Trick your mind to ditch Mal de Mer (Motion Sickness)

Merhaba Hodophiles!


Imagine this, you are all set with your backpack stacked up with all your essentials, phone fully charged with your favorite playlist and the map to your destination memorized and engraved in your mind but as soon as the car starts to move through those curvy routes your body ditches you with the sinful co-partner named “motion sickness” turning your beautiful journey into an unpleasant one.

“Motion sickness” or “sea sickness” also known as “mal de mer” is a very common disorder faced by people while travelling on a boat, ship, car, bus and train. The repeated motion from a vehicle or any other movements that disturb the inner ear creates this woozy effect in our body.


The Root Cause:

In easy words, motion sickness is caused when there is an imbalance between what you see and what you feel. In harder words, motion sickness appears when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the sensory systems: the inner ear, eyes, skin pressure receptors, and the muscle and joint sensory receptors.

Motion is sensed by the brain through different pathways of our nervous system including the inner ear, the eyes, and the tissues of the body surface. When the body is moved intentionally, for example when walking, the input from all of the pathways are coordinated by our brain but when someone is seated inside a moving vehicle without looking out of a window, their inner ears sense movement up and down, left and right, while their eyes experience a static view, as if they are not moving at all. These conflicting inputs are responsible for motion sickness.

Motion sickness is also triggered due to fluid buildup in your inner ear or an ear infection as well as Parkinson’s disease can cause motion sickness.


Target Group:

Motion sickness is commonly seen in older people, pregnant women, and children between the ages of 5 – 12 years. Also, it’s common in people who have migraine headaches or run it in their genes.

It is not a permanent uneasiness, once the motion stops, the motion sickness stops. You’ll gradually start to feel better.


Symptoms:

The symptoms are categorized into 3 sections and can strike without warning getting worse quickly.


Serious symptoms include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Pallor or pale skin

  • Drooling

  • Short breath

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

Mild symptoms are:

  • Headache

  • Mild unease

  • Yawning

Other common signs are categorized as:

  • Sweating

  • A general feeling of discomfort

  • Not feeling well (malaise)


Diagnosis:

Motion sickness resolves itself quickly and doesn’t usually require a professional diagnosis. Most people know the feeling when it’s coming on because the illness only occurs during travel or other specific activities so they often are mild and self-treatable. However, very severe cases, and those that become progressively worse, deserve the attention and care of a physician with special skill in diseases of the ear, balance (equilibrium), and nervous system.

The doctor will do a physical exam which will include looking inside your ears and at your eyes and a set of questions regarding your health history and symptoms to find out the root cause before recommending treatment. Laboratory tests are generally not necessary to diagnose motion sickness.


Remedies:

The distressing symptoms of motion sickness usually stop when the motion causing it ceases. But this is not always true. There are people who suffer symptoms for even a few days after the trip is over.


The following remedies may help:


Play a staring contest with the horizon

Gazing out of the window towards the horizon in the direction of travel helps to reorient the inner sense of balance by providing a visual reaffirmation of motion.


Give your beautiful eyes a break

In case your luck doesn’t favor a window seat, it is helpful to simply close eyes, or if possible, take a nap. This halts and resolves the input conflict between the eyes and the inner ear.