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headaches when surfacing

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Dec 10, 2002
Hi all,

Just started freediving,and finding this forum extremely useful. Tonight I upped my modest dynamic pb from 50 to 66m after replacing swimming with interval and resistance training (thanks efattah!), but as with once before when I pushed myself well beyond my comfort zone in dynamics, I got a vicious headache the moment I surfaced (no lactic acid problems in my legs and no contractions underwater,even though I get them at 2 minutes in static). My instructors say the headache is due to CO2 build up. Anyone got any ideas about what I can do to avoid getting this headache(other than staying under less!), as it's bad enough to make me leave the water,and lasts for up to an hour. I read that efattah's test for apnea worthiness (squatting, exhaling then pack breathing as you stand) can result in headaches if you then breathe out quickly, so wonder if not exhaling the moment I come up, but rather taking a hook breath and then exhaling slowly might help.

Any thoughts?

To minimize the CO2 or BP headache, recover with hook breathing and practice more CO2 tables.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I've had this too. Am absolutely splitting headache after very dynamic breatholds of about 22-24 seconds for a total for somewhere in the mid thirties for reps. Has to be the worst headache I've ever had. What is hook breathing Eric, and how doers it avoid this vice on my head?

Cheers in advance dude
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I dont get headaches in dynamics, however when spearfishing doing many repetitve dives I get a real bad headache after surfacing from each dive, usually happens when im pushing bottom time, I know what you mean VERY PAINFULL.

Originally posted by simonhc
....My instructors say the headache is due to CO2 build up...
Any thoughts?


When I first started freediving training I got this headach for the first week then it gradually lessened and went away. With consistent training you will increase your tolerance to C02 until the headach isn't noticable anymore.

the forum is a great place to pick up information. However, beware as there is alot of false and unproven information on here that is posted randomly by indicidualy from all over the world. Just be careful and ask sensible questions about things before you jump in the water.

Safe dives!
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