Motion Sickness Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Oct 22, 2018
  • Author: Andrew Brainard, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

In an environment with a motion stimulus the diagniosis comes easily. In unusual cases, central causes of vertigo may need to be excluded. Patients can have cerebral vascular accidents and head trauma while traveling, and these diagnoses may need to be considered. Nausea in pregnancy may be falsely attributed to motion sickness. Atypical or vertiginous migraines can present in much the same way as some cases of motion sickness and other peripheral causes of dizziness may also need to be considered.

Other causes of discomfort should be assessed and should be empirically treated. Concurrent sources of discomfort, such as dehydration, sleep deprivation, hunger, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, intoxication, hangover, anxiety, depression, and heat and cold stressors, should be addressed.

  • CVA

  • Head Trauma

  • Pregnancy

  • Migraine

  • BPV

  • Dehydration

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Intoxication

  • Anxiety

  • Depression