Vertigo is a symptom that makes it seem as if the environment around you is moving or spinning. This phenomenon often results in dizziness, feelings of sickness and a loss of balance. Most often people experience vertigo when they move their head suddenly or when they bend over. But vertigo can happen almost anywhere. Many people have reported experiencing a feeling of vertigo while driving or riding in a car. This can be a frightening and stressful experience.
Experts suggest that feelings of vertigo while driving are triggered by objects passing by you much faster than normal. When this happens, your visual processing speed increases. This leads to the feelings associated with vertigo.
What are some signs you might be experiencing vertigo while you’re on the road?
- Inability to focus on fixed objects — If you’re driving and you seem unable to keep your vision fixed on one point in the road for a few seconds at a time due to spinning, dizziness or for any other reason, this may be a warning sign. Often, patients with vertigo experience the inability to focus their vision while driving.
- Hearing loss — Some people may experience partial hearing loss while they’re on the road, meaning they temporarily lose their hearing in one ear. This can be frightening for many, and concerning at the very least. If you lose your hearing during a drive, you may be experiencing vertigo.
- Nausea — One common symptom is nausea. This can be particularly disruptive to your driving when you experience feelings like retching or needing to vomit.
If you begin to experience feelings of vertigo while driving, the best thing to do is immediately pull over and stop driving until the symptoms have passed. However, if you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, it may be beneficial for you to turn to a physical therapist for help.
How can physical therapy help to overcome vertigo while driving?
Vertigo can have a number of different causes, including previous injury, illness or the use of certain medications. Regardless of the cause, there are several ways in which a licensed physical therapist can help you overcome your vertigo symptoms while driving:
- Assessment — A physical therapist can help you to determine the cause of your vertigo, as well as assess how severe your symptoms may be. This step will help your therapist choose the right course of treatment for your needs. Tests such as the Dix-Hallpike test and the roll test help to determine whether your vertigo is caused by inner ear problems, spinal issues or other possible conditions.
- Therapeutic exercises — There are a number of different exercises that a physical therapist can help you perform to treat the cause of your vertigo. These exercises are intended to help move parts of your inner ear that may be causing vertigo, or to improve circulation around your ears and eyes. Your therapist will be able to tell which kinds of exercises you need based on the source of your vertigo symptoms.
- Balance training — Loss of balance and a feeling of falling are common vertigo symptoms. Balance training exercises address these symptoms by strengthening the muscle groups that are important to maintaining a good balance and posture.
Where can I turn for help in overcoming symptoms of vertigo while driving?
If you are experiencing vertigo symptoms often while driving, you may feel afraid to drive and may have trouble going about your daily life as a result. If so, the specialists at Continuum Wellness are more than willing to help. Our qualified physical therapy specialists can help to pinpoint the source of your vertigo symptoms and create a treatment plan specifically suited to your needs.
Contact our team today for more information about how we can help with your vertigo or to schedule an initial appointment.