Can Long Road Trips Cause Vertigo?

road trips, what is vertigo

Our short answer? YES. But what is vertigo's connection with long road trips? Long road trips can bring certain head movements and general irregular motion. If you're driving and there are a few changes in your inner ear, it may lead to vertigo and dizziness episodes that you may feel until you are no longer driving.

Different things can trigger these episodes, such as an inner ear infection and dehydration. When driving for long periods, it's essential to maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water. 

A usual sign of vertigo is feeling like your surroundings are spinning, which can put you off-balance. Sometimes, long road trips trigger visual vertigo that can be linked to binocular vision dysfunction (BVD). So how does it differ from motion sickness? Here’s a quick comparison of these three conditions. 


What is Vertigo

Before we proceed any further, let us refresh your understanding of vertigo. It is a condition characterized by a sense of spinning or rocking, even when you are not engaging in any movement. Many people think vertigo is a condition, but it's usually just a symptom of an underlying health problem.


What is Motion Sickness?

Many people can get confused with motion sickness or vertigo due to similar accompanying symptoms. However, motion sickness is a debilitating but rarely serious condition. It usually stems from a movement that your eyes and ear perceive differently. It can bring bouts of dizziness, nausea, and vomiting and usually occurs when you're in motion, at a car, train, plane, boat, or amusement park ride.


What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Also called BVD, this condition happens to those whose eyes are not perfectly aligned and can usually create two separate images in different planes. This is because your brain usually processes information from your different senses, including the eyes. With BVD, the brain usually corrects the perceived difference in the image, which can strain the main nerve connecting the eyes and brain, which is known as the trigeminal nerve. When this happens, you can experience different unpleasant symptoms, including eye strain, fatigue, and motion sickness. A vertigo episode usually seems to happen out of nowhere. But it can occur when there is a sudden change of visual stimuli, like when driving, all the more on a long road trip wherein you see many different things for a long time. So whether you're the one driving or a passenger, the speed at which objects pass you is much faster than usual, requiring your visual processing speed to increase. This can trigger the onset of vertigo episodes.road trips, what is vertigo

The Risks of Vertigo

While vertigo episodes can be very unpleasant, they are usually not harmful. However, you should be aware of some risks associated with vertigo, especially if you're the one behind the wheel. For example, if you experience vertigo while driving, it could lead to an unwanted accident. Additionally, you could suffer an injury if you fall while experiencing a vertigo episode. Therefore, if you recently noticed vertigo episodes coming to you more frequently than before, you should get that sorted out before embarking on a long road trip. This is a proactive step to ensure you and your passengers stay safe.


What Is Vertigo's Best Remedy?

There are a few things that you can do to help relieve vertigo symptoms. This can vary for every person. If you're curious about what is vertigo's best solution, you can explore a few ways. When your episode happens, try drinking lots of fluids and try to avoid movements until the symptoms subside. You can also try gently moving your head from side to side several times to help re-balance your inner ear fluids. If possible, avoid sudden movements, as they can worsen your symptoms.If you are suffering from frequent vertigo episodes, upper cervical chiropractic care may be able to help. This specific type of chiropractic care focuses on aligning the top two bones in your spine — the atlas and axis bones. These bones protect your brainstem, the part of your nervous system that controls vital functions like heart rate and blood pressure, so they must be properly aligned. If, for any reason, they become misaligned, it can interfere with proper brainstem function and trigger a host of symptoms, including vertigo. You can visit an upper cervical chiropractic doctor near you to check your spine alignment.Once your bones are properly aligned, your brainstem function can improve. Many common issues, vertigo included, often resolve themselves naturally over time without requiring other invasive procedures or medication.


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