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Motion Sickness: Why It Happens

6:02 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Does just the thought of reading in the car make you sick? How about driving down windy roads? Roller coasters make you want to run the other way?

Not everyone gets motion sick. But why not? We asked Christine Weaver of Cone Health Systems to explain. She is a physical therapist and a balance specialist.

"Motion sickness happens when two of our sensory systems disagree so our inner ear is say we are not moving as much as our vision tells us and it can make us feel nauseous and vomit sometimes."

To show us how the two can disagree, Weaver showed us the "smart balance master". It's a machine which creates a situation that the systems disagree to see how our brains work through that.

"This machine its telling us right now that her feet are not moving but her visual system is getting alot of stimulation so her inner ear and her feedback fron the ground and her visual system are disagreeing right now."

Weaver goes on to explain that brains handle that disagreement in different situations and children tend to get more motion sickness then adults and also women or people that had migranes tend to have more motion sickness as well.

So, what's happening when we are in the car? "When we are sitting in the backseat and looking out the window we are getting alot of visual information as things pass by us. Our inner ear usually just detects changes in movement so if we are going at a constant speed those two systems really disagree. So if you are in the backseat the best thing to do is try to look straight out front and stare at the horizon." 

There are exercises you can do to help train your body to deal with the motion. And there are medicines as well.

Christina Weaver, physical therapist, is presenting the Spin on Vertigo Thurs 6/27 6:30-8:00. Registration is required, however, the cost to attend is free.
The class will be held at Cone Memorial Hospital, AHEC classrooms 29-31.
Please contact Jennifer Leonard to register at 832-6698.


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