Alright, I apologize up front for the "nature" of this discussion, but I'm hoping my Strabby brothers and sisters can help provide answers that none of my "real" Dr.s have been able to provide (and not without plenty of consultations, mind you!).
So ... I'm into my 5th week of Vision Therapy, and I'm also an A+ student when it comes to my daily "homework" (monocular Brock String exercises, etc.). While the changes in my eye teaming/fusing have been subtle, I've noticed a much more substantial change in the past month ... I'm always nauseous! OK, I know what you're thinking ... and, I've thought the same thing, but 3 pregnancy tests have ruled out that option! After several Dr. appointments, (all of which have ended with, "There's nothing wrong with you"), I can find no logical explanation for my constant queasy stomach and lack of appetite.
So ... as a last resort, I'm reaching out to my VT buddies to pose the question, "Have any of you ever experienced nauseau as a result of vision therapy?" Is there any correlation between my ADD eyes and my upset tummy? Looking back, it seems that my tummy troubles coincide with the beginning of vision therapy. Could it be ...?!?! Or, should I just stop worrying and be grateful that I no longer crave that chocolate brownie?!?
Have you ever been motion-sick? You are on a boat looking about while bobbing up and down, your brain is not sure how to interpret the sensory input coming in, and so you feel nauseated. I think that happens in vision therapy too. As your eyes are moving in new ways and your brain is trying to interpret what's going on, you feel nauseated. Often when I push myself with vision therapy, I get the following symptoms: sweating, tremor in my right hand, butterflies-in-the-stomach or slightly queasy feeling. If all of these symptoms are mild, I push through them and interpret them as an indication that I am arriving at a new spatial interpretation of me in my surroundings. But if the feelings were strong and uncomfortable, I would back off. You may be pushing too hard. But this is only a guess.
Our sense of “Where am I?” is made up of 3 primary parts of us; Vestibular, which is our inner ear and balance system, Proprioception, which is our sense of where our body parts are one in relation to the other and Vision, which is our spatial processing system. Motion sickness and nausea are symptoms of mismatches between the three systems.
Another interested connection is the nervous system that controls the focusing system in the eye is the same system that controls our digestion.
Your nausea is a sign something is changing. Since you are currently in VT you are trying to change something. Congratulations it is working. The persistence of the symptom just means you have not totally changed or integrated things in a way your brain is comfortable with yet. It is very hard to test for because we can only look at the parts and the parts by themselves look normal.
I also totally agree with Sue's advice on severity of the symptom. Don't quit now and go back to where you were.
Both Josh and I have experienced motion sickness after therapy sessions. Mine started happening when I first was using the Brock string, but got better with time. It also may be sinus related, as I was less nauseous after I got through a couple of weeks of experiencing sinus inflammation and drainage.
We both regard motion sickness as a positive sign. :-) And it does go away once our brains get used to the new inputs we are introducing.
I wanted to add a small distinction to everyone else's comments. I was nauseaus (spelling?) for much of the first trimester of my pregnancy and nauseaus immediately after many VT sessions, particularly the Brock String (I think because it bounces ever so slightly). However, the distinction I wanted to make is that the pregnancy problem is a metallic taste in the back of your throat that won't go away. At least for me, it was related to many smells and what was churning in my stomach (or wasn't in my stomach as the case may be).
I often told my VT that I got all of the discomfort of being on a cruise ship during VT, but didn't get to smell the ocean breeze. The feeling was sea sickness, not an expectation of a little bundle of joy. It was a vertigo type of thing and more related to how I was standing/sitting/observing the world around me.
If you are experiencing this VT type of sea sickness, one of the things that Dr. Dan (yea, Dr. Dan of Fair Lawn, NJ) did to help me was to tie both ends of the Brock string so that there was not even the slightest motion. I sat on my thick winter coat for the VT therapies at a workstation, and I took my shoes off when doing the standing exercises. He also would tell me when to open my eyes as I would keep them closed when there was motion I didn't have to observe. Dr. Dan would tell me if I was standing even the slightest bit crooked (apparently VT brought out my petulant inner ear child) I also learned to use a wider stance when standing (forcing my weight evenly on both feet).
For me, at least, these types of things helped. Standing even the slightest bit crooked made a bigger difference than you might think. I still think of Dr. Dan's patience as he (and the other therapists) taught me over the course of months how to sit straight with both feet evenly spaced. Who knew that it could make a difference, and it helped my hip pain, too (which is apparently a unexpected sideeffect of my vision problems).
