I have had exactly the same problems (dizziness while driving on a highway) for 2 years now, and I am really tired of it! I searched a little and tried to resume the most common inputs shared on this forum.
It looks like there is a name for our condition, and it's called "Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome."
Many of us found a relief with SCM (sternocleidomastoid) Massage.
Another effective exercise is the following "I looked at a letter, about 2 inches high, placed at eye level on the wall 4 feet in front of me.
Then, I moved my head back and forth about once per second for 15 seconds, then up and down for
15 seconds at the same cadence, and finally back and forth for 15 more seconds all the time while
focusing on the letter on the wall trying to keep the letter stationary"
So far this is all I know, and I will go (again) to see a neurologist with this information to have an opinion and options for therapy.
I used to love driving and travelling, I am 33, healthy and love sports and travelling, and I really want to fix this problem in my life, like all of us!
"The muscles you need to massage are called sternocleidomastoid, or SCM.
They are on the sides of your neck and run diagonally from the base of
your skull behind your ears, down to the front of your collar bone.
There are two on each side, sternal and clavicular.
The sternal one is the one that is more forward and to the outside, nearest the skin.
The clavicular is deeper inside and harder to massage.
It takes a couple of weeks of practice to be able to easily get ahold of all the
areas that can have trigger points (tenderness), especially down low where they
connect to the collar bone. They feel kind of thin and stringy where they attach
to the collar bone but if there is any pain in them when you poke around down
there, you have to massage those areas some more so it goes away.
Don't do too much too soon. It's easy to say, but hard to do, because you want
the problem to be fixed immediately. This post doesn't tell how to grab them or
do the massage, it's just the notification of the solution. For details, either
get the book or look up Youtube videos for SCM or sternocleidomastoid massage.
You can do all the massages in the book yourself, you just have to be careful
about the arteries in the neck. "
I have been in anguish the past 6 months with the same driving symptoms. The simulated highway driving sensations of moving backwards (especially at night), the bouncy, floaty feeling in the head, tired eyes, the fear is the worst. Like JavaJulie. I'm trying everything. I'm 49, very fit and have a very healthy lifestyle. I'm so grateful to find you all. I know how debilitating this is. I will post what helps if I find something. Have already seen the ENT, PCP, Naturopath, Acupuncturist (which helps some) still undiagnosed, will see the Neurologist this week. If any of you have a diagnosis please share!!! Thanks:)
I have been experiencing this also for two months. It has been a nightmare! The floating feeling, tunnel vision, like I have no control of the car, only being able to drive 30mph, highway and interstate not even remotely possible, like I could black out at any time. after finding this site I went to my chiropractor - he adjusted my neck and also did the SCM massage yesterday- I can't believe the difference in just two treatments. I actually drove home- 35 minute drive - on the highway going 70mph and never had to pull over nor did I get the panic feeling- It is a miracle for me. Im not all the way better but huge difference. I am so thankful!!
I have/had similar issues...
Do a lot of you spend time on your computers, iPhone/Android, Tablet? Scrolling through countless websites or pages of FB, Twitter.. Swiping Tinder, POF?
I strongly believe this may be causing a problem for A LOT of you.
It's not good for your eyes to be constantly doing that. It's like standing near a busy roadway watching every car that drives by for hours on end. The Blue light from these devices is also terrible for your eyes as well. You can download F.lux for your home system which helps to block the blue light. Avoid TV shows or movies that change camera angles rapidly.
Disconnect as much as you can for a week and get some good sleep and see how you feel I know for me it made a world of difference.
Did you ever figure out what was the problem?
I am experiencing the same symptoms, and my MD said it is anxiety.
If it's possible, please share.
Does anyone know the cause of this? I am also experiencing this, a sensation the car is tilted to the left when I am driving on highways/freeways. I have to roll the window down and have complete silence. It's terrible and very scary.
Hi I am new here, but have been dealing with this for almost 2 years. I also have occasional situational panic attacks outside of the ones I get from driving vertigo. Has anyone else had luck with the SCM massage? I have also looked into EMDR therapy. Would love to know if anyone here has made any progress. So glad to find you all!
Try SCM massage. Search YouTube.
Please try SCM massage for your neck.
I got cured.
I have had all these same symptoms and tried a variety of things to resolve them. Just curious has anyone also experienced this same issue in the grocery store?
I have a similar problem, but apparently not as bad as most I have read on this thread. I experience dizziness while driving, although it doesn't happen every time, doesn't matter if I'm on a highway or side road, and doesn't matter if it's day or night. I'm pretty sure mine is due to fluid in my inner ear as I have allergies and sinus problems. I have no idea why it only hits me when driving. I can be a passenger in a car all day long with no problem. The only time my dizziness has occurred when I wasn't behind the wheel was after coming home from a cruise vacation (I continued to experience the rocking motion for a month) and during a recent vacation where I was at high altitudes. I was wondering if anyone has tried Dramamine and if so, was it effective at preventing the dizziness?
Update on previous April 2015 post above concerning SCM trigger point massage. At first I got a lot better just by massaging the trigger points in the SCM muscles. A couple of months later it got harder to make go away. Now it is also triggered by upper back muscles, trapezius. A dull ache will go up the back of my neck to the base of my skull and feel very tight. It is caused by trigger points in the trapezius muscles. Above the top of the shoulder blades and along the inner edge of the shoulder blades down to the bottoms of the blades. And along the spine in between the shoulder blades. The low spot down near the bottom of the shoulder blades can cause a hot flash across the middle of the back. These trigger points are connected to the ones in the SCM muscles and they can set each other off. They are very stubborn to release using the "ball on the wall" massage. I have a lot of years of poor posture to correct.
I find I need to not slouch, try to keep my head back over my shoulders (back and looking straight ahead or slightly down, not looking up and not chin jutting forward). Look up "upper cross" syndrome or "head forward posture". And try to relax the shoulders while driving and not hunch them up. One other thing that seems to help a lot is to tilt the pelvis slightly toward the back (belt buckle lifted up a little).
Even if none of this works for you, for many years I was able to keep driving on the highway by keeping my head held back against the seat headrest. Then there was no dizziness until I wanted to look around for lane changes, etc.
As most of us have stated, I thought I was the only one and thought I was going crazy!! I also have always been the driver. The first incident I had was driving from SC to NJ. After driving for about 7 hours or so, all of these symptoms started hitting me out of nowhere. I felt like I was in a video game or hypnotized. I right away began to have a mini panic attack and all I saw was if the car was not moving and I was all the white lines from the highway coming at me very fast (again, this made me think that I was going to lose control of the car). I ended up pulling over right away and my wife took over from there.
A few weeks later, we had to drive down go SC again and of course this was still in the back of my mind... Will this feeling come back again?!!!!...
Well indeed it happened again! It is extremely frustrating because I do not know what to do.
What also makes is worse is that I already suffer from anxiety. for a few years I've been trying not to take prescribed medication, I tend to treat it with balanced exercise and natural vitamins (L-Thenine) which helps tremendously.
Anyways, It has been probably about 2 months and I truly do not know what to do.
pleaseeeeeee Help... please e mail me at ArangoKB24 (at) gmail (dot) com
PS - We have to drive back to NJ next week on 7/15/15 and its already killing me. We would fly or even take a bus but our financial status is not the best right now.
Please read my comment. You have a hope. I almost gave up. But I think I found the cure! It is a true story.
I am 40 years old now.I used to love driving. My weird dizziness started on November 2013 when I was in a passenger seat while my friend was driving. It was very sudden but very obviously the dizziness were there.
I used to drive fearlessly for 23 years but all of a sudden I became disabled. Even when I drive 30-40 miles per hour, it was struggling for me and made me so dizzy and I had abnormal visual feeling like a tunnel vision. Driving became a nightmare since then. I stopped driving highway for over one year and six month.
I went to ENT(Ear, Nose and Throat), eye doctor, brain MRI, blood work, acupuncture, Korean traditional medicine, chiropractor and neurologist.
Everything was normal. No doctors couldn't figure out.
On Thursday(June 4th, 2015), I went to a different ENT doctor in a big hospital in the downtown hoping for an answer my ear is the problem but got out with disappointment. Nothing was wrong the doctor said. I am a single mother. It was so devastating to experience this crazy symptom not knowing the cause or clue. On the same day, I researched internet out of desperation and found interesting comment above. That was new. I went to a book store and bought the book "Trigger point therapy workbook" by Clair Davies. I watched several youtube video of STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID (SCM) trigger point massage.
I had nothing to lose and was going to try anything to be better. I tried the SCM massage(Please search google where to find SCM in you neck) right away several times a day very diligently for four days. Since the next day, I felt more than 50% better and today I accidentally went into high way and drove for 4 miles without stopping. I couldn't even imagine to drive on highway before because even for local road with 40 miles per hour was struggling for me for long time. Today I can excitedly say my dizziness for one year and six months were gone more than 90%. I felt normal for the first time.
