Surviving the common cold

In what ways should I expect a simple cold to make Mav worse?? I was feeling ok for a week( by no means normal) and then a cold comes and knocks me back, it almost suggests inner ear to me versus Mav?! It’s things like this that keep a diagnosis in my mind impossible. Another thing that confuses me is I read a lot on these boards about “episodes”, but I can’t say that’s the case with me, I woke up this way in feb 2011 and its possibly gradually improved (or I’ve become accustomed to it). There’s certainly situations I’m incomfortable such as restaurants but that may have some to do with my anxiety about my imbalance as well, idk, still confused??

I have rocking unbalanced feelings 24/7. This started for me in February 2006. I have not felt normal for a minute since this struck. There are things that make it worse for me…lack of sleep, sinus infection, restaurants, stress, confusing scenes, cans at the grocery…on and on. I was told at Mayo that it is not uncommon for symptoms to be constant. I read about people having episodes also. Maybe it does come and go for some, but maybe an episode is extra crappy compared to baseline crappy?


Omg, you haven’t gotten better at all? That is very discouraging, have you tried anything? I had hope of feeling normal again, but maybe I won’t?!

I spent several years being misdiagnosed which led to medications that were not helpful and I had a couple bad reactions to the medication. That in turn led to a fear of medication. In the doctors’ defense, I also had another issue going on so things were a little confusing. I have been labeled “a complicated case”. I now have a prescription for Nortriptyline and have been trying get the guts to try it. I am my own worst enemy. I am feeling a little better about it after being on this forum and seeing that it has helped some people. I think I just feel so crappy, that I am terrified of feeling anymore crappy or a weird crappy as opposed the known crappy. If that makes any sense. Please don’t let me discourage you because I feel more encouraged then I have in a long time after being on this site and seeing that people can get back into life. It may never be 100%, but I sure would be happy with even 50%.

I’ve been considering medication too, but like you have a lot of anxiety about the possibility of feeling worse! Although I’m not sure I could handle 5 yrs either…what else were you misdiagnosed with? Wow 50% you’d be happy with? I feel I’m about 60-65% now, well before this cold anyway, which brought me back to about 50% grr. I’d be happy with 95-100 %

I was told anxiety, inner ear disorder, Probable MS, ataxia, and cerebellar degeneration. I can hardly type it without freaking out. Even with those diagnosis’ there were some symptoms that were unexplained. After reading peoples stories and hearing their struggles this seems to fit. Between that and Mayo saying it I am finally convinced. I know 5 years is a long time, but so much of that was looking for a diagnosis. It has worn me out though. Now I have to do something about it. I wish I could find a way to kick the medication phobia. I think the only way, is to take it.

I know MAV is very difficult to diagnose as basically you either have to eliminate everything else that could be wrong(inner ear etc.) or try medicine and if something works, by even improving you a little, then its more than likely MAV. I never had any tests done to rule out inner ear disorders etc, but I do have a history of headaches and family history of migraines(my grandmother on my fathers side got them very bad) and my son who is 10 has almost daily headaches. I also have ear symptoms (which is common with MAV) My left one gets stuffy, feels full sometimes, but when Im on medication the ears symptoms go away, or are barely noticeable. You basically have to get over your medication phobia if you want to try and get better. I know its scary, I was like that in the beginning. Just know that if its absolutely unbearable you can always stop and try something else. For example, I couldnt handle Topamax at all, so I switched to Nortriptyline, which did help me improve slightly, but I ended up getting worse(probably not the medication but the MAV and Nori was just not helping it) so I am now on Depakote and (knock on wood) have had much more success with this, although I say I function at about %75 most days. I havent even been on it a month. Basically I was in denial about MAV also, its so strange to think a migraine can cause this, but after having medicines work, I know thats what it is.
Back to the original question, I have had this since June and have not had a cold yet, but I take plenty of vitamins to keep my immune system up, and Im getting the flu shot this year. I would say that you might feel worse with a cold but once its over you return to your normal baseline.

Hi Kat - I too have had a severe med phobia but am not on Day 6 of the Verapamil. I know everyone is different but for what is is worth I have had NO side effects whatsoever and think they probably would have already kicked in by now… don’t know that it is working yet but it does at least give me hope that I can take a drug and start trying to get this licked. My blood pressure has come down so I know its having some impact…

I did also take a few xanax and also no ill effects. I literally had to FORCE myself to take that xanax but was in the throws of such a bad panic attack I finally realized that I probably couldn’t feel worse…

In any event, I know how hard it is to get over that phobia so just wanted to share those thoughts… what helped was to not be alone right after I took the drug.

Good luck - have you tried any meds yet??


Hi Alli,
Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate any advice you can give me. I have tried several medications in the past and after a scary reaction to one I have been too terrified to try anything else. I thought I had a rx for Nortriptyline but I can’t seem find it. I just called the doctor and asked them to call a new one in. I will probably get it tomorrow and I hope to feel brave enough to take it after I pick it up.
I am glad you are doing so well on the Verapamil. Is it helping your MAV symtoms?


— Begin quote from “Pharmgirl”

In what ways should I expect a simple cold to make Mav worse??

— End quote

Hi Pharmgirl,

You should definitely expect a cold to make things worse – for a short time. Colds affect me less now than they did years ago but they still do depending on the severity. The fallout does not usually strike until after the cold peaks for me – about one day after. The relentless nose blowing probably doesn’t help either but I think overall, the cold is an assault on your body which upsets your diva migraine brain. Migraine brains like everything to stay the same every single day – a cold virus is just the thing to make everything go south for a few days. You should be cool in a week.

Scott 8)

Gawd, I always feel like the odd one out when people talk about having med phobia. I’m the complete opposite, jumping for joy - ‘There’s a med for this? Awesome!’.

As for colds - yes - can definitely make MAV worse, particularly a head cold. Just makes the dizziness worse.

Send some of that adventurous spirit this way!!


— Begin quote from “Victoria”

Gawd, I always feel like the odd one out when people talk about having med phobia. I’m the complete opposite, jumping for joy - ‘There’s a med for this? Awesome!’.

— End quote

you and me both - I’m all for better living through chemistry :lol: