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Blood at surface and throat strain

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Rosstaylor

New Member
Feb 11, 2021
1
1
3
25
Hi everyone!

I’m looking for some advice in a problem I’ve come across in my freediving training. I was out yesterday practicing deep hangs, starting at 10 meters, 15 meters and finally 23 meters. All the dives felt great, very mindful and in the moment. After coming up from my last dive and taking a few breaths I started to cough a lot, eventually coughing up mucus containing blood. I immediately ended the dive and checked my O2 saturation which was back at 100% on land. Given the fact I felt fine, had good o2 saturation and wasn’t coughing that much, I didn’t think it was worth panicking about. For now I’m staying out of the water for a week and intend to ease back into it slowly.

A little bit about me, I’m still pretty new to the sport and have only just got back into it since moving closer to the ocean.

Constant weight PR 31 meters, static 4:30, age 25.

On the dive before yesterdays session my instructor followed me down and noticed that I was making a straining sound in my throat the whole way down while equalising. For every dive before that I thought that was normal but apparently not. The sound itself is like a high pitched groaning sound that seems to originate in my throat. It usually begins around 5 meters and continues getting louder the deeper I get. I’m pretty sure I'm doing Frenzel or at least part Frenzel, being conscious of my tongue position too where it’s either in the H or K lock in the latter part of the dive. My equalisation feels pretty aggressive and forced, particularly at depth.

I have a suspicion that I’m not transferring air from my lungs into my mouth in a safe way, hence the sound. I really think its like I’m straining my throat muscles to bring air up to my mouth. I understand the correct way to move air up is through reverse packing but I thought that was only used when the lungs get to RV (25-30 meters), and the straining sounds begin at 5 meters. Is reverse packing something that we should do constantly, little by little as we go down? Slowly controlling air into the mouth with correct use of the tongue and glottis?

The dive yesterday was the first time I’d done a hang for so long at depth, ending up at 23 meters for 2:30. Given the time at depth and the contractions perhaps this contributed to some throat or lung damage at the surface? I do remember looking up for some time during the hang and I seem to remember reading somewhere that looking up can expose the throat to damage at depth.

The blood that did come up was red (not pink or foamy), causing me to think it wasn’t a lung squeeze. There was no shortness of breath and as I said my saturation was good.

Personally I think I need to reconsider how I equalise or at least how I get air into my mouth for equalisation. Until I can get past 5 meters without the straining sounds then I won’t push it. Would love to hear opinions of others on this :)

Many thanks in advance,

Ross
 
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7BDiver

Active Member
Sep 5, 2019
101
36
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I make the same or similar noise when trying to equalize using frenzel but doing it wrong by trying to pressurize my mouth and sinuses with my lungs/ribcage and diaphragm. A simple way to correct this is with dry practice doing frenzel with empty lungs and an autovent or similar balloon aid. Not sure about the blood, I have only experienced this with blocked sinuses and not from my lungs. Relaxing is key to easier equalizing and focusing on correct technique.
 

rrickardt

Member
Jul 30, 2017
2
0
11
41
Hello, sounds like injured trachea. That can be because of wrong head position, e.g. you try to look up when ascending and you stretch it too much or you might equalize wrong (moving thyroid might be good indicator). I am not familiar with K or H block on Frenzel, but i use T block, tip of my tongue is on back of my top front teeth from behind.

Mechanics of Frenzel are here https://gofreediving.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Frenzel-techinique-Eric-Fattah.pdf

Regarding correct mouthfill, well, i suggest to join some training class. There is a couple of things you need to do right, just not to hurt yourself when going deep. When you do the mouthfill on surface and do the Frenzel right, you might not need additional mouthfill up to 20-25 metres, but depends on individual physiology and skill. Basically you should avoid unnecessary movement around your trachea, opening/closing epiglotis, you should be relaxed and watch your head position, do not look down. Deeper you are, more outside pressure can do more harm.
 

Traxel

Member
Jan 3, 2016
7
4
18
55
coughing and spitting blood is a strong sign for a lung squeeze, or as rrickard says maybe a trachea squeeze. Both are severe injuries and need time to heal. Both are related to stress, wrong (looking up) head position and forced equalization without proper technique. You should stay out of the water for at least a week and get medical attention, because the healing process can also be slower.

