why so hard to ride in car???

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tamsyn, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. tamsyn

    tamsyn Member

    Hi! I'm wondering if other posters with CFS experience great difficulty with car travel. I used to be a world traveller; now, with CFS, anything more than a two hour car trip knocks me off my feet. I have tried letting my hubby do all the driving, wearing ear plugs, keeping radio turned off, closing my eyes for parts of the journey to rest them, making sure I'm not hungry or thirsty...Our family members live further away than two hours. Visiting requires round trips of from 4 to 7 hours. I am often in bed relasping after these trips. I don't understand how 'just' sitting in a car can make me so spaced-out, shakey, fatigued, in pain, and overwhelmed -- like my central nervous system has been impacted. I'm not a nervous traveller -- l like driving, and I like seeing new places. But now I dread these trips, and 'pay' for every one with days of being ill. This CFS is really weird!! Anyone else??
  2. 3gs

    3gs New Member

    I have not been able to take a trip in car or plane for 5yrs. My family had xmas at my nieces an hr away and I had to stop going.

    The plane I could understand(partly because of not being able to plan). My family will say but its not that far. Maybe because of sitting,then the visit and ride home-too much.

    My niece who has fibro can do car but not plane. go figure
    This dd is really weird.
  3. Scapper

    Scapper New Member

    OK, I don't have any real answers, just a sort of guess from what my own body does to me.

    With CFS all of the "stimulation" -- visual, auditory, etc., exhausts our nervous systems. Plus, talking (this drains me tremendously, if I talk too much for too long).

    It has to be, right? I'm not as drained when I'm sitting in quiet, without the scenery changing, perhaps for the same length of time.

    Driving is VERY draining for me.....regardless of whether I enjoy it, my body reacts. It must be from all the visual effort it takes.

    For me, the vibration of the car causes me pain (but I have FM and lots of spine issues). But, the CFS piece is really different and what puts me in bed for days -- it's the "sensory overload" issue.

    I'm wondering it you have your husband drive and rest the seat back w/ an eye-cover (forgetting name :) if this would help. Maybe relaxing music on your Ipod as he drives :)

    Just thinking out loud :)

  4. Toga

    Toga Member

    I have a similar problem. We have a little lake house on a lake about 3-1/2 hrs away and we like to go there very often when the weather is nice. It wipes me out to ride.

    I put small travel pillows around me, under my elbows and on my lap to rest my hands. If I can stop every 90 minutes or so and walk around for a few minutes it really helps. But my husband will only stop for gas or when he needs to do so.

    The pillows help and if I can raise my feet for a while on a small "travel step" I ordered from a Travel Smith catalog. It helps some but the step is too little for my big feet.

    I keep keeping on because I love the lake too but I sure wish the trip wasn't so hard. The few times I've driven myself, I've stopped about three times and wallked around for a few minutes and I arrive feeling much better.

    Oh I forgot to mention that I call my husband "old lurch and jerk." I wonder if that has anything to do with the agony of the trips?

  5. satchya

    satchya New Member

    I have Fibro, not CFS, but for any reading this who have this problem with driving/riding and have Fibro, one thing that I've found helps me somewhat is that when it came time to replace both of our older cars in the last year, we happened to get cars with heated front seats. It's not something I thought to look for, it just turned out that way. My minivan has seats that heat the actual "seat" part, and up the lower back too. It's just a button you push, it doesn't have to be cold outside to use it, and there is one in the passenger side seat too. Driving and riding in the car are killer for me, but heated seats make a big difference in how I feel. It's like having a nice hot pad with me for the whole ride!

    I know most of us aren't in any kind of financial condition to run out and purchase a new car just for heated seats, but if you ARE replacing a car anytime in the future, or have the option to ride in or rent one with heated seats, I recommend it.
  6. DoveL

    DoveL Member


    I have traveled all of the world too! (I was a flight attendant in my 20's).

    Yes, it happens to me too! I am able to drive at times; and yes, it is a 'sensory overload' for me. I feel like when someone even 'beeps' their horn while I am driving, it 'frazzles my nerves'.

    I think you said it correctly; it is like our central nervous system is on overload just from noise, light sounds, and a lot of movement going on in the car!

    This illness is so crazy! It is like after 11 years with these illness', I still 'cannot believe' that such a disease exists, with so many bizarre symptoms.

    Hang in there! Unfortunately, you are not alone!

  7. karynwolfe

    karynwolfe New Member

    I guess the kicker is that you're not "just" sitting in the car. When the car is going 60mph, so are you. It's like if you slam on the brakes and everything in the back seat comes forward and hits you behind the head? Lol. It's because EVERYTHING was going 60mph, but then the car suddenly stopped--everything inside it didn't necessaily slow down as fast as the car did, so the stuff keeps going forward.

    You've felt what it's like when your body tries to adjust to simply standing up; imagine how it has to adjust to the constant ebb and flow and change in direction that occurs with any car ride. That's a lot of information trying to pass through your nervous system so your brain can keep your blood pressure and heart rate etc., stable, and synchronized, and know where you are in the world while it's changing every few minutes. And if it can't do that adequately, like most of ours cannot, well.

    I feel every turn, every brake push, every acceleration in my heart, because my brain just can't keep up with what signals it needs to send to keep me stable. I've completely forgotten what it feels like to just ride normally, and not gasp for breath everytime someone puts on the brakes, or feel lightheaded when they accelerate. I tell anyone who's driving me anywhere, "pretend that it's raining" so they go really easy on everything and take a nice long time to come to a gradual stop.
  8. Scapper

    Scapper New Member

    Great explanation!!!!!

    This helped me too.....makes sense, but I just never thought of it this way.

    Thanks :)