Motion sickness is a sick feeling triggered by movement. It is caused by the repeated motion from a vehicle or any other movements that can agitate the inner year. Some people experience nausea or vomiting when riding an automobile, airplane, or amusement park ride. This is called motion sickness.
When experiencing the same problem while riding on a ship or boat, it’s commonly referred to as seasickness – however, it’s the same disorder.
What causes motion sickness? What common symptoms does it cause? What are some of the best ways to cure motion sickness effectively and enjoy travel? Read the blog till the end and find answers to each of these questions.
Essential Facts On Motion Sickness
- There’s no significant difference between motion sickness and seasickness.
- In addition to nausea and vomiting, motion sickness can cause some other symptoms, too, including dizziness, headache, frequent yawning, etc.
- Human beings or animals without a functional vestibular system are immune to motion sickness.
- In the absence of motion-sensing organs in the inner ear, motion sickness doesn’t occur. This indicates the significance of the inner ear in motion sickness.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
Well, motion sickness occurs whenever there’s a conflict between your senses. You must be wondering what that means or what leads to the conflict. Let us comprehend this with a simple example-
Say you’re enjoying a ride on a fair, and it’s spinning you around, upside down. In such a case, your eyes see one thing, your inner ears feel something else, and your muscles sense another.
Your brain can’t process all these mixed signals together, which is why you end up feeling dizzy or nauseated.
Symptoms Of Motion Sickness
Symptoms of motion sickness strike all of a sudden and can worsen quickly. The most common symptoms include nausea and vomiting; however, they aren’t the only ones.
- Mild uneasiness
- Breathing difficulties
Other common symptoms:
- A general feeling of discomfort
- Not feeling well
Who Is At A Risk For Motion Sickness?
Some people are at slightly more risk for motion sickness than others, including:
- Kids between 2 years and 12 years
- People who have migraine
- Women who are pregnant, menstruating, or on hormone therapy
- People who take some medications, including antidepressants, antibiotics, asthma medications, narcotics, or even common OTC medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
How Is Motion Sickness Diagnosed?
Motion sickness is usually mild and self-treatable. Very severe cases or those which worsen over time demand the care and attention of a medical professional who has expertise in diseases of the ear, nervous system, and balance (equilibrium).
The doctor will take your physical exam. He or she will look at your eyes or inside your ears. Then you will be asked about your symptoms and health history before they suggest any treatment.
How To Cure Motion Sickness?
Sure, you can take medications prescribed by your doctor to cure motion sickness; however, if you wish to overcome the condition effectively. Consider the following simple strategies:
Take control of the situation
When you’re traveling by car, not being in the driver’s seat may contribute to motion sickness. The people who drive the car are comparatively less prone to motion sickness than all other passengers sitting in the vehicle.
It may be because the driver’s brain is utilizing its motor commands to drive the car and anticipate the motion.
If you must ride as a passenger, one thing you can do is to sit next to the driver’s seat and look at the horizon – it bestows an increased sense of control than riding in the back.
If you are made to sit in the back seat, try distraction techniques like talking with other passengers in the car, listening to music, etc.
Open a vent to gain access to fresh air and avoid reading books in a moving vehicle as much as possible.
Limit your consumption
Watch what you consume before and during travel. Avoid excessive consumption of those foods and beverages that can make you unusually full.
Foods that are spicy, heavy, or have a strong odor can aggravate the symptoms of motion sickness in certain people and should be avoided. Make sure you don’t smoke or drink excessive alcohol while you’re planning to travel.
Get into position
Always choose a seat where you will be least likely to experience motion sickness.
For example, in an airplane, take the window set close to the wings, which is known to be the calmest area of flight. While traveling by car, get the driver’s seat or the seat next to it to prevent motion sickness.
And in a ship, choose a lower cabin close to the center of the ship as people in outer or higher cabins usually experience more turbulence than other passengers.
Distance yourself from people suffering from motion sickness or talking about it. Seeing people becoming ill or hearing about motion sickness can make you feel sick too.
Try to balance your sensory signals
As we’ve already discussed, motion sickness occurs when there’s a conflict between your sensory signals – balancing your sensory signals is the key to preventing or curing motion sickness.
When you are riding on a car or a boat, look at a fixed point or align your vision to the horizon. On a train, sit in a front-facing seat so that your eyes transmit the same movement cues as the vestibular system.
In case of seasickness, lie down on your back to make your sensory systems congruent.
Believe that you won’t get motion sickness this time
One study revealed that verbal placebos were found to be effective in controlling seasickness. Set your own goals before traveling by saying it aloud – “I am not going to experience travel sickness this time.”
Believe it or not, this actually helps prevent or at least reduce the severity of symptoms in some people.
Biofeedback therapy can also be utilized to prevent or cure motion sickness. In this therapy, you’ll learn how to focus or modify your sensory signals.
They are found effective in helping people transform the way their bodies respond to various conditions, including stress, anxiety, chronic pain, etc. Ask your healthcare specialist if you can get benefited from biofeedback therapy.
Ginger helps reduce symptoms of motion sickness in some people. Researchers believe that it works by keeping your digestive health stable and blood pressure consistent.
Take 1 – 2 grams of ginger before traveling for optimum results. If you’re currently on blood thinner medications, kindly consult your doctor before supplementing with ginger to avoid the risk of side effects.
Acupressure is a conventional treatment method based on acupuncture. It is slightly different from acupuncture as pressure is applied to certain points in the body rather than using needles.
There are various pressure points for nausea. You can locate some of them on your own. Other pressure points are difficult to locate, and for finding those, you’ll need to consult a trained acupressure therapist.
When everything else fails, take medications
If none of the above-listed options works for you, you can take over-the-counter medications such as:
- Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
- Scopolamine (Maldemar)
- Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine)
- Cyclizine (Marezine, Marzine, Emoquil)
- Promethazine (Phenadoz, Phenergan, Promethegan)
Talk to your healthcare specialist before taking any of these medications, as it can cause you to develop certain side effects, including drowsiness and dry mouth.
Planning ahead is the best advice for preventing the risk of motion sickness. Plan your diet, what things to avoid, seat selection, etc. If you experience motion sickness every time you travel or get progressively worse, we recommend consulting a healthcare provider and receiving appropriate treatment.