Gravity Distortions and Sensations
Elevator-like, or tilting sensations that occur when the body is not moving are a form of vertigo. When going up or down in an elevator, the feeling of rising or falling is created by gravity sensors in the inner ear. If these sensors malfunction, they can cause an identical feeling. This can make you feel like you are suddenly hurtling toward the center of the earth, or as if you are taking off into space strapped to the nosecone of a rocket. These sensors also detect tilting sensations, and can create feelings that you are rocking forward and back, or side-to-side. Gravity is a form of linear acceleration, similar to the acceleration felt when stepping on the gas in a car, so these sensors also play a role when driving. When they malfunction, it is common to feel a change in the dizziness when driving; the feeling can be temporarily reduced or worsened by sudden changes in speed.
These sensors help maintain head position, and when diseased can cause the head to remain tilted. This problem with head position often causes neck pain to arise. Gravity sensors also help the eyes to remain level in the head, so diseases that affect these can cause double vision or the illusion that the floor is sloping or tilted.
- How the body detects motion
- Maintaining balance
- Why do we get dizzy
- Specific symptoms or diseases
- References and outside reading (under construction)
Author: Carol A. Foster, MD