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Vertigo and driving
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Vertigo and driving

I have had two episodes of vertigo that came about without an known triggers. I received IV solumedrol and it helped somewhat. I still have periods of dizziness. When I asked my neuro when it would be "safe" for me to resume driving, his response was to wait a couple more weeks and then it would be okay. It's been2 months since the last episode of vertigo although I do get some dizziness depending on how fast I move head, etc. Today,I drove for the first time since June. I am going stir crazy and am very weary of waiting for a family member to drive me somewhere.

I was wondering if others who have had vertigo and dizziness after the vertigo attack could share their experiences and insight. Were you instructed when you could resume driving?  Were your vertigo attacks clear-cut with a definitive beginning and end? I do not want to endanger others or myself by driving when I shouldn't but I need some guidance.

Thanks!
Ren
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751951_tn?1406636463
Good question, and one that many have asked of me.  I've had what I called dizziness almost constantly since October.  I've learned that docs don't like that term, as it's indistinct.  I'm experiencing vertigo, which is what I think of as dizziness, a sense of being off balance.  This is contrasted with lightheadedness, which is perhaps more properly called feeling faint, when one feels as if they are near losing consciousness.  That's a feeling I've not had with this illness, if we don't count the extreme sleepiness brought on by gabapentin soon after I dose up with it.

My experience driving has been something that others seem to have difficulty understanding.  A person who walks so poorly is expected to have trouble maneuvering an automobile, but I don't know why.  When I am seated in the car, I have a door with an armrest to my left, and a console with an armrest on my right.  I have a form-fitting seat against my back, with lumbar support and side bolsters near my kidneys, and a padded restraint behind my head.  I have a lap belt and a shoulder belt across my front, my feet are firmly supported, and I have at least one hand on the steering wheel.  In that situation, I have very little sense that I am moving in relationship to my immediate environment.  This might be because there is so little movement possible.  I have noticed, however, that turning around to look out the rear window while backing can trigger that unpleasant sense that my stomach is trying to rise into my throat.  Nevertheless, I find driving to be one of the least challenging things that I do, with regard to the limitations that this (still undx) illness has placed upon me.  Only medication changes have ever caused me to feel that I shouldn't be driving.  That's been for no more than a day or so, until I adapt to the new meds or switch to something else.
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739070_tn?1338607002

Thanks for your reply. Some of my dizziness sounds like what you are describing but I have also have had two episodes of violent vertigo as if I was on boat and it was suddenly listing to the right. Actually, both episodes were as if someone flipped the room and took a hard right. Both instances resulted in falls but not too much bodily harm.

Since I do not know what triggered it I am concerned it may happen again while I am driving. If I listen to Mr. Bozo(the fellow who said I have migraines not MS), then these are migraines and I have prophylactic migraine meds but my real neuro says it is MS induced vertigo.

I do follow your custom of not driving when starting new meds or dosage changes. It's just this blasted imbalance that worries me. I am officially one of the "Weeble Wobbles". But you do make a very valid point about the support and security a vehicle supplies.

Thanks again for your input,
Ren
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Hi Ren,
I can relate to the vertigo you are describing.  I feel like the whole room is spinning or I am on a rocking boat, when I have had an BAD EPISODE of vertigo I have been unable to walk in a straight line so off balance that you feel like you are going to smack into something... it is horrible, I can understand your fear of driving.

In my case I had a bad episode not while driving but when I stepped out of the car to get petrol, I had to ring my husband to come and get me and leave the car and get it another day, it come on without warning but it was when I was in a flare, so not really unexpected and I had already had some episodes of vertigo and travelling in the car made it worse.  

Only you can decide if you are right to drive, i found that my vertigo was more noticable when walking (like walking on a ship) or when real bad everything spins, then I feel like I am going to vomit.... I find moving my head up and down excacerbates it too.  I would not drive a long trip now as movement makes it worse, if we do a longer drive I found when I get out I am stiff and wobbly...lol.

I hope this has helped... I never drive when starting new meds either, I try them on a weekend.

Cheers, Udkas.

