Monday, December 29, 2008 Julie, Community Member, asks

Q: What is giving me this sensation that I'm falling?

I get a very weird sensation that I'm falling and/or slumping to one side. Makes me feel nauseated, and I'm not even sure it appears to others that I'm moving (slumping or leaning forward) at all. What is this from?

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Answers (7)
Merely Me, Health Guide
12/29/08 4:52pm

Hiyah Julie


I am not a doctor but this sure sounds like vertigo to me.  I have experienced what you are talking about.  With my MS, my right side is affected and I had weeks of falling over to my right side like gravity was pulling me down.  It is not a pleasant feeling at all.  And it can definitely make you feel sick.  My doctor explained that my lesions were affecting the part of my brain which controls balance. 


Health Central's Mandy Crest has written an excellent article about vertigo along with tips and suggestions.  You may read her article right here.


The National MS Society suggests the use of anti-motion sickness drugs such as Antivert and Dramamine.  They say if it is extreme...corticosteroids my be helpful.


I just kinda suffered through my bout of it and thankfully it did go away.  But you should definitely go see your doctor so that he/she can recommend something to get you through this.  I am so sorry you are experiencing this symptom.


Thank you so much for your question.  Hopefully others can chime in with their experiences and suggestions.

Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
12/29/08 6:59pm

Hi Julie,


I know that you have read my recent post Free Falling.  I get the falling/slumping sensation too.  It is most likely due to the location of my lesions in the c-spine as I don't have any significant brain lesions.  Part of it is a lack of awareness of where my body is in space, and part is due to an underlying weakness of core body muscles.


The difference is that I do not feel nauseated when I get this feeling, well most of the time that is.  I do, however, feel nauseated if my head bends forward to my chest even when there are no electrical zaps at the same time.  Odd, huh?


I wish that I had a better answer for you.  Oh, one more thing, I seem to recall that you have difficulty with sensory overload, especially through sound.  I have this as well.  Maybe we have similar lesion patterns.  Wink



Julie, Community Member
12/29/08 7:18pm

Merely and Lisa:

Thank you for answering this so quickly! I am so grateful for this Health Central network and the support offered here.

It makes sense that what I'm feeling is some version of vertigo. More commonly I feel that the world around me is moving; what is different with this falling sensation is that the world feels fine but I feel like I'm moving when I'm not. Sometimes I feel as though I'm about to hit the ground and then I snap out of it and realize I'm standing or walking completely upright. It's very disorienting.

I won't do anything about it at this stage since I'm not actually falling. More annoying than anything else.

Again, thank you!

Glory2God, Community Member
12/30/08 12:02pm

I have found that actually holding my purse perfectly vertical actually helps me walk with the vertigo. I guess it is similar to grounding me to the floor.  I would see a huge parking lot or the grocery store and I felt everything was moving. However, when I hold on to something while walking it helps.


Dr. Burk [Multiple Sclerosis: Diagnosis, Medical Management, and Rehabilitation by Jack S. Burks and Kenneth P. Johnson (Hardcover - Jun 15, 2000)] writes a great explanation regarding this. This is an excellent book. You can get it used for a reasonable price.


Often a cane or holding to a grocery cart helps for this reason also. It acts like a grounding mechanism to the floor.





Kelli, Community Member
1/ 1/09 11:14am



I am no expert, so take my answer with a grain of salt.  I was diagnosed in Feb because I kept having symptoms like what you are describing.  What I finally noticed preceded the sense of falling was a strong,but short muscle spasm in my left leg.  I know it sounds crazy, how can a spasm in my leg make me feel like I'm falling, especially when I'm sitting?

It wasn't until the spasms were happening every few minutes and the nausea constant that I was able to really tell my neurologist what was happening to me.

He put me on Tegretol and within 24 hours, the spasms stopped and I no longer felt like I was falling.  I take Tegretol every day or the spasms and the falling sensation return.


My best advice is to try to find someplace quiet when you feel the spells coming on where you can close your eyes and pay attention to what's going on with the rest of your body at the time the falling sensation comes.  It could be something happening in some muscles sending a goofy message to your brain.  Your brain responds with the feeling of falling.  Then, talk to your neurologist as soon as you can. 


I wish you best of luck.




MCD, Community Member
1/31/13 5:47am

I have the same sort of symptoms, and also get feelings of shrinking, when laying down, of in my side, and if propped up on my left elbow,
I caN BRING ON THE SYMPTOMS if I wiggle my left  foot up and down at the ankle.

I have spinal damage at C4, and lower spine also, and have only experienced these symptom, after recents falls

PHOBIE, Community Member
12/10/10 12:37pm

I know what everyone is saying-since 2002 I've felt like I/am walking to one side and dizzy.  I've been to numerous Dr's and numerous testing.  I'am so sick of Dr's and tests that show nothing.  Now I have a Dr who wants to put me on Nortriptiline and I don;t want it due to weight gain and no answers.  I'am not depressed and I want some answers.  I know how I feel-head fullness-dizzy-walking with sometimes hanging on to walls or corners of walls to balance out.  Now the head fullness is wired and now some leg cramps just sitting down,  My ears don't hurtm but some headaches off and on.  Can someone put me in the right direction to get help?

Ande, Community Member
6/19/12 7:14am

Why do I feel I am falling forward

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By Julie, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/31/13, First Published: 12/29/08