Is Air Travel Possible When You Struggle with Vertigo?

Travel, natural remedies for vertigo

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:  

Ear Barotrauma 

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. 

BPPV

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. 

Meniere’s Disease

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

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

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.

Travel, natural remedies for vertigo

 

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 and get to know about the tips for flying with vertigo.

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:

Acupuncture

A 2015 study shares that acupuncture works well in relieving dizziness after flying 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

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.

 Additional Self-Care Tips for a Worry Free Travel

If your vertigo is stopping you from traveling and finally you've mustered enough courage to overcome your fear, it's still natural that there are deep seated worries at the back of your mind. So it won't hurt to know additional tips and tricks that can allow you to reduce the frequency and severity of your vertigo without the need of rushing to the emergency room. Below are some of them:

1. Stop Smoking

You have a hundred reasons to stop smoking (or not start). Now you can add vertigo to the list. One thing that comes up over and over again with vertigo is a link to the neck and blood flow. Smoking constricts the blood vessels. This reduces blood flow, inhibits natural healing, and can lead to premature degenerations of the discs in the neck that separate the vertebrae. Smoking can, therefore, make a vertigo issue worse and inhibit your efforts to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

2. Improve Your Posture

Good posture is important for a lot of health conditions. If you are dealing with a chronic ailment that causes vertigo, this is especially true. Proper posture can help to ensure that your neck stays in alignment and that your brain is getting proper blood flow. It can also affect the ability of your ears to drain properly. These are all important factors when it comes to defeating vertigo once and for all.

If you have to sit at a desk all day for work. Try to make your setup as ergonomic as possible. That means your monitors should be at eye level so that you are not looking down all day long. A forward head position can put pressure on the brainstem and spinal cord, and it increases the amount of work that the spine has to do in order to protect the central nervous system.

3. Increase Your Water Intake

One of the few underlying causes of vertigo that isn’t linked to the neck is dehydration. You may want to download an app to track how much water you drink per day. Actually, keeping track may help you to realize that you are not regularly getting 8 full glasses of water each day. Since vertigo is an early dehydration symptom, you may not have any other indicators that your water intake is low.

4. Get a Fitness Tracker

A sedentary lifestyle affects blood flow and can be as harmful to your vertigo as smoking. A fitness tracker can help you to see just how much activity you are performing each day. If you work in an office building, can you take the steps instead of the elevator? How about parking at the end of the lot instead of getting as close to the door as possible? The more activity you get in each day, the more stress relieving hormones will be released as you exercise. So you get two-fold benefits. First, you are improving blood flow as you exercise. Second, you are combating one of the primary triggers of vertigo.

5. Limit Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are the main triggers of vertigo. While you can’t eliminate these completely from your life, you can work to reduce the level of stress hormones that are released by finding positive stress coping mechanisms. Exercise is a good way to deal with stress. Smoking is a bad way to deal with it that can make vertigo worse. Here are a few other tips for coping with stress and anxiety:

  • Focus on positive things – Mark Twain is often quoted as having said: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Isn’t it true that we often find ourselves worrying about things that work out well in the end? So why not try setting a period of time each day to focus on positive things. You may find that this retrains your mind to think about the good in your life rather than the concerns.
  • Talk with someone – Just getting your anxieties out can bring a great deal of relief. Whether you have a friend or family member who is always willing to lend an ear or you decide to pay a professional therapist, the key is to find what works for you.
  • Take a break – Whether it is a short vacation, a relaxing hobby, or going for a massage, find ways to give yourself a break when you really need it.

For some patients, a combination of these self-care tips and Upper Cervical Care has decreased the frequency and severity of vertigo episodes or even ended them altogether. Make sure you reach out to an Upper Cervical Chiropractor near you to learn more.  

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Plane Flight Trigger Vertigo?

Yes, you can potentially trigger vertigo from flying, especially those individuals who are prone to this condition. The changes in air pressure, motion, and altitude during flight can disrupt the inner ear's balance system, leading to vertigo symptoms in some passengers.

Can You Fly With Vertigo? 

Flying and vertigo can be challenging for those who experience severe or frequent vertigo episodes. Therefore, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before flying with vertigo to discuss potential treatments or preventive measures.

Does Flying Cause Vertigo?

Flying itself does not directly cause vertigo. However, some individuals who are prone to vertigo or have underlying inner ear issues may experience vertigo symptoms during or after a flight. The motion, changes in air pressure, and altitude variations during air travel can potentially disrupt the balance system in the inner ear, leading to vertigo-like sensations. It's important to note that not everyone will experience vertigo when flying, and the likelihood of it occurring varies from person to person

 Does Flying Affect Vertigo?

Yes, flying can affect vertigo, particularly if you already have a history of vertigo or balance issues. The motion and changes in pressure during flight can trigger or worsen vertigo symptoms. It's advisable to take precautions and consult with a healthcare provider if you plan to fly with vertigo.

How To Prevent Vertigo When Flying?

To prevent vertigo when flying, consider these measures:
Consult with a healthcare professional before your flight to discuss medications or strategies to manage vertigo.
Stay hydrated during the flight.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine before and during the flight.
Choose seats with a stable view, such as near the wing.
Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to minimize noise-related discomfort.
Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety, which can exacerbate vertigo symptoms.

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