Open and/or Bumpy roads = Vertigo = anxiety attacks

Over the past 5 or so years, I’ve noticed tendency to get speed wobbles on wide open roads during descends. I’ve also been experiencing the same effect when descending on bumpy roads.

I don’t however, get affected by fast descends when the road is surrounded by trees, which allows me to go as fast, if not faster.

I’ve already gone through the whole “need to work on relaxation” technique and that never got me anywhere.

What I’ve also started noticing is that I get a mild vertigo and general dizziness when doing my workouts in the gym. However, I only get that if I stare in a distance without focusing on anything particular. If I turn around and stare at a wall instead, the dizziness does not happen.

I’ve decided to read up on this and from very limited time I’ve spent doing this research, I found that this is quite a common thing and is caused by inner ear, which is the one responsible for vertigo.
It can also be caused by brain either not getting enough surrounding information (open roads) or too much information (bumpy roads, clothing isles in the shops, etc).
With some, it even causes full on panic attacks, and those folks get put on mild anti-depressants in addition to therapy to get over it.

I am really curious if anyone had done a substantial research on this topic and if you’ve gotten anywhere with it. Someone like Coach Chad, perhaps ?

Thanks and sorry if my rambling didn’t make any sense.

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Like this?

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That’s cruel @team_bunty!!!

In response to OP, I’m not sure if it is the equipment you are using? Can you post a photo of your bike please and take us through your set up. I assume it’s a road bike you are using?

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I’d post my bike’s set up (yes, it is road), but over the course of 5 years, I’ve changed it million times and that made a squat of a difference. Never an issue on roads, surrounded by trees or hills, but always on wide open ones.

I seriously get anxiety attacks after getting a vertigo to a point that at one race, I’ve had to stop to calm myself down.

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Interesting. I have had many issues like this over the last few years. It is a pretty complex, wide open issue that could be related to ears, eyes, brain, among others. For me it was exacerbated by a recurring viral infection in my brain. I saw ENTs, eye doctors, and a neurologist.

Your wide open roads and staring in the distance make be think it is related to your field of focus. For me, I get it when I change from close to far focus too quickly (think looking down at a device and then looking up).

Lots to say about it, but if you were interested in sussing it out, I would start with an ENT to see if it is anything physiological (e.g., crystals in ear). My symptoms were severe, limiting my ability to work, to be in public, and to generally live. And a neurologist with the right imaging, and detailed, holistic assessment was how it was finally diagnosed. My ENT experiences, beyond the simple tilt table test, were less good.

A proper diagnosis is the first step. Good luck.

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Thanks and sorry to hear that! Kinda puts my “issues” in perspective.

What is ENT, if you don’t mind me asking ?

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No worries - was just trying to frame that it can be a wide spectrum of causes and outcomes. Mine is under good management now.

ENT = Ear, Nose, Throat doctor. They are usually the first person people refer you to with vertigo.

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Ah that makes sense. Thank you! I may book an appointment with my GP and see what he says.

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Sorry about your trouble. I am an ENT, one thing I’ll definitely tell you is that not all ENT’s are created equally with regard to evaluating and treating dizziness. Most, once they figure out that you do not have vertigo, will pretty much pass you on. So when you see one, please make sure they specialize in vertigo and dizziness.

To be clear, vertigo is a one word synonym for “I see the world spinning around me.” It is the exact same visual sensation as sitting on a spinning merry-go-round. Vertigo gets suppressed by staring at a fixed point and is usually from the inner ear. Dizziness can be debilitating for sure, but is a more general term.

Sounds like you need formal balance function testing as a starting point. An ENT will often order that in evaluation of troublesome balance issues if there is a suspicion of inner ear or brain sources of imbalance. Neurology eval can be helpful too but they generally will want to see the balance testing results first.

Good luck!

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