Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Saturday, April 04, 2009 ab8, Community Member, asks

Q: Need help to combat running-induced vertigo, nausea

For the past 3 months, whenever I try to run I get very dizzy and nauseous. When I stop, I vomit or dry heave and it feels like the world is spinning. After I lie down for an hour +,before the vertiginous feeling goes away. The feelings of nausea and dizziness last for several days afterwards. I always eat before I run and drink enough water. I have had a normal MRI. My blood pressure was normal. I am not overweight. I have never had this problem before. It happens even if I try to run for 5 minutes. My doctor gave me a motion sickness pill but it did not help. I saw a neurologist who thought that this behavior fell into the category of a migraine variant--a variation without headaches since I do not have headaches. I have no history of headaches and there is no history in my family. However, I have not been told what I can do to stop this problem. Please let me know what you advise. I do not run anymore because of this and I really miss it and do not want to give it up.  Thank you.

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Answers (6)
Teri Robert, Health Guide
4/ 9/09 5:01pm

ab8,

 

Migraine is genetic. That said, it's possible that it's in your family history, and you don't realize it. Many of us find people in our family history have had "sick headaches" or "sinus headaches" that were actually Migraine. That said, if you doubt the diagnosis, it's advisable that you get a second opinion.

 

If this turns out to be Migraine, there are different types of medications that you can try before running to avoid these episodes.

 

It is, however, very important that your diagnosis be correct. There are other issues that can cause you to be dizzy and nauseated when you run, including high blood pressure, cardiac issues, and others. It's possible that it's not neurological at all. Has your primary physician checked for any other causes of your symptoms?

 

If you discover it is Migraine and your doctor isn't able to help you, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

 

I wish I could give you more specific information, but there are too many possible causes of these episodes. Please let us know what happens?

 

Good luck,

Teri

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Sylvia Witherspoon, Community Member
10/11/09 7:35pm

I have exactly the same symptoms that you have, but no one has been able to help me. I love running and I run for an hour everyday, but a few days ago after the treadmill, I felt like pressure in my ears and then all the dizziness that last for days. This is the 3rd time that happens to me. I had stopped running for some time and then I try again, but after my body starts adapting and sweating a lot it happens to me over again. The last time before this it was realy bad, I could not walk at all, I vomit every time I tried to lie down, I was so scared! I do not know if it is that my body is loosing salt or what? I am so desperate cause I love to excersice, I am in perfect conditions, I am not fat, I have been running all my life, but suddenly this happens. I don"t think this vertigo is normal, but is not an infection or non of the causes from normal vertigo, it only comes after I run. I will only walk from now on, I think it has to do with the sweat, something my body is loosing that I am not able to recover, I had had electrocardigrams, vertigo medicine, I drank lots of gatorade after excercising, but nothing seems to help. I am not sick, I do not get it. If you find something here that helps I would apreciate it a lot. I just bought a book with vertigo excercises to see it it helps.

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Anonymous, Community Member
4/30/10 10:10pm

I was wondering if you ever got better? I have the same issue, had had all the tests (MRI, etc..), have seen 4 specialty doctors, and it looks like I have finally figured it out..but we'll see. My brother has a similar problem and we compared notes, and it looks like it an ALLERGY!  An intolerance to histamines, which can often be misdiagnosed as Meniere's disease because it creates similar symptoms. SO..I am starting a histamine free diet for 4 weeks to see if that fixes the problem.  Like you, I love to run; but, I am unable to run outside.  After 12 minutes, I get vertigo and nausea, and if I try to push through it, I throw up.

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Tracy, Community Member
5/30/10 3:09am

What is the name of your Doctor? My Husband has these symptoms - he is a runner - he has lots of allergies. But this problem has been diagnosed as Menier's disease. Menier's disease is what they call it if they can't figure it out. It's really a non-diagnosis.

 

Thanks (in advance) for your help!!