What did not help in the slightest -- which was the only thing that really helped during my pregnancy --was to brush my teech with Colgate toothpaste constantly, even swallowing tiny bits to spread the smell in the back of my throat (having been a Crest fan pre-pregnancy) and suck on peppermint hard candies. That did nothing but give me good breath during VT.
What I am suggesting is that you see if you can adapt the therpy (with help from your vision therapist, of course) to figure out what your particular hot button is and see if you can press it ever so slightly with less pressure. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too. I hope so! (Making a food joke in this situation seems like bad taste (pun intended) but I hope you'll see I am trying to help.
(You'll need to read Pamela Kohn's first entry first and this one second) I wanted to add two more things that I tried that didn't help at all but might help you think of something for your exact situation: very cold wet washcloth on the back of your neck (helps my husband tremendously when he's got a gurgelly (spelling?) tummy, and standing with my butt touching a solid wall. You would have thought that this last one would have helped the feeling of sea sickness a lot but I think all it did was make things worse. It gave me more stability and actually braced me to lean to one side (which is something I've been doing much of my life apparently). VT interrupted that whole leaning to one side thing. The soles of my shoes wear more evenly now . . .
I can vouch that it's motion sickness and not morning sickness as I've been through both. One time I was so nauseous after an IMAX movie I spent an hour unable to move! Car sickness was a childhood issue, along with sailing ... and don't get me on "the scrambler" at an amusement park!
What works for me motion sickness, including VT induced, is anything ginger: gingerale, ginger snaps, candied ginger, the stronger the better. And I always ask for tonic water on flights. Peppermint tea is also good if not too sweet.
Pam, I will try doing Brock while NOT on the balance board. But it could be the balance board and not Brock that's a trigger ... who knows? I do know the best solution is to keep working through it. It does diminish with time as our brains adapt. Maybe some day I can sail without my ginger pills!
You did Brock while on a balance board? Bravo for you! I think my vision therapist knew that that would have put me over the edge. He never tried that with me (or if he did, I must have blocked it from my conscious memory).
Meanwhile, I wanted to thank you for the advice about ginger. I've become addicted to Bigelow Ginger Snappish tea (actually order it by the case since it's only in the stores seasonally). My golly! Doesn't that make you wonder if my taste buds were trying to reason with my petulant inner ear child?
You've just made another puzzle piece snap into place. Thanks so much! I'm not going to feel so weird next time I add candied ginger into the Ginger Snappish tea and guzzle it down. Maybe I am up to trying Brock strings on a blanace board after all!
LOL. you are not so weird, not at alll! "Squinty" Josh swears by ginger, too. And candied ginger in ginger snap tea sounds delightful to me!
My fav fix is Ginger People Ginger chews, which I buy at Trader Joe's. Intense! I eat half a chew at a time. Ginger Altoids are also sweet-hot.
But if the nausea is really bad, I swallow 3 ginger capsules (just the powder in clear gel caps.) These are a must when I sail. Discovered them years ago. Better than Dramamine!
Wow, you guys are GREAT! Thank you so much for all the great suggestions (my favorite is Pamela's suggestion to back-up your behind to the wall!) :) I'm SO relieved to hear that maybe I'm not crazy ... and, maybe I don't have stomach ulcers (as I had self-diagnosed myself after multiple Dr.s told me that I'm not pregnant and I don't have the flu!).
Now that I think about it, I get the exact same nausea when trying to read in a moving car ... I also got pretty sea sick while on a recent cruise. So, your theories of the "mis-matching" systems (thanks for the explanation, Dr. Bob!) makes perfect sense! And, if this is a sign that VT is working (or at least that my visual system is changing), then bring on the ginger!
However, is it "normal" that I'm nauseous nearly ALL of the time? Today, whether I was at church, on a bike ride or practicing my Brock string exercises, I had butterflies. It DOES seem to get worse immediately after my exercises or VT, but my queasy stomach is always present. Does this just mean that, no matter how or when my eyes and brain are not perfectly paired, and until these systems align, ginger will have to replace my chocolate addiction?!? Pamela, did your nausea get better over time?
Until then, I'm going to try all of your tips ... THANK YOU!