Cause of vertigo?
April 2, 2012 10:24 PM   Subscribe

I've noticed that my threshold for spinning and swinging and just generally moving quickly can make me extremely dizzy. Is it middle age creeping up, or am I just out of shape? Or both?

I've been thinking about this for the past few months because I was at the park with my young son and we were on the swings together, and I began to get very dizzy when I swung as fast and as high as I could get. I mean, it was just a freakin' swing. But I had to stop. And just a few weeks ago I was at an amusement park with said child on the merry-go-round, and again with the dizziness. In my defense, it was a faster than normal merry-go-round, but still. At age 10 I would've spent all day on that thing; now I could barely stand 3 minutes of it. It seems to be spinning in particular that gives me vertigo.

As for my health, I just turned 39, and I suppose I am in moderately good shape. I walk quite a bit everyday, and run a few miles once a week or so. I do have crappy eating habits and eat a lot of junk food, and am perhaps 10 or so pounds overweight. So is it my age, is it my health, what say you, Internet doctors?
posted by zardoz to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 22, in overall great health (according to my doctor), and this has been happening to me progressively over the years. I noticed a few years ago that doing a headbang as a joke gave me a massive headache. Swinging too much makes me sick, roller coasters make me feel like I'm literally going to keel over and die of exploding brains.

Have you had any concussions? My theory is that I've had 1-2 concussions in my life, and they're known to reduce your tolerance for head injuries later on. But I'll be following this thread because it's not one of my favorite things either.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:03 PM on April 2, 2012

All the mums in the park have noticed this. We put it down to old/middle age.
posted by taff at 11:23 PM on April 2, 2012

It's all about the ears, and your ears change as you get older, not to mention seasonal congestion and whatnot.
posted by rhizome at 12:26 AM on April 3, 2012

Seconding might even have an ear infection or just waxy buildup...if you hang around kids a lot, the odds go up...time for a checkup at the ear doctor.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:02 AM on April 3, 2012

I get this too. If I try to swing with my kid on the playground, I get nauseous instantly. I have read that it's simply an age thing. Something about our equilibriums being more sensitive as we mature.
posted by gnutron at 4:02 AM on April 3, 2012

I'm 41 and I've noticed this in the past few years too. I've got a couple of young kids who love things that spin. I find that I get much dizzier than I used to when I was younger. But the time I take to recover when things stop spinning is about the same. I chalk it up to age.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:26 AM on April 3, 2012

Yes, +1 to all the above. I used to love roundabouts and rollercoasters as a kid, but I went on the waltzer with my daughter last year (age 40) and I felt terrible for a good hour afterwards.
posted by crocomancer at 5:20 AM on April 3, 2012

I've noticed this since my mid-twenties - it' definitely age-related for me. My husband still loves rollercoasters, but I can't stomach them anymore! Swings get me woozy, too.
posted by Maarika at 5:28 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Age. I can't swing or spin at all without nausea and I'm in doggone good shape.
posted by unixrat at 6:23 AM on April 3, 2012

I came to agree from experience that yes, it's something we tolerate less as we age (I'm 43 with a four year old so this is all recent experience for me, too).
In my case I suspect it also has something to do with my eyes. I had corrective muscle surgery on my eyes as a child and have really bad floaters as well... they're kinda loose in their sockets so swinging and spinning, even the slightest little bit makes me dizzy in the head.
posted by No Shmoobles at 7:12 AM on April 3, 2012

You might want to teach yourself to spot, as dancers do when they spin. The same technique (keeping the head pointed at a focus spot) can help on swings too (works for me). Not recommended for rollercoasters, though: spotting really fast spins is impossible (that's why ice skaters don't spot).
posted by Wylla at 7:19 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're comparing age 10 to age 39, and your center of gravity has changed, maybe that leads to instability, then dizziness, etc.?
posted by ArgyleMarionette at 7:59 AM on April 3, 2012

(ok, then again, you're talking about a swing, not a stand-up merry go round on the playground, so maybe not!)
posted by ArgyleMarionette at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012

I mentioned this in passing to my kids' pediatrician and she actually gave me a long explanation which was basically, as your ears mature you get dizzy more easily, something something, and that's why kids get more ear infections. Something about the shape of the tubes or something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2012

I'm 35. My tolerance for spinning, swinging, sliding and rocking has declined drastically since hitting my 30s and/or having kids. I can't even watch other people spin or swing without feeling queasy. I used to love rollercoasters. Welcome to middle age and/or motherhood.
posted by ellenaim at 10:02 AM on April 3, 2012

I was just chatting with a physical therapist about this yesterday. Yup, it's aging, most likely, specifically your inner ear and mumble mumble getting all dry and old and not working right any more mumble I forget exactly what she said.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:07 PM on April 3, 2012

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