I was so excited and so was my son. I really hope many of you can be cured like me. It was so simple and so easy to fix it. Current medical system was far beyond to find a cure or cause easily which is sad. However, thanks to some brilliant doctors like Travell & Simons and therapist like Davies, the author and her father, and someone like a normal person who took time to write a comment for other people, I think a lot of people will be relieved from this confusing dizziness.
I am so happy. I feel like I am reborn again. Try this massage today and if you got cured, please write a comment and spread the words for others!!!
Oh! Cinnamon! Oh, I think that could be a factor...
I *did* start pouring on the cinnamon back a couple/few years ago for the health benefit(s).
In fact, just this morning, I had Two frozen Trader Joe's waffles with the stuff--and I am feeling a little dizzy now. Granted, I have other factors involved:
--been playing more video games last couple days
--not used inhaler for two days (I take breaks from chemical inhalation)
--not exercising much last 36 hours
What I am also thinking:
++cutting out gluten really helps; no dizziness/foggy headedness
++keep blood flow regular: exercise; not being lazy; get Up!
++calm myself before driving, and start out Slow; go my own pace
And now I am about to ditch the cinnamon. Thanks for the input!
About a year ago, I was driving down the highway and all of the sudden, I had flashes in front of my eyes, i got really dizzy and felt like i was going to pass out. I had to pull over. I was shaking after that of course, because I went into panic mode. I had my 9 yr old son with me and I thought i was going to crash. Every since then I would have small episodes when driving, it is mostly when I am stopped at a red light. Then for about 4 months, i didnt have any symptoms, it felt GREAT! Then one day all of the sudden I pull up to a stoplight and it happens again. first it feels like my eyes are sensitve to the light, and then i feel like i am going to pass out, then comes the panic. I am on exffexor XR for panic attacks anyways, ( I have been on the meds for 10 years or more, they really help me) so now I pretty much have to talk myself thru a panic attack every day while driving. I cant drive far at all. If i come to a stoplight I like to be in the very right lane in case I need to escape and pull over because of an epsiode. After it passes, I am shaky, nauseous and I just want to cry. I hate feeling this way, I use to LOVE driving everywhere, now I can't even hardly make it to work......I wish I knew what was wrong. Its tearing me apart. I feel helpless...good luck to all of you.
I have had this problem for more than 13 years and I just recently discovered what causes it and how to fix it. For most of you who have posted about the dizziness while driving, if you have ruled out inner ear problems, then you simply need to massage the muscles in your neck to remove the knots. The knots in these muscles send mixed up signals to the brain about the position of your head. This sounds like wacko kook stuff, but it is that simple and it is amazing. I highly recommend that you get the book "Trigger point therapy handbook" (blue cover by Davies). It is cheap and it has excellent illustrations about which muscle knots (trigger points) cause pain or tension in different areas, and in this case, also dizziness and vision problems. The book also explains how to avoid accidentally massaging arteries (never massage a pulse).
The muscles you need to massage are called sternocleidomastoid, or SCM. They are on the sides of your neck and run diagonally from the base of your skull behind your ears, down to the front of your collar bone. There are two on each side, sternal and clavicular. The sternal one is the one that is more forward and to the outside, nearest the skin. The clavicular is deeper inside and harder to massage. It takes a couple of weeks of practice to be able to easily get ahold of all the areas that can have trigger points (tenderness), especially down low where they connect to the collar bone. They feel kind of thin and stringy where they attach to the collar bone but if there is any pain in them when you poke around down there, you have to massage those areas some more so it goes away. Don't do too much too soon. It's easy to say, but hard to do, because you want the problem to be fixed immediately. This post doesn't tell how to grab them or do the massage, it's just the notification of the solution. For details, either get the book or look up Youtube videos for SCM or sternocleidomastoid massage. You can do all the massages in the book yourself, you just have to be careful about the arteries in the neck.
There is massive improvement immediately but it has taken almost 3 weeks to have completely normal undizzy driving. It takes a while to get almost all the trigger points to not feel any pain when giving the muscles a squeeze all along the entire length.
You probably also have some sort of neck, tension headache, shoulder or upper back pains or tightness that can be solved with the trigger point massage.
After getting started on the trigger point massage on the SCM, the hard part begins... Trying to improve posture, stop leaning or thrusting the head forward, clenching the jaw, continually looking to the side, etc. I also started sleeping on my back to take the strain off the neck, but it was very difficult to find the right combination of pillow or cushions to not have low or mid back pains and it makes snoring worse.
Over the past 13 years I have been to a general practitioner, three chiropractors, a neurologist, ear/nose/throat specialist, the Yale Balance Center, two sleep specialists (I have narcolepsy), and had neck X-rays and MRIs. None of them identified or helped the problem. No more paying specialists to solve a problem when they can't even figure out what the cause is. The information is out there. All the trigger point (also called myofascial) reference guides state that clavicular SCM trigger points can be associated with dizziness. You would think that the Yale Balance Center, which specializes in dizziness, would know this. They did not know what the cause was and diagnosed central nervous system disorder and wanted to prescribe drugs used for migraine.
Has anyone figured this out yet? I feel like everything is coming at me so fast and it's mainly my peripheral vision causing me issues with this. At night when I try to sleep I feel like I am floating sometimes.
Candi.Malburg (at) gmail (dot) com
I am so glad that I am not alone. It started happening to me at the end of Summer 2014. I was driving along a familiar highway, and all of a sudden I felt like I was on a roller coaster; very dizzy, almost losing control of the car. weeks before that incident, I had just driven 12 hours for a family trip, and did just fine. I loved driving and could drive anywhere, now I have a hard time just driving to my job which is only 10 minutes from my home. I went to the eye doctor, and found that I needed glasses for driving in order to see clearer, so I thought that wearing them would help, but it hasn't. I do have plans to see a Neurologist, with the hope that it will help, but will it?
I think I know what you're talking about when you mentioned "road hypnosis", with regards to your dizziness. My sister-in-law had mentioned something similar to what you described. I believe she's looking into neurological services to try and help with her current condition. It's amazing at how much more we're learning about the brain. http://www.neurologist-losangeles.com/Neurology_Center_Los_Angeles_CA.htm
I've been suffering from this sort of disorientation for about a year. I thought it was only during highway driving but I noticed the dizziness occurs when I'm stopped in traffic too. Forget trying to pass a tractor trailer. That leaves me sweating and unable to think. It's an absolutely terrifying sensation. I shake for several minutes afterward and assumed it was anxiety. I've tried to regulate my breathing with not much improvement. I've noticed some trends within the comments here and wonder if hypothyroidism is the common offender. I do have a couple of beers each night and have coffee every morning. I can stop doing both. My doctor told me it was anxiety and put me on Prozac. I d/c in a month because it wasn't improving enough for me to counter the poor side effects. When I'm at work, alone in a room with a patient, I'm sitting on a swivel stool. If there's any sort of movement in the stool, I get extremely dizzy, extremely fast. I feel as if I'm falling. If I stand, I'm okay. If I'm watching a movie with a lot of action and stimulation, I get the same sensation but it's less severe because I'm cozy in my bed. My worst fear is passing out at work in front of patients. I'm going to follow this group to see what else is suggested.
I'm thinking of all of you.
I used to be a ROAD WARRIER, however more than 12 years ago I had a panic attack while driving on a long distance trip. It landed me 3 days in a hotel unable to gep behind the wheel. My aged mother had to come to my rescue, thank god. Anyway, my issues tend to come and go and I have linked them to my menstral cycle, I think it has to do with estrogen and testosterone levels, however, my blood work cannot confirm. My driving is such a problem for me, as my main office is far away. Anyway, I cannot drive over bridges, wide open highways etc. I feel as if I am falling and become very nervous. I bought some spray from Dr. Oz show, but accidently sprayed it in my eye during an episode, which forced me to pull over. I do better on back roads but do not like when there is no shoulder It has put a damper on my life and wish it would go the heck away for ever. I want a cure!!!! How about driving school? Any suggestions?
I have had the problems described in this thread for years now. It doesn't happen all the time but enough to worry about it.
This is a real problem that deserves some attention for medical research as it is dangerous because it is really happening to people you are sharing the roads with.
Any luck?? I have been having the same issues for almost 2 years now. I have had every test known to man done and everything comes back good. I have been thinking it has something to do with antidepressants, as this all started shortly after being prescribed one, but dr has changed to 2 others and I am still having the problem. I never even considered the clindamycin gel but now that I think about it I was prescribed it the same visit as the antidepressant when all the symptoms started and still use it.