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Diving headpains (needle to the brain)- started 2 mouths ago and it won't go away

snapperman12

New Member
Apr 2, 2024
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Hey guys,

I'm pretty new on here, and have been having some strange nasaul pains

Quick run down on myself, been diving for about 5 years. Mostly reef spearfishing around the upper north island in New Zealand. This summer I have got more into the blue water diving and getting after the bigger kingi's.

Back to the point...
Over Christmas (3 months ago) I had a long swim across a tidal river to a island. Had a awesome 2 hours diving with lots of luck. Then the pains started to kick in whenever I was under 6m then 5m then 4m progressively starting at a shallower depth. I would have loved to call it a day but the tides meant we couldn't head back to land till turn of tides. I took it slow and plenty of long surface intervals...

6 weeks later, in the Coromandel I was really gunked up from a cold but went for a dive anyway(yes I know, dumb idea) spearfishing was agony. pains right behind my centre of my eyes would start at 2 m and if I stayed at 2-4m for 30 seconds it would faid then I'd go another 4 metres and wait and it would fade by that stage any fish I was trying to drop on had pissed off.

However, I then got the scuba gear out and was fine couple of pains here and there but nothing really.

Another 6 weeks go by and I go again... No cold, clear sinuses and feeling good. 3 good deep 15m -20m dives in and then bang we are back in square one. Every few goes I'd be fine and get a good dive... But mostly it would kick in and I'd be stuck at the surface.

No dive doctors around me from what i know so needed some advice before I pay for get an appointment...
 
I would suggest visiting your GP. I did once and was fortunate to see an old locum who wore a hearing aid so was unusually familiar with ear problems. His prescription fixed my problem in 2 days - result!

I'm no expert but your GP is. Perhaps it might be a problem with sinuses or eustachian tubes. Don't ignore it though, might be serious ( e.g. inflammation, polyps, blowing goop in your eustachian tubes while clearing, etc. )
 
You are almost certainly experiencing some kind of squeeze. Some void(sinus, nasal, etube, probably a sinus) is being blocked, can't equalize and pain results from going deeper. Once irritated, tissues will block up again at the slightest excuse. Time (lots of it) and not diving usually work. Cortizone tablets can be very effective and fast (personal experience). Other decongestants like sudafed might work.

Good luck with it and keep us posted
 
Hello, curious to hear if there are any updates? My son gets sinus squeezes, and goes to an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist. He wakes up early on dive days and takes a steroid pill, then uses Afrin before and between dives. Works pretty well for him.
 
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Interesting take on use of steroid pills. I would not have thought the pill would work so fast. Congrats on finding something that works for your son.

Just an aside, I have taken a multi year break from serious freediving. Last week went diving on a jetty in 15 ft, VERY sticky ears. Normally, I'm hands free, badly out of practice. Have to work on this before an upcoming Belize trip.
 
Interesting take on use of steroid pills. I would not have thought the pill would work so fast. Congrats on finding something that works for your son.

Just an aside, I have taken a multi year break from serious freediving. Last week went diving on a jetty in 15 ft, VERY sticky ears. Normally, I'm hands free, badly out of practice. Have to work on this before an upcoming Belize trip.
Just to clarify, it does take a number of hours to kick in -- when I say he wakes up early, it is usually around 5 a.m. to take the pill for an 8:30 dive boat where we splash at 9 a.m. He also takes Afrin before we splash the first time, and in the surface interval before the 2nd dive also on a 2-tank trip.

Hope your trip is great!
 
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