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Relapse after a Massage

I have been doing great the last six months with the strict migraine diet plus going slow starting the B2 and magnesium supplements. My husband make reservations for a weekend away and we just got back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t restful at all. It started with the ride to Maine. My husband picked up his new car and off we drove to Maine. The car had that very strong “new car smell” and it was starting to make me sick with a headache and lightheaded feeling. When we got to the hotel we had massages scheduled. I told the masseuse not to massage my head or neck because I am so sensitive and it could trigger a migraine. I was still feeling a little woozy when I was on the table from the car smell but I tried to relax with deep breathing. I was lying supine for about 15 minutes during the massage and she told me to roll over onto my stomach so she could get to my back. As soon as I rolled on my stomach the whole room starting to spin. I quickly turned onto my back and it started to subside. I couldn’t believe I had a vertigo attack on the massage table since It’s suppose to be relaxing! I think between the new car smell and the flickering lights in the massage room along with scented oils might have triggered the attack. It was so depressing and discouraging. I didn’t feel good the whole weekend after that episode. Has anybody else had a problem with massages triggering MAV symptoms or any thoughts on why that happened.

Oh dear. You poor thing. Stay away from massage!!

I’d wager.that’s down to a combination of physical position and physical pressure both increasing head pressure.

Physical head pressure is enemy number one. I used to not be able to bend down, though thankfully that’s eased a lot.

My favourite sister-in-law is trained in massage and says they have to be so very careful and really know what they are doing with balance conditions particularly with relation to the spinal cord. She offered but I’ve always refused. Not difficult as I’ve never fancied massage anyway. I was told by my Mum’s GP to avoid chiropractors like The Plague or anybody doing manipulation. That said, from my own experience of MAV, I’d say your relapse came about because you exposed yourself to too many triggers over a short period of time. Smells - new car and scented oils - on their own would get me. Add in extended car journey - feet off terra firma - then a massage, and, being in a hotel, a different bed (in terms of firmness), deep pile carpets, different lights. Inadvertently you seem to have thrown the whole book at it. I’d have been surprised if that lot cumulatively hadn’t caused a relapse. Your MAV obviously needs a higher tolerance threshold before it can cope with such an onslaught. Trouble is with MAV though you never know you’ve overdone it until it’s too late. That’s the frustrating part. Hope your recovery isn’t too prolonged. Helen

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Now I realize what happened after both of your replies. I was feeling good and thought I could tolerate
all the MAV triggers. How foolish was that. Im trying to fit in and not to be a wimp when I am out with friends and family so I go along with the things that I know are going to trigger my symptoms. I started to feel good and went off my diet, stopped wearing my theraspec glasses, exposed myself to chemical smells again, etc. Thank you for helping me realize that I was exposing myself to a boat load of triggers. Never thought about the physical pressure and position thing as a trigger. Massage has never made me feel relaxed ,in fact, I feel worse after they dig into my muscles. I’ll let my husband have the massages and I will wait and read a book or something. I was starting to have a panic attack over the weekend because I was feeling so weird. I am going to baby myself and get back on track again. I just love this support group! Thanks again.


Never thought about it this way before but living with MAV is a bit like crossing the road, before you take your life in your hands, you do really need to ‘Stop, Look and Listen’. Helen

Im putting a sticky note everywhere with STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN. Perfect reminder to stay on track.


Haha, me too @rosjane shame because I love a massage but totally get what your saying! I went to Windermere a few months ago and had a massage at a boutique hotel - indian head massage ( thought it would release tension) I felt away with the fairies whilst having it done… was afterwards when we left and went in thr hot tub, I was so sleepy and disoriented probably the heat from the hot tub, the chemical chlorine all the wax she poured on my head (scented) it sounds terrible but I dont want to be thr girl that needs special treatment. I just want to be normal and do what everyone else does :triumph:

I know. I can’t even get a facials anymore. The lights in the cosmetic clinics and doctors offices are so bright for me now that it triggers the eye flickering and dizziness. I just went for a beta facial peel and when she was finished I got up slow and sat at the edge of the table for a few seconds before getting off. I then went to bend down to get my purse because it was on the floor and when I got up I was dizzy and had to hold on for several seconds before I felt normal. The brights lights along with head motion are a severe trigger for me now where they were never before. I have to keep my Therapec shades with me at all times now and just put them on wherever there are bright lights to see if that will help. This is making me so nervous.

Oh no! Thats awful, I know that exact feeling. I have HD brows and the table she uses is so flat I dread the feeling when I have to get up as I know it will set my dizziness off :face_vomiting:
How have you managed today? Any better?
Because im having a flare in symptoms ive been on and off but too much head movement has caused me some motion sickness and fluid feeling asif its going from one ear to the other :face_with_raised_eyebrow: