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Feel dizzy and unbalanced while driving on the highways

I am 44 years old and being driving for years but unfortunately, for couple of years I started to feel dizzy and unbalanced while driving on the highways for long time at a speed higher than 90 km/h (55 ml/h) specially at night.  It starts by feeling flashes at my head and then the difficulty starts. This problem does not occur while driving in the city.  I visited the EN&T doctor sometimes ago and he said I do not have an inner ear infection.  I visited eye doctor and no problem too.  Then I thought of it as driving phobia and started to take anti depressant drug but unfortunately, the problem still.  This issue is irritating me and I do not know what to do?!!!
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Avatar universal
What is the latest on your condition? I have similar symptoms and these are being investigated but no solution as yet.
Avatar universal
I am female from Malaysia, 46 years old and I also have very similar problems and as u said it only happens when I drive on the highways at high speeds. No problem when driving in the city. I feel unbalanced particularly when the road turns right and then the sensation of losing my balance comes, to the point I have to slow down, sometimes to 50 km/h to take the corner safely. I also checked with ENT and Doctor said no problem with my inner ear. I have a feeling it could be due to either dry eyes or perhaps also my diabetes. The problem is I enjoy traveling in my car and this has definitely impaired my love for traveling. I really someone has some explanation to my problem.
Avatar universal
Hi.  Have you found answers yet?  Just wondering.
Avatar universal
I have the same symptoms. Were you able to find out anything?
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1 Comments
I went to a neurologist in Richmond, VA and he said it is a form of Vertigo. With mine when I am stopped at a light or in stopped traffic with my foot on the brake vehicles on the right seem to be moving forward and I feel like I am moving backwards at a heightened speed, but actually I  am not moving at all. I have found that if I either close my eyes for a second or look down the sensation of moving stops. It is extremely scary. The 1st time it happened my daughter was in the car with me and she thought I was having a heart attack because i was constantly pumping the breaks  because I felt like I was moving backwards and I was trying to stop the vehicle. I now don't do much highway driving because it may be difficult for me to move over or get off, but on local streets when I feel an episode coming on I can  move over quicky.by driving in I also have full blown Vertigo spinning rooms and all.right lane with no one besides.
Avatar universal
Hello fellow anxious dizzy drivers - I may have found a simple and free solution to our problems - BREATH - please read on: I'm a 30 year old male from New Zealand and have had pretty much all the symptoms of above posts, slowly getting worse over the past 6 years since I developed OOS and also put my lower back out when I was 24 (which was basically a result of terrible posture, weak core strength and a high pressure job with a lot of time spent at a badly structured computer station).

I was anxious about the symptoms, but they only became a debilitating problem for me at the end of 2009 when I had a panic attack while driving at high speed on the motorway. I was very stressed at the the time as I was intensively working on a feature film script and also about to get married!

I found this forum 3 or four months ago and began occupational rehabilitation therapy after reading the post about somatoform syndrome. This has been a big help with relieving the neck pain and building better postural strength so that I can actually sit in a healthy position while driving i.e. not slumped forward with my neck tilted and pinched at the back - basically retraining my body so as to get rid of all the old bad muscle memory.

But my big break through was when I went to a new GP recently for a check up. I had it in my head that I might have an inner ear infection and that might relate to the dizzyness etc, but alas no infection to blame - however when we discussed my symptoms of dizzyness, loss of balance, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, erratic heart beats etc she clicked that all the symptoms where text book HYPERVENTILATION SYNDROME. I have unknowingly been an "under-breather", which means I take tiny short breaths into my lungs. This under-breathing causes us to have a lack of oxygen and when our body doesn't get enough oxygen we panic and feel faint and dizzy - it's a primitive fight or flight type reaction, but it's very unhealthy to be living in a constant state of anxiety about fight or flight!

I have only just started to retrain my breathing technique but have already noticed that if I catch myself feeling dizzy I just need to start taking healthy breaths in and out again (simply put: 3 seconds breath into diaphram - not into chest - and 4 seconds out) I also plan to take up meditation classes to help with my breathing retraining and you probably should too, but in the meantime do a search for healthy breathing techniques/exercises and start practicing!

I hope this helps!
All the best
Luke
      
1 Comments
that did not work for me.  Though moving my shoulders a lot does help some.
Avatar universal
I too feel the same but i feel i know why it is this way.  At nights the roads are pretty dark at the first place and its very calm inside the cabin which after some times makes the brain activity weak, airconditioner even worsens the situation, iam sure the people who are facing problem are running the car with airconditoner ON.  The few old cars airconditioner produces small percentages of carbon monoxide which actually makes the person driving car drowsy, i would recemmond to roll down your windows atleast for 5 mins for every 30 or 40 mins of drive to take fresh air which you can clearly see the results and try to avoid to see opposite headlights directly, hope this helps.
Avatar universal
I too suffered from many of the same symptoms outlined in so many of the posts.  Over a year later, I'm able to drive without too much distress and dizziness.  While it is not perfect, I am no longer petrified of driving.  I'll give more of my details and bio at the bottom of the post, but here are the actions that I took to improve my case:

1) I underwent Balance Retraining Therapy.  This involved a number of tests and therapies, but the one that produced the best results was an exercise where 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.  I did this for about 3 days.  After 3 days, I performed this action twice per day, the second time the pace was quickened and the head didn't move as far. Similar to if you shook your head to indicate "no". Performing this action more than this does not help, in fact it can hurt. I saw a huge improvement after 3 day.
2) I started allergy shots.  I was having problems with seasonal allergies that resulted in sinus drainage.  This has helped a little.
3) I use a steroid nose spray before bedtime during the times of the year when pollens are at their worst and I experience significant sinus drainage.  This too has helped some.

All of my hearing and inner ear testing came back as normal.  No problems with blood sugar, pressure or any other test.  It wasn't until I took the balance tests where I was moving my head back and forth while starring at the dot on the wall did it become clear that something was amiss.  The dot was moving all over the place. As it was explained to me, balance problems can still go undetected even if the normal ear, nose, and throat hearing and balance tests are performed.  This was my case where I passed all those tests without identifying any underlying problem.

The other point to note is that balance is a combination of sight, inner ear balance, and to some extent, touch.  The "floating sensation" that you experience is a result of the brain unable to discern between what your eyes see and your inner ear detects from a balance standpoint.  As it was explained to me, when the brain cannot discern what is going on, it gives you that "dizzy feeling" because it can't figure out which input is correct.  The balance retraining therapy is to get the inner ear back in sync with what the eyes are seeing, thereby bringing the two into sync.

Just a short bio:  My problem manifested itself when I was 52 years old, although I had on and off problems before, usually when I was suffering from allergies. I'm a male in good health.I underwent all the testing through my ear, nose and throat doctor.  Like most of you, explaining this problem made me sound like I was nuts.  It occurred worse when I was driving on a multi-lane highway with barriers on each side faster than 50 mph.  There were occasions when I was very tired, the problem occurred at speeds as low as 35 mph. One side-effect is that I have a tendency to experience anticipatory anxiety.  That's what I'm battling now.  The way that I have worked through this problem is by driving on multi-lane highways when I'm feeling my best.  This reinforces (in my mind) that I can drive on these roads and be relaxed while I drive.  After 1 year, I'm just about over this problem, but I still have bad days due to sinus problems or occasional anticipatory anxiety where I think too much about the road where I've experience the problem in the past.  It is tough to forget those roadways where I've become dizzy and then experience an anxiety attack so bad that I could barely drive off the highway because I was violently shaking.

I hope that maybe my experience can help those of you who still suffer from this problem.  There is help. Search for "Balance Retraining Therapy" for a location in your area to see if they can help.  Determine if there is a correlation between sinus problems and days where the problem is worse.  Possibly a combination therapy will work for you too.  Best of luck!
2 Comments
SOLUTION!!  The floating sensation gets me every time!  For years it comes and goes.  Driving 75 okay for about 30-60 minutes then WHAM!  Road shift, unbalanced, stressed!  
The solution is to drive with your wrist/forearm area while simultaneously placing one or preferrably both hands on your dashboard.  It evens out the float and headchecks become doable! Not perfect but the best solution yet next to driving with my knees and hands off the wheel - not the safest thing but it does work.  I don't get dizzy when others are driving, just when I do.
Avatar universal
Hello all, as mentioned above, there is another post/thread on this topic and within the past 24 hours I have requested anyone who is still suffering from these similar symptoms to please let me know who you are. Once I have an idea of how many still are, I will post the steps to give relief to some or all of you. I will have a few questions to ask such as current medications and such, so please feel free to join me over here:
http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Neurology/Dizzy--and-Blur-Vision-while-driving/show/11737
Avatar universal
I've had this problem too I go to the dr in march. I also feel like my head will explode when I stand up at times
Avatar universal
I feel the same exact way and I am also a diabetic.
Avatar universal
Hi folks, I was driving home tonight on a 2.5 hour stretch and suddenly felt a "disequilibrium." I have had similar symptoms for years but it was intermittent so it is hard to trace. At first I thought it might have been some food I ate. Then I thought maybe it was the air conditioner. So I pulled over on the next exit and parked for 15 minutes and tried to breath deeply. As I drove home, it occurred to me that I was experiencing a LOSS OF DEPTH PERCEPTION (esp. since this "vertigo" occurs mostly at night, but not exclusively). I was able to re-train my eyes to look at signs in the distance and tracking them as they approach, then focusing on the next sign, and so on. In this way I was able to continue driving despite the "disequilibrium" I experienced. I hope this may be of help to someone next time they run into a similar experience!
Best regards.
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