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Anonymous, Community Member
5/30/10 6:04pm

Well..my histamine free diet didn't work, but my Drs still believe it is an allergy of some sort. Looks like I found a name for the condition - it is Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops. It is caused by a fluid imbalance in the inner ear sac that has electrolytes.  When the fluid is out of balance, due to sweating from running, it causes dizziness and nausea. But the underlying cause can be from an allergy or autoimmune disorder, or damage to the inner ear. I am now seeing an allergist in NYC and he's put me on steroids to atack the allergans. AND we are analyzing what changed in my environment to cause an allergic reaction....

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Tracy, Community Member
5/30/10 3:05am

Your symptoms are Menier's Syndrome - or related inner ear disorder. See an ear-nose-throat specialist.

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Teri Robert, Health Guide
5/30/10 11:10am

Tracy,


-:¦:-•:*'""*:•.-:¦:-•*Welcome to MyMigraineConnection!*•-:¦:-•:*'""*:•.-:¦:-

 

Please keep in mind that although the symptoms described here MAY be those of Menier's, they can also be Migraine symptoms.

 

Nobody, even a doctor, can diagnose via the Internet. So none of us can diagnose or give medical advice here.

 

Welcome again,

Teri

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Tracy, Community Member
5/30/10 11:37am

True. Great site, by the way.

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Teri Robert, Health Guide
5/30/10 11:41am

Thanks, Tracy!

 

Teri

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BT, Community Member
10/ 4/10 11:24pm

This clearly is NOT Meniere's disease.  Your symptoms still seem to me to more consistent with a hypofunction of one side of your vestibular mechanisms.  If the organs of balance are sending unequal signals to your CNS, this can often result in feelings of dysequilibrium, nausea, dizziness, etc.

It's also important to know that these symptoms can also potentially come from dozens of other places.  An ENT that "SPECIALIZES" in dizziness can be helpful, but I would recommend a physical therapist who has advanced training in vestibular rehabilitation.  Also understand that to recalibrate your mechanisms of balance, it takes a significant commitment to performing head and eye movement ex's up to 4-6 times per day for several mins.  Good Luck!

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masj99, Community Member
10/11/10 7:20pm

I have been searching for someone with these symptoms to find a cure... I have the same sypmtoms... Use to run marathons and can now barely go 5 mins without the dizziness. & then when I stop I throw up & it takes a good 3-4 hours before I recover. It is excruciating! I had brain scans and blood tests to find nothing. Finally a physician told me it was my inner ear; Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and gave me the some exercises to do. The Epley Manouvure. I am not convinced of this yet. I can do Beep test, spin classes, play basketball, netball, even run on a treadmill for hours but cannot run outside. I might try the histamine free diet (will have to look it up). I suffered allergies (hay fever) as a kid so this may help. My symptoms always start at the exact same spot when I run too. Possibility? I will give it a go! Will do anything to run outside again :))

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bexa7, Community Member
2/ 7/11 4:57pm

WOW, I can not believe there are other people out there like me. For a year I have been searching for this website and found nothing.

 

I, like many of you, have been a runner forever. About a year ago, I began getting incredibly dizzy when I ran...many times to the point of confusion, vomiting, everything. I saw a cardiologist who told me i had "exercised-induced low blood pressure" and began giving me salt tablets. They don't help, and I am left helpless. I ran a full marathon in November, 2009 and can't run 2 miles now without having this issue. 

 

I am a young, healthy girl and this is such a set-back for me.

 

I can also do spin, run mile after mile on a treadmill, etc...and won't get dizzy. It only seems to be when I run outside. 

 

The only other exercise I felt this with was swimming....

 

Any suggestions, or anything new since you last wrote? 

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ShirlyD, Community Member
3/ 9/11 10:46am

Hi,

 

I have the same symptoms! It happened years ago, then I took a break from running. I started up again last fall, but the dizziness came back this summer. Now I can run about 2 miles and I get lightheaded and dizzy. I can run on the treadmill (did 6 miles last week), bike, swim, hike, etc. But I can't run outside. I saw a lot of docs about this when it happened the first time and they found nothing. Neurologist thought it was migraine. ENT thought allergies. I do have sinus pressure only on the left side but CT shows nothing. I saw Dr. John Oas (now in Ohio before). I talked to him a month ago and he referred me to Dr. John Carey at Johns Hopkins. Going to see him in April. Have you had any luck? It's really aggravating!

