What are the non-pharmacological treatment options for motion sickness?

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

Discussing the symptoms of motion sickness often precipitates the condition and frequently increases the symptom severity in persons with mild symptoms. Patients should attempt to reduce as many other noxious stimuli as possible. Avoid any noxious stimuli such as odors, particularly the smell of emesis or hydrocarbons. Avoiding alcohol and other nausea producing substances is essential. The cessation of nicotine ingestion can reduce symptoms. Caffeine may increase some patients’ nausea. Controlled breathing has been shown to suppress symptoms in mild cases. [11]

Patients should avoid becoming dehydrated, getting too cold, too warm, or any other sources of discomfort.

A small study has suggested visually induced motion sickness may be allieviated with pleasant odors. [12]

The importance of psychological and emotional factors on the experience of motion sickness cannot be overlooked. Patients who have anxiety about other portions of their travel experience are much more likely to report the sensations of motion sickness as extremely unpleasant while those individuals who frequently overcome unpleasant noxious stimuli often report motion sickness as a minor inconvenience. [13]


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