Showering Tips for Vestibular Migraine and Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

Showering with dizziness and vertigo can be scary and difficult! Many people with vestibular migraine and MdDS are overly dependent on their visual system to help them balance, and they feel lost in space (and often lose balance) when they close their eyes! The downward moving water, enclosed space, and head movements required to shower can trigger symptoms for many people. Here are some of our favorite strategies for feeling more stable in the shower.

  • Sit on the floor, a bench, shower stool, or plastic chair with grips.
  • Use a clear curtain to make it feel less enclosed.
  • Use a hand-held showerhead. it is helpful because you can control the flow of water, keeping it out of your eyes, sightlines, and allowing you to move the shower head instead of your head.
  • Wash your hair from behind so you can keep your eyes open for stability.
  • Press a body part against shower wall or use a grab bar. This will give your body some much-needed information, called proprioceptive input, to know that you aren’t moving. It will help your brain determine where you are in space, making you feel calmer and more stable.
  • Try to keep your eyes forward and head still. Keep your soaps and shower accessories at eye-level, so you don’t have to bend down or look up to reach them.
  • Use music, scents, and calming breaths to make it a more pleasant experience. Many people with VM and MdDS start to develop “shower-anxiety” because they know it triggers their symptoms. Creating calm or positive associations with showering (in addition to using the other tips above) can help you avoid a spike in symptoms due to shower-related stress or anxiety.

6 thoughts on “Showering Tips for Vestibular Migraine and Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

  1. I’ve found that once I can get past the initial adjustment of the shower (usually the first minutes is chaos but I grab onto the shower handle, breathe and let the hot water run down my head) then it actually can IMPROVE my symptoms that day. I don’t know if this is the same for everyone and might be due to the cervicogenic portion of my disorder, but something about that extra proprioception of falling water all over my head, plus the muscle relaxation of letting the hot water run down my head and neck, actually makes me walk out of the shower with less dizziness than when I walked in. I’m thinking it might be a little like what the Cefaly device does?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kimberly – I have vestibular migraines and I am the same with the shower! I have a clear shower door, a bar to hold on to and find turning around and letting the hot water hit my neck and shoulders is beneficial. I even do some of my neck and head exercises at the end of the shower and my day goes better when I do.
      Once my husband turned off the bathroom light briefly as a joke…I totally lost where I was and started screaming with a panic attack and he had to help me out of the shower. He was extra nice for a month and has never done that again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have Multiple Sclerosis and have been using a shower chair for years now since my balance seems to worsen if standing in the shower…. I’d rather sit than fall.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: