With travel restrictions slowly easing in various parts of the world, old FAQs on vertigo have also resurfaced. These questions focus on whether people with frequent vertigo attacks can travel via plane. Is it possible, or should patients shift to a more vertigo-friendly travel option? What natural remedies for vertigo can help a traveler cope during an episode? Find out more about these questions so you can begin planning your flight to your upcoming destination.
Why Vertigo Happens When You Travel By Plane
Thousands of people who experience vertigo episodes dread flying. That’s because they fear that their attacks will only get worse when they are 30,000 to 42,000 feet above the ground or when the plane experiences mild turbulence. Unfortunately, studies show that vertigo episodes can indeed occur or worsen during a flight because of the following:
Increased water or air pressure can cause tissue injury that eventually leads to ear congestion. Some would refer to it as airplane ear, while doctors call it ear barotrauma.
It’s normal to experience mild discomfort inside the ears when the air pressure changes during a flight. Once the inner ear stabilizes, the pressure buildup gradually eases, and you hear a popping sound. However, if you have ear barotrauma, the pain lingers a bit longer and triggers severe vertigo episodes, ear pain, and muffled earing.
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome
Mal de Debarquement syndrome is a rare but highly debilitating condition that triggers vertigo attacks. The episodes happen shortly after disembarking a ship or an aircraft. Unlike typical causes of vertigo episodes, Mal de Debarquement syndrome causes worse symptoms when you stay still.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo accounts for most of the reported vertigo cases in the USA. It is a vestibular system problem that stems from dislodged calcium crystals. It gets worse with head movements, which may happen because of plane turbulence.
The Hearing Health Foundation estimates up to 750,000 cases of Meniere’s disease in the USA. It’s another type of vestibular system disorder that causes various symptoms ranging from vertigo episodes to tinnitus. While studies explain that Meniere’s disease rarely causes problems during a flight, it still pays to know a few natural remedies for vertigo to cope.
Perilymph fistula or PLF is a rare inner ear disorder that usually develops after head or neck injury. It causes miscommunication between your brain and inner ear and triggers symptoms similar to Meniere’s. However, unlike Meniere’s, it can go away after a week or so with the help of medication or a surgical procedure.
Central vertigo is a type of vertigo attack that stems from a nervous system problem. Patients with vascular diseases, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and brainstem lesions often experience central vertigo symptoms.
Can You Fly When You Have Vertigo?
Flying with vertigo is possible unless you get diagnosed with perilymph fistula or Mal de Debarquement syndrome. Doctors and other healthcare professionals discourage flying among patients with perilymph fistula because it can increase the risk for permanent hearing loss.
Meanwhile, if you have Mal de Debarquement syndrome, we recommend opting for short connecting flights to lessen the impact of your vertigo episodes.
If you have other vertigo-causing health conditions such as those listed above, we suggest trying natural remedies for vertigo. Many studies back the claims of patients who use natural relief options such as upper cervical care, acupuncture, canalith repositioning exercises, and aromatherapy. Let’s deep dive into each vertigo relief option below:
A 2015 study shares that acupuncture works well in relieving dizziness and vertigo. Essentially, it is a traditional medicine technique that aims to activate pressure points using thin needles. Many patients with Meniere’s, vestibular neuritis, and other vestibular disorders try acupuncture to relieve their symptoms. However, on average, it takes five sessions for a patient to start seeing improvements.
Aromatherapy is one of the most popular relaxation techniques. It requires the use of essential oils extracted from herbs and flowers, and sometimes, wood. You can either use a diffuser to inhale your chosen essential oil or combine a few drops with a carrier solution and massage on your temples, forehead, and neck.
Although there are few scientific studies to establish why aromatherapy works for vertigo relief, thousands of patients swear by it. Some popular aromatherapy oils used to reduce the impact of spinning sensations and other vertigo symptoms include ginger, lemon balm, and peppermint oil.
Canalith Repositioning Exercise
Canalith repositioning exercises like the Epley Maneuver make an excellent option for vertigo relief. Patients with BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo benefit from this approach to restoring displaced calcium crystals inside the correct chamber.
Upper Cervical Care
Many patients have cervical spine misalignments because of previous injuries. Unknown to them, their cervical subluxation causes miscommunication between their brain and vestibular system. This leads to confusion and a false perception of movement.
The bones can also stop the normal flow of fluids from your head, aggravating conditions like Meniere’s disease, ear barotrauma, and perilymph fistula. So naturally, if you can correct the bone misalignment, you can gradually eliminate risk factors such as fluid buildup in your ears and brain signal interference.
Thankfully, with upper cervical care, you can do just that. The gentle and precise adjustments can restore your cervical spine to its original curvature, allowing your body to heal and recover.
Without a doubt, upper cervical care is among the leading natural remedies for vertigo. If you want to explore this option and start your healing journey, you can call a local upper cervical chiropractic doctor from your city.