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Balance disorder while driving

I am frustrated that no one can provide an answer or Rx for my symptoms which have been going on for approx. 1 year. I am not dizzy. This only occurs when I am driving at highway speeds on roads that curve Left or Right. Seems to be worse on Left. I feel like my car is going to roll over or I am going to fall. MRI, Blood tests, hearing tests, dentist evaluation, Opthalmologist evaluation were NEGATIVE. I have tried low salt/ no caffeine diet, no ETOH, Meclizine , hydration. Nothing has helped. In fact my symptoms are worsening.
Any Ideas ?
16 Responses
1291268 tn?1274814522
You may wish to see a neurologist if you haven't already done so.
You only have problems when driving at high speeds and no other times?
675347 tn?1365464245
Please excuse me for saying this, but it all sounds very dangerous. I know how hard life can be when you can't drive, (I know that personally because I live in the middle of nowhere and totally rely on my car!) -but please do think twice about driving until this is cured, or you have meds to control it.
If someone else can take over at the wheel...let them!
Avatar universal
Please let me know if you have found a solution to your problem!  I have been having the same problem for years.  It's always on the highway going over 55mph and whenever there are turns to the left or the right (also, going downhill).  I have severe problems when driving through the mountains in West Virginia and Kentucky.  I am able to drive normally on straight flat highways (e.g. Ohio, Indiana,etc.).  I feel like I'm off balance and the car is going to flip over.  I have been to a neurologist and everything is fine, my inner ear is fine, and otherwise healthy (e.g. no high blood pressure, allergies, etc.).  This is really impacting my ability to travel by car.  Please let me know if you have had any success in resolving your issue.  Interestingly, my sister has the same problem.
Avatar universal
If you haven't found a solution yet, google vertical heterophoria.  I'm trying glasses with prisms.  I haven't got the perfect prescription yet, but am working with a Dr. in Michigan who specializes in this. It is a relief just knowing that it is my eyes even though no other Dr. has told me that until now.
Avatar universal
How have you've been? I have the same problem for years but got worse last October that even changing lane was so difficult. I've seen a psychiatrist, neurosurgeon and finally a head and neck specialist. I was diagnosed with disequilibrium and just started with balance therapy. I haven't been driving since October 2012 and quit my job last month. I was trying to relieve some of life stresses so I quit my job. I am not sure if the balance therapy will help me go back to driving again. I will let you know in a few weeks. I was also given a Paxil. I was told that my balance issue give me anxiety and so I panic.
Avatar universal
Ok, the glasses didn't work, but I am having success this week!
My Regular family Dr. thought I might be having inflammation in my neck that is pressing on nerves and causing these problems. I got a shot of Toradol Wed. April 3rd, and started taking Oxaprozin 600 mg twice a day. I don't feel different, but I was able to drive home on the highway every day last week, including once at night. I was also brave enough today (Sun April 14) to try two other highways. I was able to drive about 62mph, and did not lean halfway across the car!  Some of the curves to the right still bothered me a little, but I didn't feel like my car was on it's left wheels the whole time, and didn't have a death grip on the steering wheel. I' super excited about this and hope it can help you too"
Avatar universal
good luck. keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I wish there was only one place for this.  I posted on another page too.  The Oxaprozin helped for 1 1/2 months. Aft that I read Dr. Sarno's book on back pain. I don't have back pain, but I do have headaches and TMJ, and think they are all related. It helped as much as the Oxaprozin.  I decided to try physical therapy. My tests showed something going on in the vestibular region, but within normal range. I started exercises. The first was shaking my head "no" while looking at my thumb. The next week was shaking my head while walking and looking at a letter surrounded by a checkerboard pattern. It didn't help. My PT wants to send me elsewhere. I think I have visual vertigo. I am trying optokinetic stimulation this week. I found 3 videos on YouTube. I also downloaded an asteroid screensaver and a 3D flying screensaver to stare at. I also downloaded a race car driving game. That one made me a little queasy. I'll let you know if it helps.
