Exploring Symptoms and Treatments for Driving with Vertigo

Humans use a combination of ways to maintain their balance. It seems obvious that we use our vision, our muscles and our joints to remain balanced. One important way is less obvious, the workings of the inner ear. A disruption of your ear’s function in this regard can lead to vertigo.

Symptoms of Vertigo

There are many symptoms of vertigo that a person may feel. They include many of the following:

  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Unexpected Sweating
  • Hearing Loss
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Unexpected Eye Movements

Main causes of vertigo

Vertigo is a sensation of feeling dizzy or off-balance. It can be caused in a number of ways, but three are most common.

  • Calcium buildup: BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is when calcium accumulates in the inner ear, throwing off the signals the ear sends to the brain regarding balance.
  • Disease: Meniere’s is a disease caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear.
  • Infection: Inflammation of the inner ear, usually caused by a virus that affects our balance.

Other less common causes of vertigo are injuries, strokes, migraine headaches and medications.

Three canals inside our ear are lined with small hairs that send messages to our brains regarding our positioning. If that process is upset, we are left feeling off balance, pulled in one direction or dizzy.

Driving With Vertigo

Most people with vertigo do not have to stop driving altogether. There are common-sense precautions to take, the main one being to not drive when suffering an attack. Most vertigo sufferers can still maintain control of their vehicle. If you feel you cannot, you definitely should not be driving.

Those whose vertigo is caused by disease may experience symptoms more frequently, making driving more hazardous. In that case, you should check with your doctor to see what kind of driving limitations you should adhere to. That might mean only driving for a maximum of a few hours per day or it could mean no driving at all.

Vertigo can be more common at night, so vertigo sufferers should restrict nighttime driving.

Tips to Help Minimize Attacks

Vertigo is often caused by sudden movements, such as rolling over in bed or getting out of bed, turning to look over your shoulder and bending over at the waist.

Since sudden movements can bring on vertigo, some people believe movement is to be discouraged. This isn’t true. Some sports are still available for vertigo sufferers, specifically low-impact activities like walking or swimming.

A common treatment for vertigo involves specific movements during physical therapy. Generally, rehabilitation exercises are designed to teach your central nervous system to retain balance. There are specific exercises for specific causes of vertigo. For sufferers of BPPV, an exercise called the Epley Maneuver may dislodge the calcium buildup from your inner ear canal.

Rehab might consists of movements like focusing on a specific spot while moving your head slowly from side to side. Once you have mastered these exercises, you can do them at home.

If your vertigo is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics may help. A diet low in salt may also help in that case.

Quitting smoking is not just good for your health, it can also help with vertigo, as smoking can interfere with effectiveness of your treatments.

Other alternative treatment methods include supplements, acupuncture and an alternative treatment called craniosacral therapy. Craniosacral therapy is an osteopathic hands-on treatment. While sometimes unproven scientifically, these alternate methods may provide some relief.

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented on healthnfitness.net are for general informational purposes only, the writer may not necessarily have medical or scientific training. This information is not reviewed by a physician. Some of these articles may contain information about treatments or the use of a pharmaceutical product that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. healthnfitness.net does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment. Results on any service or treatment may vary from person-to-person.

This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. healthnfitness.net provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.