Only you would know how you feel
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there again,
just re read your post, that prompted me to post again.  My neuro says my vertigo is caused by migraine but he reckons my migraine is caused by my Transverse Myelitis, so basically my migraine is a product of my TM and where my lesions are located...

I think he is right too as I have noticed that when I get the shimmery stuff in my eyes I get the vertigo and I don't get bad headaches either...lol... but as he told me I can have migraine without headache...
My neuro does not think all my symptoms are migraine.

Cheers,
Udkas.
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751951_tn?1406636463
The Scriptures tell us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Ren, my vertigo has been very severe at times, such that I've fallen a half dozen or more times in recent months.  Fortunately, only a few bruises have resulted.  The whole adventure began one morning in July 2008, when upon rising from bed I found that the floor on my left kept trying to get closer to my face, while the bathroom on my right, despite my best efforts, seemed to be rapidly moving away.  It lasted a few days, then went away until October.  Since then, it waxes and wanes, but is really gone only in my dreams.

I told several folks that I'm fine; it's the rest of you people who can't seem to hold still, along with the world in which you live.  I regularly bump into the hallway walls at work, as well as corners going in and coming out of the men's room, conference room, you name it.  Cane in one hand, the other on the nearest stable and sturdy object, I get through each day, as the world spins, rocks, tumbles, or (my favorite) drops out from under me, with no warning, and for no aparrent reason.  Driving can be a welcome respite, with the sense of security from the constraints and protections that I described above.  (My new car doesn't hurt, either!)
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739070_tn?1338607002
Thanks Udakas and PD for sharing your experiences. I had to have my husband come and get me when I got double vision one day while driving. Nuero chalked it up to migraine.

Pastor Dan: Your vertigo seems almost identical to mine..especially your fav and mine, when the world drops out from under me. I have gripped the table I was sitting at more than once when it seemed it was dropping out from underneath me.

Perhaps I will venture out to the grocery store..it's only a mile away.

Thanks again,
Ren
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751951_tn?1406636463
I've been fortunate, ren, with my double vision.  The two images are only slightly offset from each other, so it sometimes looks as though everything has fuzzy edges.  When I am able to look closely at things, I can usually see two vertical edges to everything, and sometimes two horizontal edges as well.  I suppose this might explain why I like to type in bolder fonts.  The little skinny lines like we have here are especially difficult (especially when I use so many words with double L's, like "especially")!

Be careful at the grocery.  God bless.
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739070_tn?1338607002
Thank you!
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572651_tn?1333939396
hey Ren, I could use some milk from the store - can you deliver it to Ohio?  Lol.

I'm like PD in that feeling of security while I am sitting is very comfortable - its the moving that sets off the balance issues.  

I hope your trip out to the big world went well.  

Lulu
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Avatar_f_tn
Your description of why you feel secure in your car is very interesting. Thanks for that explanation.

That is probably why I feel 'normal' sitting or lying down, but often get the boat rocking when I walk. Many fewer frames of reference, and the only part touching anything solid is my feet.

Recently I was at a party where towards the end we had a fire outdoors at night in one of those copper fire pits. We were sitting on folding chairs around it and I stood up to go inside, not realizing that my chair was on a very slight backwards incline. I was so startled and off kilter that I pitched forward, and am just lucky not to have fallen into the fire. (Metaphorical too, no?  :o)  )  Talk about Lost in Space!

I agree with your distinction regarding dizziness and vertigo, etc., and I never feel 'faint.' Off balance because the floor is moving describes me better. Mine is not as severe as yours or some others' here and I'm glad of that, but this is my third round and it's been here since February. Every time I think it's receding I get a woozy jolt.

ess
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198419_tn?1360245956
Hey Ren,

Bet your ready for this to disappear.  I've only had one episode of this and it came on suddenly and strong.  It took a few weeks to clear, but gradually improved after the 1st week.

I walked around trying to not move my head or tilt my body.  I'm so geared to not look down suddenly due to lhermittes - that it actually helped me through it a little. Very aggrevating.  I wasn't given a timeframe because I didn't go to the Dr. until after it passed.

Be careful, Ren!
-shell

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