If your head is spinning, it could be vertigo and not the breathless scenery
In the travel and fitness special, here is all that you need to know about vertigo – the causes, symptoms, treatment and vertigo exercises for cure.
The first time that I felt my head spinning around me was when I was in Ladakh. I thought it was due to the breathless landscape surrounding me. On a serious note, I had been warned of altitude sickness and I felt that I was probably not getting properly acclimatized to the heights there or maybe it was due to lack of oxygen.
However I noticed that every time I travelled overseas, there was a sense of tingling sensation in my ears along with spells of dizziness and I attributed the same to jet-lag. But when I slowly started losing balance and I found myself being affected by similar symptoms that I realized that it was something completely different. I went to my physician and that is when I was diagnosed with early symptoms of vertigo. The doctor clarified that it was not just due to heights as most people confused vertigo with acrophobia, which is the fear of heights.
Vertigo is usually characterized with some dizzying spells, tingling sensation in the ears but mostly it is a feeling that you are off balance. You can also get prolonged bouts of migraine affecting you. When I was initially diagnosed with vertigo, I did not realize that my migraine was due to that. Even the bouts of dizziness after a long flight was due to vertigo. My doctor explained that the main cause lay in the functioning in the inner ears.
As travelers, we do not pay attention to the slightest discomfort that we get as we are often lost in a beautiful landscape or we immerse ourselves in cultural experiences. But maintaining health on the road is a pressing concern for most of us. It is important to realize that vertigo does not always affect you only when you are up in the mountains or you are looking down a skyscraper. You can get affected even when you are in the plains or walking down the street. Some of these symptoms of vertigo barely last for a few minutes that we probably do not even pay attention or are even aware of that we probably have a health condition. Sometimes, I have felt my head spinning even while I am walking, I have strangely felt being pulled to one direction.
However, I did not let this bog me down. I have been told that there are simple exercises that can help you treat vertigo even on the go. My doctor taught me a few and I do a bit of yoga as well to bring back balance but technology has come to our aid when you cannot find a doctor near you.
There are mobile apps like VertiGo Exercise App which are even recommended by doctors today and they have simple exercises that you can practise anywhere, either at home or while you are on the road and they help you reduce these symptoms to a large extent.
However if your symptoms are getting a little more aggravated like blurred vision, nausea, loss of balance, dizziness and a sense of swaying or lightheadedness, then it is better to see your general physician and get a thorough check up done. But some simple dos and don’ts are also recommended to help you deal with the health condition.
I do not listen to loud music especially on my headphones and neither do I work on a computer or read in a fast moving train. It is not advisable to drive if you have constantly dizzying spells or even head out during rush hour. I never travel without my sunglasses as it helps me deal with the bright rays of the sun. I also suggest that you ensure that your sinuses are constantly checked and if they are blocked during a flight journey, do simple exercises or breathing techniques that will help you feel better.
This year, my focus has been primarily on health and to bring back balance in my life. While some health issues need more time and attention, it is important that we don’t let them deter us in our travelling goals. But for that, we have to be aware of what is bothering us. So, do not ignore that niggling sensation in the ear or if you feel that your head is spinning. You may be high on life but it could also be that you are have vertigo.
This post is written in collaboration to create awareness for vertigo.