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Anonymous, Community Member
3/21/11 7:53pm

Just wondering if you (or anyone else here) has had any luck with this mysterious condition. I did figure out that if I stop and walk for 2 minutes, then I am able to run 1 mile at a time.  The only problem is that, in the winter, it is too cold to walk...so I've been on the treadmill all winter. In September, I was able to run a half-marathon but I had to stop every mile sometimes more when the dizziness/nausea came on.  My time was 25% slower that it used to be..

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osfan4life, Community Member
10/19/11 6:33pm

How did your referral with Dr. Carey go? My husband was referred to him for a second opinion. He has been told by his ENT he thought he might have Superior Canal Dihiscence (basically a hole in the skull near the ear canal). He referred him to Dr. Eisenmen at UMD Medical who confirmed that. Before getting the surgery, husband wanted a 2nd opinion, went to Carey who says try diet. I am not a fan because the migraines have been around, but the running induced nausea and vomiting is new and only running-induced. Anyway, I can understand wanting to make sure you want to do a surgery but I don't see any other real solutions that have worked. It is the internet though, maybe I'm missing something so far.

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ShirlyD, Community Member
10/20/11 9:20am

Dr. Carey also thinks I have SCD, but it's not clear cut. The bone looks thin, as opposed to a hole, but the MRI and CT aren't 100% definitive. The results of my hearing test with dampening don't support that there is a hole - my hearing is great - and that test should show something. He also suggested a diet change, but cheese, wine and chocolate are my favorite and they never caused problems in the past. I really feel a lot of pressure in my left sinus and feel there is something wrong there and I've always thought that was an issue - the first time I got this I had a sinus infection on the left side. But, on the positive side, I just got some new shoes that help roll my foot forward more, reducing concussion, and ran with them for a little over two miles (longer than I usually can) on soft grass and I didn't have a dizzy episode. Does your husband have trouble running on a treadmill?

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ShirlyD, Community Member
12/21/11 2:32pm

I am currently trying a chiropractor for my running vertigo. I am going to an upper cervical chiropractor (very different from a regular chiro). He took xrays and my neck has a reverse curve and some mild arthritis. He has had cases in which the improper alignment of the 1st vertabrae has caused vertigo. Mine is the first running related case. He thinks it is a possibility that improper alignment could cause nerve trauma when running on hard surfaces, make the brain think I am spinning. Reversing the curve and regaining proper alignment is not immediate, but within the first month, re-alignment has made a big difference in helping some other nagging issues (one-sided sinus pressure, headaches, etc.).

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osfan4life, Community Member
1/ 2/12 11:36am

Hey Shirly,

 

Glad to hear you're finding some relief! Hope things continue to improve!

 

I think the hardest thing about this issue is that it's different for everybody. Husband is now 2 months out of surgery for SCD, where his one canal was blocked, and in the past 2 weeks he has gone jogging 3 times. He says he still feels dizzy when running, but it's over when he stops running and isn't experiencing nausea. He's also able to continue working on a computer after he runs (he jogs at lunch), which would have not at all been possible prior to surgery if he attempted running even a short distance.

 

Good news is there are things out there that work, just have to find what's best for you! Good luck to anyone having these symptoms!

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team18, Community Member
1/18/13 2:21pm

Did your husband have surgery with dr carey? I cant believe he was jogging after 2 months! Hos has the recovery been till now/ are all his issues resolved?

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osfan4life, Community Member
1/18/13 2:38pm
He had surgery with dr eisenman. He is great now! Runs 4 days a week and bikes 5 days a week. ( The first time he biked outside after surgery he did crash from bein dizzy but he was with a friend rhank goodness. He is fine now and has been for most of the past year.)The dizziness he felt while running went on for a while, maybe 6-8 months? It was a different way less severe feeling than presurgery, he could run but felt a little wonky for a while. But it tapered and now he is fine. Reply
Runner777, Community Member
4/17/11 6:54pm

