The brain gets an instant report from your ears, eyes, skin and muscles and tries to put together a total picture about what you are doing just at that moment. But if any of the pieces of this picture don't match, you can get motion sickness. Motion sickness is often attributed to lack of synchronicity between what the eyes see and what the ears hear. For e.g.: During driving your eyes and ears are working cooperatively, or sitting in the front seat where you can watch the road. Motion sickness occurs when the body is subjected to accelerations of movement in different directions. In motion sickness the sense of balance and equilibrium is affected.
Conflicting Messages: when we walk, the input from all three pathways is coordinated by our brain. When there is unintentional movement of the body, as occurs during motion when driving in a car, the brain is not coordinating the input, and there is thought to be discoordination or conflict among the input from the three pathways. It is hypothesized that the conflict among the inputs is responsible for motion sickness.
Age: Children suffer more from motion sickness than adults and usually adults over 50 rarely suffer from motion sickness.
Racial and Genetic Differences: As you may have observed some families suffer from motion sickness more than others, there is also a racial difference which was shown in a medical trial. The Asian-American children suffered the most motion sickness, 100% of them and it was so bad for some of them they asked to leave the trial early.
Pre Trip: Many times the previous 24 hours are the reason for motion sickness not the journey itself. Hangovers, over tiredness, anxiety, minor illnesses all contribute to motion sickness. A heavy meal, full of fat and possibly over spiced does not help either. Too many carbonated and or alcoholic drinks can unsettle your stomach which will make you more sensitive to motion sickness during the journey. Therefore if you are not fit, rested and healthy you will probably suffer more motion sickness than you usually do.
Symptoms of motion sickness can include:
How to avoid motion sickness:
Anxiety worsens symptoms. Try to relax.
Another class of medications (belladonna) used to prevent motion sickness; this is applied behind the ear at least four hours in advance of the motion activity.
Motion sickness is just a minor annoyance however it may not feel so minor sometime. Some travelers, however, can be incapacitated by motion sickness.
(Sources: medicinenet.com, kidshealth.org, tripease.org, betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
(Image sources: travel-eat-sleep.com/do-you-suffer-from-travel-sickness/, motionsickness.net/aboutms.html, ehow.com/how_4480043_car-sickness-motion-sickness-naturally.html)