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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: sea sickness, ear distortions

 moses - Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:48 pm

Here is the background: 2 years ago I woke up and felt a little "sea" sick, I thought I was just coming down with something. Later that day while driving with my son, I kept hearing a "whooshing" sound when I turned my head. I kept asking my son if he could hear that and he said no. Eventually I realized it was in my head, not a sound I was hearing, but a distortion of sound when I moved my head. Before this incident I was working a lot with my arms for about 4 weeks straight, physical labor, hammering, lifting, over my head lifting and hammering, my arms and hands would get swollen at night and ache really bad.

A couple of months went by before the "sea" sickness and ear distortions appeared again, this time only lasting a day like before ( again it was after physical labor with my arms and I woke up with the sensation ).

Long story short, this bizarre "sea" sick feeling and ear "whooshing" sound has gotten more frequent, basically every time I use my arms, vacuuming; emptying the grass bags from the lawn mower, washing windows, basically anything using my arms sets it off. The symptoms never come on during or right after the activity, but rather they are there when I wake up the next day. The worst I've had it is when it lasted a week, I felt sick to my stomach, dizzy, ear whooshing, sensitive to light, shoulder pain, swollen hands, a thick feeling down the back and both sides of my neck, and a soreness / tenderness to the left of my right shoulder blade.

I've several doctors, had EMG, MRI, chiropractor, with no avail. I believe some sort of nerve compression is occurring, the activity causes swelling that compresses some nerve(s) that go through my arm/shoulder/up my neck and maybe by my ear.

I had carpel tunnel surgery a year ago, that was done because my hands kept going numb.

Any ideas what might be causing this would be greatly appreciated, I'm at my wits end, my doctors have given up, and this is really affecting my life, Please, any ideas I could follow up on or have something looked into.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:06 pm

User avatar Hello -

Given the detailed history including what's been done diagnostically, my best guess would be that the extended use of upper body (especially arm and neck) musculature caused some sort of pressure inury, perhaps to the baroreceptors in your neck (directly below the ears). While this sometimes would cause lightheadedness or faintiing, it also could account for vertigo (or the faintness is mixed up with vertigo). The work also could have increased pressure on or in the inner ear near the same location. At any rate, there are some other tests which could (and should have been) performed to see if you can be provoked into vertigo (electronystagmogram or ENG), as well as an exam of the vasculature and muscles of the neck -- and not just an EMG. A cardiologist may even become inolved if the vertigo angle doesn't pan out (which it probably would) to see if your "seasickness" sensations are actually vertigo combined with lightheadedness caused by damage to one or both baroreceptors (nerves which control blood pressure). Problems with this apparatus often cause the "whooshing" sound or a pulsing of ambient noise inside the head.

This is my best guess, which is the only thing we can do at a distance. Hopefully you'll be followed up with these tests and something will get clarified. If so, please do let us know. Good luck to you.

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