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Headache After Scuba Diving? The Most Important Things You Must Know.

Do you have a headache after scuba diving? Worried about getting decompression sickness? In fact, there are many reasons for headaches. If the headache occurs only once or twice, there are no other symptoms that can be relieved by mild painkillers, so don’t be overly nervous. However, there are still a small number of divers who complain of frequent or severe headaches. The following are suggestions and considerations for relieving headaches.

Why do I have headache after scuba diving?

There are several causes of post-scuba diving headaches, including nervousness, catching a cold, barotrauma, and others. The majority of headaches experienced after diving are not caused by decompression sickness; if the illness persists, You must see a doctor as soon as possible.

Headache after diving makes some beginners worried.
Headache after diving makes some beginners worried.

Headaches can be triggered by many reasons, here are 10 common problems:

  1. Anxiety / Nervous
  2. Sinus or ear pressure trauma
  3. Sinus and ear infections
  4. Catch a cold
  5. Inhalation of ocean water
  6. Mask extrusion
  7. Vertebral artery type cervical spondylosis
  8. Dental problems
  9. Excessive tension in the neck
  10. Temporomandibular joint pain (joint pain between the temporal bone and the mandible) (TMJ)
Scuba diving.

There are many causes of headaches; the above 10 are relatively common, but from the clues provided by frequent headache patients, the following key points may provide you with answers:

1. Have you ever had headaches, neck (cervical spine) problems, and frequent headaches even when you are not diving?

Divers who experience frequent headaches on land are very likely to experience headaches in the water. If headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abnormal sensations, or vision, a neurologist’s evaluation is required.

Migraine requires expert evaluation and is a contraindication to scuba diving. Headaches can be caused by stress, high caffeine intake, menstrual changes, and other reasons.

A mouthpiece that doesn’t fit the mouth can also cause headaches, and some adjusters weigh quite a bit in the water and require a full grip to hold in place. This headache may get better if you change the regulator or try a different shape of nozzle. So once you’ve discovered the combination of instruments that’s right for you, it’s always best to have it for your own gear.

2. Where is the cylinder on the back?

Correct positioning your cylinder is improtant.

Do divers often bow their heads and bend their necks or hyperextend their neck muscles to avoid collision with the cylinder head (the position where the head is connected to the upper stage)? As strange as it may sound, this is a very common cause of headaches among divers. The solution is simple: to prevent the head from hitting the bottle when the neck is stretched backward, just adjust the cylinder to the proper position.

3. Where is the pain location?

Most of the time, neck pain is a constant pain that slowly moves from the back of the head to the temples. Sinus discomfort is usually on the forehead, cheekbones, sometimes behind the eyes, or on top of the head. Ear pain is very noticeable, but it is not necessary to check whether the counterpressure process is smooth and effective during the dive.

4. What is your gas consumption?

Divers often brag about how little air they use or hold their breath to breathe for longer by purposely using less air. In fact, removing carbon dioxide from the lungs is very similar to cleaning stains from a carpet. The larger the stain area (in this case, the greater the amount of movement that produces carbon dioxide) and the larger the area of ​​the carpet (in this case, the size of a human lung), the more water is required to clean the stain, i.e., you need more air to purge the carbon dioxide. Larger lungs require deeper breathing, thus increasing air consumption. Therefore, female divers generally consume less air than male divers.

The only way to effectively reduce breathing without increasing CO2 is to reduce water activity, ensure adequate thermal gear, and relax; take slow, deep breaths (better air exchange, i.e., effective cleansing) rather than short ones. A proper breathing rhythm is the key to many headaches.

5. Are safe diving practices followed?

Always follow the safe diving techniques you learned in training and put them into practice when diving.
For example, at the end of the diving trip, do not ascend to the shore quickly, but in an orderly manner, and spend 3 minutes at a safety stop at a depth of 5 meters below the water surface to allow the body to adapt to the water pressure; when divers want to look at objects in different directions underwater , please turn around as a whole instead of just turning your head to look; etc. With these simple tips, you can avoid getting pulled muscles or other injuries while diving.

6. Avoid drinking coffee or smoking before diving

Both caffeine and the nicotine in cigarettes may be contributing factors to post-diving headaches. Try to avoid these items before diving, get a good night’s sleep, and go diving with energy.

Quick tips To relieve headache after Scuba diving:

  1. Loosen (mask) straps – avoid pinching on the nose, forehead or cheekbones. Replace the mask with a more comfortable one if needed.
  2. Take it easy while diving – after all, you’re still on vacation.
  3. Take deep and long breaths – to help you relax and increase the efficiency of removing carbon dioxide.
  4. Relax your neck during the dive – even if it briefly interferes with your balance. During water use, turn your body to look at things rather than turn your neck to avoid the discomfort of hyperextending your neck muscles.
  5. Stay fit – exercise can reduce headaches.
  6. Avoid caffeine and tobacco before diving .
  7. Follow safe diving rules – 3 minutes safety stop in 5 meters water depth (weather and conditions permitting). It can provide a pause time before you get out of the water, so as to reduce the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the body.
  8. Wear adequate thermal equipment.
Happy diving !

Diving lets us explore the underwater world, but if we feel bad after diving, it will also make us less interested in diving. Find out what’s causing your headaches. Most headaches are easy to treat or prevent. But if it is a frequent, severe, or chronic headache, you must seek medical diagnosis and treatment in time. We hope to find happiness in diving and dive healthier.

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