Always Wondered

Always Wondered

Why certain people get motion sickness?

If you’ve ever been sick to your stomach on a rocking boat or a bumpy airplane ride, you know the discomfort of motion sickness.

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize.

According to neurologist Timothy Hain, MD, of Chicago Dizziness and Hearing at Northwestern University, motion sickness is caused by a conflict between the senses that are responsible for registering motion. If the eyes, inner ear, and sensory nerves in the skin are all sending different signals to the brain, all of the cross talk will leave you feeling dizzy or worse. “When there is conflict between one or more of these signals, for a sufficient time, this triggers motion sickness,” says Dr. Hain.
Much of what there is to know about motion sickness is fairly well-established, but why some people get it while others don’t still remains a bit of a scientific mystery. All we know for sure is that some people are more sensitive to the conflicting signals between what the body is sensing and what is actually happening in terms of motion.

Car sickness

Why some individuals feel dizzy or nauseous from reading while riding in a car or bus. “Their eyes are focusing on a steady (non-moving) thing, the book, but the inner ear senses motion, so your brain gets confused and you feel sick,” she says.

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