Am I too old for a swing set?
May 11, 2004 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Last Sunday I took my 7-year-old niece to the park. She said, "Bet I can swing higher than you." I said, "Bet you can't," and started swinging. I then got the most horrible, sickening, head rush/spins and had to stop. I tried repeatedly to swing, and even experimented with keeping my eyes shut, to no avail - got the head spins every time. Then later I went down the slide and got the same physical reaction, though not as intense. I've never had a problem with swings or slides before. What could this mean?
posted by orange swan to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Obviously, your niece put the whammy on you so she could win the swinging contest.
posted by blueshammer at 6:10 PM on May 11, 2004

Sinus/ear infection causing inflammation and pain?
posted by crunchburger at 6:30 PM on May 11, 2004

Um. This seems out of the league of AskMeFi. I thought User Number 1 was concerned about the liability issues. Besides, any symptom prefaced by "most horrible, sickening" sounds like reason enough to pay an immediate visit to the doctor.

(Of course if you're just idly curious about a few potential causes, there's always Google...)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:33 PM on May 11, 2004

A developing inner ear infection can mess up your internal gyro. See a doctor. You don't want this to come on spontaneously while you're at the wheel or climbing stairs.

And don't sue Matt if you wind up in traction :)
posted by scarabic at 6:48 PM on May 11, 2004

Viral inner ear infections can cause this, often without any other symptoms. Usually it will subside after a few days, a week at most. If it continues, that may not be the problem, so you should go see a doctor.
posted by kindall at 6:56 PM on May 11, 2004

I'd say it just means your rational mind suddenly realized that playground swings are typically hung from worn-through eyebolts that could snap at any second, throwing the unsuspecting victim high, high through the air, to plummet down upon the picket fence.

At least, that's why I don't get all into the high-swing contests any more. It's not that I'm afraid of heights. Nope.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 PM on May 11, 2004

You're getting older. It happens.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:29 PM on May 11, 2004

Response by poster: I've never been in the least afraid of heights, so it isn't that. And right, I'm getting older, but I don't see how turning 30 could suddenly make me completely unable to swing or slide when at 29 I could do so quite happily.

The inner ear infection might have something to it, though I've no other symptoms. I thought it might be low blood pressure, so I went to a drugstore machine on Monday and had it tested - 94/53. From my Googling, I understand that's just a bit lower than the normal bracket.

Well, I'll try swinging again in few weeks, see if it happens again. Meanwhile I can stick to climbing on the jungle gym:-)
posted by orange swan at 8:43 AM on May 12, 2004

Best answer: ...I went to a drugstore machine on Monday and had it tested - 94/53.

This could potentially be an answer (or partial answer), and it could be something similar to postural hypotension. This article is interesting on PH. I have naturally low blood pressure (though not as low as yours), and I occasionally experience postural hypotension, as my BP goes down when I stand up. I kind of like that dizzy, spinny feeling :-)

This is only a possibility, but maybe on that day your BP was lower than usual. Had you eaten recently before your experience? Circulation tends to flow more heavily to your stomach after a meal, which can exacerbate feelings of dizzines or vertigo.

In short, you probably should get it checked out, especially if it happens often. But, if your doctor says your low blood pressure is healthy (as mine is), and he is not concerned by occasional episodes like this, then you probably don't need to be concerned either.

By the way, since you have low BP, if you ever give blood or plasma, my suggestion is to eat a very salty snack before hand and drinks lotsa lotsa water. This will push your BP up so it does not drop so far when your blood is depleted, and you will be much less likely to feel dizzy or pass out afterward.

Hope this helps a little!
posted by Shane at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2004

Response by poster: I think you might be right, Shane. I had just eaten a large meal before going to the park as it was Mother's Day and we had our usual family do.

I do have a history of fainting, which I have had checked out. They tested me for epilepsy and the test results were inconclusive - they found "non-specified abnormalities" in my EEGs (and yes I have just handed all you snarks a golden opportunity), so they could neither rule it out nor determine definitely that I was epileptic. I don't donate blood just in case, as epileptics are not supposed to donate.

I'm wondering if the fainting and dizziness I do occasionally experience upon getting up too quickly really might be explained by BP problems. Come to think of it, I have problems in certain elevators also - like the ones in Toronto's BCE place. Oddly, my BP always has been fine whenever a doctor has taken it.

Well, I'll try to monitor my blood pressure regularly and see if it's consistently low.
posted by orange swan at 9:45 AM on May 12, 2004

If it is healthy low BP, then a little occasional postural hypotension or dizziness is normal. You might even try the salt/water trick the next time you feel dizziness (minor dizziness, not major, which might require attention!) and see if it relieves you. A positive reaction would increase the chance of your blood pressure being involved, establishing a possible correlation. This stuff is interesting!
posted by Shane at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2004

Response by poster: Very interesting. And despite the fact that Matt does have some understandable concerns about medical questions on AskMe, I'm quite glad I asked this. Here I am with a 20-year history of fainting once a year or so, and among my several GPs, my neurologist, and my two sisters-in-law who are RNs, no one was able to give me any answers on what caused it. Of course I don't know that this is the answer, but it is a theory that fits all the facts and that's more than I can say for anything proposed by the medical professionals I've consulted. I'll look into it and find out if it really is the answer.

Thanks, Shane, and everyone else who contributed.
posted by orange swan at 6:58 PM on May 12, 2004

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