Vertigo After Flying: Management & Prevention

There are many people who suffer from vertigo after flying. If you are also one of them, then this article is going to be an essential read for you.

A Brief Note On “Vertigo After Flying”:

Vertigo refers to the imbalanced gravitational force, whereby the affected person feels things around them move constantly. This is generally caused by an imbalance between the ear and the brain. It may last for few hours, days, or even months. The sufferers experience several symptoms like, nausea, a spinning sensation, blurred vision, vomiting, dizziness, earache, inability to balance, and inability to walk normally. Usually treating vertigo includes antibiotics, exercises, medications and sometimes even surgery.

There are a lot of situations that may cause vertigo. One of the causes of vertigo is Airplane travel. In fact, many people are concerned about flying while they are dizzy. This is because they know they may feel more dizzy or suffer from vertigo attack after flying.

Vertigo After Flying

Flying does two things; it may induce motion sickness and it may also stimulate the ear through pressure fluctuations.

In small planes, vertigo may come from either or both the mechanisms. However, in larger planes, the main risk from flying is from the pressure change in the cabins.

How To Manage Vertigo While Flying?

Vertigo after flying can be mostly due to the pressure fluctuations in the cabins. So, you can try to manage vertigo by avoiding flying, especially when you have a cold or your nose is stuffed up. However, if you have to fly, you need to keep your Eustachian tube open during the times when the pressure in the cabin fluctuates, that happens mainly for 30 minutes just before landing. Simple ways to open the Eustachian tube include swallowing or chewing gums.

Below are some ways to manage pressure fluctuation and treat vertigo from flying:


Decongestants like decongestant nose drops (that are available over the counter), may be beneficial as it help by opening up the nasal passages. These preparations are, however, not recommended in people with hypertension.

Antihistamines, such as Dramamine can also be taken before getting into the flight and it may help manage pressure fluctuations by keeping the Eustachian tube open. Meclizine is also one more antihistamine that can help in this situation. Using nasal steroid for several days before flying may help quiet down the symptom of vertigo.

Ear Plugs:

Ear plugs can also be useful. There is a commercial product branded “Ear planes”, which is an ear plug that lets the air slowly into and out of the ear canal. This simple device is helpful for many people who suffer from vertigo while flying caused by pressure fluctuations in the cabin.


You can also avoid pressure fluctuation problems by having a tube placed in the ear drum. However, this is a “last resort” procedure, as it requires minor surgery and may also make the person more prone to getting infections.


Physiotherapy can also help in preventing vertigo. Your physiotherapist can train you in synchronizing movements of your eyes and hands and legs so as to combat the feeling of spinning caused due to vertigo. Regular sessions of physiotherapy can enhance overall coordination of your body and help you regain your balance amidst the spinning sensations or sensation of constant motion with vertigo.

Some Preventive Measures for Vertigo:

  • Do not look up or down immediately. Coordinate your movements and slowly raise your head or bend your shoulders.
  • You can use multiple pillows to elevate your head slightly higher than the rest of your body. This can prevent occurrence of vertigo.
  • In case you need to pick up anything from the floor, do not bend directly, as it can cause the blood to gush to your brain. Instead, lower yourself using your legs and then try to pick up the things. Avoid bending to an extent where the head is below your shoulders.


It is essential for you to note that in case you notice any symptom of vertigo after flying, you need to consult your doctor immediately and get yourself diagnosed and treated. You can also visit a physical therapist who can help you to co-ordinate your hands and eyes to gain balance, where you suffer from vertigo.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 16, 2018

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