Avatar universal
Ok, the visual stimulation didn't help. Dr. Sarno's back book seems to have helped more than anything else. I'm better in the mornings. I can go 70mph sometimes, and pass people. It's harder after work, and I don't pass people unless they are really slow and no one is behind me. It's not perfect, but I haven't had to take the back roads for a while
Avatar universal
do it if there are fast cars behind me or heavy traffic. It's still easier in the morning, but just in the last two weeks, I have done better after work as wIt's really interesting to me that so many of us have similar problems, but with different twists. Some people have been helped by changing medication, some by breathing differently, some by the chiropractor etc. I tried glasses with prisms, which helped for 4 days; NDSAID's which helped for 1 1/2 months; dramamine, meclizine etc which never helped; the chiropractor which never helped; physical therapy with balance retraining, which did not help. I am a happy camper though, because I am doing better. Unless it is sheer coincidence, it is because I read "Healing back pain: the mind-body connection" by John Sarno.  I read about it in Runner's World magazine and told my sister about it because of her back problems.  She had success, so she sent me a copy. My back doesn't hurt, but I have a lot of headaches, almost daily, and TMJ. I read the book this daches instead of daily, and my acid reflux is better too.  I hope thissummer, and immediately, I was driving just as well as I had been on the medication. It's not perfect, but I haven't had to pull off the road, or take the back roads since. Moving into the left lane still bothers me, but I am now able to pass people, and semi's. I don't ell.  I noticed when I pass semi's sometimes I get a weird feeling in my nose and sinuses. I think that is from the anxiety of having to deal with this for a year. I like to have quick access to the slow lane just in case I might feel off balance. I haven't had any problems on the back roads, even on two curves that I used to slow down for. Last Sunday I made myself drive in the middle lane of a three lane highway for a mile or two. That was progress! I caught myself going as fast as 75 on my way to work, as opposed to 50 this time last year. I feel hopeful that this will continue and I'll get my confidence back. The book doesn't really talk about driving, but it does talk alot about inflammation, and it mentions dizzyness. I only have occasional hea helps someone, because it feels great to have hope.
Avatar universal
Ok, my computer did some crazy rearranging of my comment! I hope it makes sense.
Avatar universal
Hi, just wondering how you are doing. I stopped driving October 2012... I felt the car will tilt and I will lose control of the car. Left turn, changing to the left was a struggle. Curves gives me anxiety. The wider the road the more overwhelmed I was. Went to Balance therapy but didn't help...went to opthalmologist and neurologist, and was told to go back to head and neck specialists and therapy. Tried doing my own balance excercises through YouTube but I am not consistent so it's not working yet. Quit my job Jan 2013 cause can't have somebody drive me to work all the time.
I will try some of your suggestions above but just wondering if you have tried anything else beside the one you mentioned and If it worked.

Thank you in advance!
Wondering if its gotten any better for you...
Avatar universal
I saw the dr. yesterday.  He is prescribing a scopolamine patch and referring me to balance therapy.  He's also checking out my carotid.  I'll just see how things go.  He is still leaning toward a ear problem, but the ear dr can't get me in until Oct.  The dr said if the patch and balance thing don't work, to call & he'd try to get me in to see the ear dr sooner.  I no longer drive.
Avatar universal
Hello! This thread has helped me tremendously. I also read Dr.Sarno's book. That helped my path to recovery along with routine massages, magnesium supplements and meditation (of all things). I saw an opthalmologist, optometrist and eent specialist. Did all the tests including a MRI- all negative. I think there was underlying stress and anxiety that manifested while driving giving the feeling of imbalance. Soon as I was aware of what was happening, I was better able to address it. I am now driving like I used to and no more imbalance. Took months but there is hope.
Avatar universal
Hi. I've been reading your posts   as I have exactly the same issue. I'm in the UK and have seen doctors, ENT & MRI but all come back as normal although they have confirmed an imbalance between my inner ears but apparently not significant enough to do anything about it! Reading lots of posts there seems to be no answer unless somebody knows something else. Really finding this difficult and affecting work and family life. I sat on a children's swing recently with my kids and experienced the same feeling. I also experience this in higher cars like SUV's where they tend to rock side to side more with the suspension.
Avatar universal
I have exactly the same problem, have u found an answer?
No. I've now been referred to a specialist ENT/dizziness consultant that I am booked in with next month. Will wait and see what they say!
I have seen a Opthomologist who has now referred me to an ENT if that fails then a MRI, judging from comments I have read I expect them to be negative. I suffer with a sore neck on a daily basis so I’m going to ask for X-ray or MRI see how that goes
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