To manage persistent symptoms, it is important to reduce stress, be well rested and pay attention to your symptom triggers. Try not to panic, and always keep in mind that MdDS is not life-threatening.
- You are not alone. We are with you.
- There will be good days in addition to bad days.
- Listen to your body and brain and ask for help when you need it.
If you’re a caregiver:
- The most helpful thing you can do is say, “I believe you.”
Traveling by Car & Air
- For many, driving is better than being a passenger. The front seat of the car is better than the back.
- When taking long driving trips, stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs. A brief walk is good for balance as well as circulation.
- Choose plane seats in the front to midsection, the most stable part of the plane being just forward of the wings, to reduce sensing flight motion and turbulence.
- Try EarPlanes® or FlyFit® earplugs for air travel.
- Discuss medication options with your physician. Some physicians suggest taking benzodiazepines or slightly increasing your dosage prior to and for a short time after air travel. Benzodiazepines suppress the vestibular system and may help minimize the affects flights have on MdDS symptoms. While many support group members claim this course of action helps during travel, clinical studies are required to prove their effectiveness across the population of MdDS sufferers.
Computers & Work
- Some have found blue light blocking software and glasses helpful. iPhone users enable Reduce Motion.
- Have the fluorescent lights above your work area disconnected. Use incandescent table-top lamps instead. Consider switching out any fluorescent lights in your home as well.
- Maintain healthy ergonomics – posture, positioning of the chair, height of computer screens, and use of a headset or speakerphone.
- Ask for accommodations if necessary: a reduced schedule, working from home, different responsibilities, reduction in screen-time, etc. Check with your company’s human resources department to see what modifications could be made, and what steps you would need to take to receive temporary or permanent accommodations.
Diet & Exercise
A regular exercise program can be helpful in coping with symptoms and improving mental and physical health. Look for activities that keep your mind engaged while working out. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
- Many people with MdDS report weight gain if they find it difficult to exercise at the level they did prior to MdDS. Strive to eat healthy foods, limit alcohol consumption, and stay hydrated.
- When starting an exercise regimen, experiment gradually with capabilities.
- Walking or running while focusing on the horizon is one of the best forms of exercise given MdDS limitations. Some find walking sticks, hiking poles or a cane helpful.
- Some enjoy biking but may experience “payback,” a temporary increase in symptoms, afterward.
- Depending on your balance, consider dancing, exercise classes, basketball, and other activities that require a mind/body connection.
- Avoidance of gym equipment that involve repetitive motion is recommended, especially those which may create a sense of forward movement in the absence of actual movement: treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, Stairmasters, etc.
Household Chores & Cooking
- Don’t stress about what you don’t get done. Your mental and physical health are more important than a spotless house or gourmet meals.
- If shopping is challenging, look for grocery stores that offer shopping services with pick up or delivery.
- Keep meals simple and ask for help cooking, especially stirring and mixing.
- When picking up, do not bend down, stand up or turn in place quickly. Be mindful and take your time.
- Be careful loading and unloading the dishwasher and washer/dryer. The up-down and back-and-forth movement may trigger or elevate symptoms.
- Do not stand on step stools, chairs, or ladders. Ask for help.
Reading & Eyeglasses
- Some have found blue light blocking glasses helpful. Note that a change in shape may increase or decrease symptoms.
- Some have found it beneficial to hold their book or tablet at eye-level to avoid downward gazing. When your arms tire, it is time for a break.
- If reading flares symptoms, try audiobooks/books on tape.
- Shop during off-peak hours to avoid crowds. Avoid stores with bright fluorescent lights if possible.
- Ask a friend or family member to help you shop; having someone find items will allow you to get in and out faster and limit your reaction to aisles, crowds and bright lights.
- Online shopping is available for almost everything these days. When you shop with Amazon, remember to always #StartWithaSmile. By logging in to smile.amazon.com and selecting the MdDS Balance Disorder Foundation as your charity, Amazon will donate a percentage of most purchases to the Foundation on your behalf.
- When attending sporting events, the theater or other public events, get to your seat early so you don’t have to deal with large crowds. Ask your companion to help you as necessary and use the handrails when negotiating stairs. After the event, wait until the rush of people has dissipated before leaving your seat.
- If you aren’t comfortable going out right now, invite people to come to you – a neighborhood walk, hanging out, movies, take-out food, game night, etc.
Maintaining Emotional & Spiritual Well-Being
- Find activities that you enjoy to focus on instead of your symptoms: reading, music, movies, television, walking, exercise, writing, volunteering, crafts, religious services, clubs, social outings, reading, podcasts, meditation, etc.
- Recognize and appreciate what you can do instead of what you cannot.
- Don’t feel guilty about saying “No” or for not being able to do everything you used to.
- Remember you are not alone. Reach out to others that have MdDS and understand; join a support group.
National Suicide Prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
International Suicide Prevention Hotlines