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Motion Sickness: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 20, 2024

What is the treatment?

Motion sickness is a very common balance disorder especially among young children. It is condition of the inner ear where repeated motion caused by a vehicle or any other movements disturbs the inner ear. It is also referred to as Sea sickness when travelling by a boat or ship. This condition develops when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the sensory systems, i.e- inner ear, eyes and skin pressure receptors. For example – when you are sitting inside a car without looking out the window, then the inner ear sense up, down, left and right movement while the eyes have a static view.

Motion sickness can be self diagnosed and the treatment consist mostly of preventive measures, physical exercises and some natural and home remedies. However, in case of extreme condition where the motion sickness cannot be controlled by preventive measures there are also some medications that can be used. Some of the most common and effective medications used to treat motion sickness are Scopolamine, Promethazine, Cyclizine, Dimenhydrinate and Meclizine.

How is the treatment done?

The most important point while treating motion sickness is to understand the root cause for the problem. The best way to treat motion sickness is to focus on preventive measures rather than curing the condition. The most common preventive measure approach is to synchronize the messages being received by your central nervous system and sensory system. That is to look outside the window or horizon in the direction of travel, this helps in re orienting the inner balance. Other common preventive measure include taking a nap or closing your eyes, fresh air, chewing gum or ginger which has been found to relive the symptoms of motion sickness.

Scopolamine is a patch that is placed behind the ear at least 6-8 hours before travelling. Promethazine and Cyclizine are taken 2 hours and 30 thirty minutes before the travel respectively. Dimenhydrinate is taken every 4-8 hours and it is also available as a chewing gum. Meclizine is taken 1 hour before the travel. Apart from these common medications, there are also other medications that are used in some very severe conditions. Some of which are Alprazolam, Diazepam, Ephedrine and some Amphetamines. All the above mentioned drugs can be both taken orally and in the form of injection as well.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you are experiencing continuous and persistent symptoms of motion sickness such as nausea, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, uneasiness and vomiting during travel, then you are eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Motion sickness is a very common condition that can develop to anybody and most often than not it gets treated on its own. So if you are having symptoms of motion sickness that doesn’t prolong then you must not treat it by medication.


Are there any side effects?

Since the treatment mainly focuses on preventive measures rather than a medical treatment, there are almost no side effects. However, if you are using medications to treat motion sickness then there are chances that you might experience some side effects only if taken excessively. Some of the most common side effects of motion sickness drugs are drowsiness and dry mouth. Other rare side effects that you might experience are indigestion, blurred vision and constipation.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Motion sickness is a recurring condition and again the post treatment guidelines also focus on preventive measures. One of the best ways of not developing the condition again is to do some head and neck exercises that improve the inner ear balance. You should also drink plenty of water in order to both counter dry mouth and constipation. You should keep yourself healthy and active so as to improve the synchronization between your nervous system and sensory system.

How long does it take to recover?

Motion sickness is a very minor condition that generally gets treated on its own. Even the drugs that are used to treat motion sickness give you instant relief from the condition. As for the side effects, they also don’t last for too long. In some very extreme cases, it might take a couple of days or even a week to cure motion sickness.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of the treatment in India is very low. Some of the most common medication for treating motion sickness starts at INR 10 and can go up to INR 200.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Motion sickness is a condition that can develop at any point of time to anybody. Even if you have treated it earlier with medications, there are high chances that you can develop the condition again. So the results of the treatment are not mostly permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

All the preventive measure and physical treatment are the alternative treatment for motion sickness. Acupuncture and acupressure are also very effective in treating motion sickness. You can also use homeopathy as an alternative treatment. Some of the most common homeopathic medicines are Argentum nitricum, Borax, Nux vomica, Cocculus indicus and Kali Bichromicum.


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Written ByDr. Shivam Malhotra Sleep Medicine(Training),MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery,MD - General MedicineGeneral Physician
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