Did anyone figure this out yet? It seems that there are so many people with the same symptoms and progression (going from running fine outside to totally limited to indoor equipment). I am just starting out with the whole thing: ran several 12-milers outside last summer, got my first "episode" in late November and chalked it up to cold weather and breathing differently. I plan to run my first marathon in 4 weeks and have done most of my training on the mill. I wonder if it really is something with the eye/brain communication, since I notice that when I run on the mill, my eyes are fixed on the TV or the display while outdoors things are shaking up and down. I didn't notice that before since I would always run outside. It's like the mill training de-programmed my brain to forget how to run outside. I went through a series of theories from blood pressure issues (negative), to hypoglycemia (negative), to caffeine migraines (negative-but still testing), to watching how I breathe... last successful run outside was last week, 9 miles with 2 walk breaks at mile 3, going about 1 min slower than usual and eating bagel pieces with H2O during those walk breaks. I was able to finish and felt OK, a bit woozy after the finish sprint. Now I am really nervous about the marathon, because I have days when I can't even run 2 miles and have to call my husband to come and get me. Please, if anyone has found a solution for this, please let me know. I have a feeling that the MRI route is totally a waste of my time and money.

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Vinod, Community Member
7/18/11 10:57am

I just started having the same issue. However, I don't feel any dizziness when I am running. It usually comes the next day. The day that I run, i feel fine. The next morning, I may feel fine. The next day after that I usually feel vertigo when I move my head in certain ways. I have only had this happen to me twice. I ran the Atlanta Peachtree 10K race, and this was the hardest I had ever pushed myself. I experienced these symptoms the days after that. I used to run track (short distances) in high school, but now I am trying to adapt to run longer distances. After a 4 or 5 days when my vertigo symptoms went away, i tried running again. This time I did 8 miles without any problems. But the vertigo started up when i move my head in certain ways after day two after running. This time it is taking longer for it to completely go away. One other symtom I noticed this time was that I felt sinus pressure for a couple of days. I took some Ibuprofen to relieve it for the two days that it was pretty bad. I am a very fit person in general. BMI is great. I have had physicals every year for the last four years, and no issues. I go to the gym and do weight training, but I want to get into running more....hopefully outside.

So my internal medicine doctor suggested I go and see a Ear Nose Throat Specialist. I have an appointment on the 25th. After I talk to that doctor, I will post what he/she says.

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Vinod, Community Member
7/29/11 9:48am

So I went to go see a Ear Nose Throat Specialist about my vertigo problem that i usually get after running long distance. I explained to him that i do not get it while i am running, but after a day or two after the running. He said it is most likely something called BPPV. It is a common vertigo that many people have. He explained that the three semicircular tubes in the inner ear have some microscopic hair that sense the stone moving and send the signal to the brain that there is movement. The stone is a bone in the semicircular tube that rolls around. So he said that the hair folicles sometimes break and this causes messed up signals. He gave me physical therapy for this, no real medication. He said also since i do have some sinus issues after running, that I take some anti histamine. he prescribed some only because it may be cheaper than the OTC stuff, but it is basically the same. he asked me to do the physical therapy - it is called "Cawthorne Head Exercises for Dizziness". Look it up. He asked me to do this 3 to 4 times a day and then return in three weeks. 

I am back in the gym now, have not started back up running yet. My vertigo is still there slightly.....but i have learned to accept it since it is not a show stopper. it is easier to deal with when i dont freak out about it, and just roll with it. I will start back up with running next week and see how it goes. If it is bad, i may just stick to the gym...which still allows me to feel great and be in good shape. Thats all i have....if you guys learn anything else, please do let me know.

 

thank you.

 

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NJ Steve, Community Member
1/12/12 4:29pm

My symptoms are very similar. Twice now, I have gotten such motion sickness like symptoms the morning after a long run (both times during cold days where my nose was running a lot during the run). I also got the symptoms a third time but it was maybe several weeks after I had increased my weekly mileage a lot (during the summer).

 

I do get motion sickness very easily but it usually goes away the same day and almost always after a night's sleep.


I also have the bad habit of blowing my nose hard, especially when running and trying to do it (blow my nose) quickly. I wonder if this added pressure on my inner ear is what is causing the problem. Seems to fit with the information you relayed about tiny hairs breaking.

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By ab8, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/06/13, First Published: 04/04/09