I 'd also say that 2:30 at 23 m is not exactly a newbie exercise. I hope you are being watched by your buddy who is ready to bring you up in the instant if something happens.
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
8,079
1,620
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See your GP or, possibly better yet, a dive specialist physician.
 

Francis

Member
Dec 30, 2017
5
0
11
46
On your way up after the hang, did you have a "big pull" at the bottom rope?

Sometimes, at depth after a long hang.
And even at full relaxation, the lung is still contracted.
Maybe, a sudden pull movement could result in trachea squeeze, too?

Blood means a possible Blood Vessel Rupture, could come from the lung, the sinus, the throat, and .....
Good to know that you stay dry awhile. Dive safe and "listen" to your body.
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
279
179
83
25
Hi everyone!

I’m looking for some advice in a problem I’ve come across in my freediving training. I was out yesterday practicing deep hangs, starting at 10 meters, 15 meters and finally 23 meters. All the dives felt great, very mindful and in the moment. After coming up from my last dive and taking a few breaths I started to cough a lot, eventually coughing up mucus containing blood. I immediately ended the dive and checked my O2 saturation which was back at 100% on land. Given the fact I felt fine, had good o2 saturation and wasn’t coughing that much, I didn’t think it was worth panicking about. For now I’m staying out of the water for a week and intend to ease back into it slowly.

A little bit about me, I’m still pretty new to the sport and have only just got back into it since moving closer to the ocean.

Constant weight PR 31 meters, static 4:30, age 25.

On the dive before yesterdays session my instructor followed me down and noticed that I was making a straining sound in my throat the whole way down while equalising. For every dive before that I thought that was normal but apparently not. The sound itself is like a high pitched groaning sound that seems to originate in my throat. It usually begins around 5 meters and continues getting louder the deeper I get. I’m pretty sure I'm doing Frenzel or at least part Frenzel, being conscious of my tongue position too where it’s either in the H or K lock in the latter part of the dive. My equalisation feels pretty aggressive and forced, particularly at depth.

I have a suspicion that I’m not transferring air from my lungs into my mouth in a safe way, hence the sound. I really think its like I’m straining my throat muscles to bring air up to my mouth. I understand the correct way to move air up is through reverse packing but I thought that was only used when the lungs get to RV (25-30 meters), and the straining sounds begin at 5 meters. Is reverse packing something that we should do constantly, little by little as we go down? Slowly controlling air into the mouth with correct use of the tongue and glottis?

The dive yesterday was the first time I’d done a hang for so long at depth, ending up at 23 meters for 2:30. Given the time at depth and the contractions perhaps this contributed to some throat or lung damage at the surface? I do remember looking up for some time during the hang and I seem to remember reading somewhere that looking up can expose the throat to damage at depth.

The blood that did come up was red (not pink or foamy), causing me to think it wasn’t a lung squeeze. There was no shortness of breath and as I said my saturation was good.

Personally I think I need to reconsider how I equalise or at least how I get air into my mouth for equalisation. Until I can get past 5 meters without the straining sounds then I won’t push it. Would love to hear opinions of others on this :)

Many thanks in advance,

Ross
Hi Ross,

2 things.. deep hangs should (in my opinion) be done up to 50% of your PB. You (beginners) could get a way with 60% but 23 is too deep for someone with a PB of 31.

Number two. The value of a deep hang should be to progressively and slowly delay contractions.. the way I teach perform and coach hangs is to ascend AT your first urge to breathe. You should not be hanging with contractions...

(This exercise of hang until first contraction) has helped me achieve 90m CWT with 1st urge to breathe only at 25-30m on the ascent (2-3 contractions on the whole dive).. so it's effective.

--

Number 2. Yes noise is a bad sign of lots of tension in your larynx (it's the false vocal folds.. same part of the throat rock singers use to add distortion and grit to their voice)..

Proper frenzel should not include any purposeful actions to add air to the mouth.. (especially shallower than 40-50m).

If you perform a Frenzel (close glottis, klock, raise larynx..) all you need to do is completely relax all the muscles, return them to starting position (open glottis, flat tongue, neutral larynx) and air will go in your mouth ready for next EQ

(In my case this was effective until 74m, and is fully dependant on chest flexibility.. )

Normally the noise is caused by keeping the glottis shut and then dropping the larynx below neutral as a way to purposely draw air up (through tensed false vocal folds)..
 
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