for me. I had to go to ER twice because I felt so terrible. In October I began taking Clonazepam which has helped more than anything, as well as Nortriptyline which I am still debating the usefulness of (the side effect of lighheadedness is really annoying). Following the migraine diet has also helped. I still wonder how much of my dizziness is due to my damaged vestibular nerve. My neurotologist said that the amount of damage was within the range that the brain would eventually compensate for. This whole experience has been very tiring and frustrating

Yes, very tiring and frustrating indeed. I’m just gonna keep on trying though. The most frustrating part is the people around me in my daily life kind of forget about my MAV problems and assume that just cause I don’t look any different than everything must be just fine with me. But everything I do is a bit of a struggle. Like cleaning the house, taking care of my 3 year old and just daily things that used to be so automatic and easy for me. Work is especially frustrating cause I work in retail and having to run around my store and help customers and set up displays are a disaster for me. Everything sucks sometimes… But since I’ve been jogging the last 2 weeks, I’ve been able to cope with it much more easily. Plus my mood is much better. I have more energy. But the dizzy’s remain.