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Medical question!

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

jonny lee

New Member
Jul 30, 2002
Hello everyone.

Recently I have noticed that I am getting a painful ache at the back of my neck towards the end of my underwater (dynamic apnea) lengths in the pool. I have only been freedive training for around 5 – 6 weeks and I am only able to do about 35m in the pool underwater. However when I get to approximately 20 metres the back of my neck (approx 2 inchs below the base of my skull) begins to start throbbing and when I surface it can be fairly painful. (Just to eliminate a possiblity here…its not due to my looking forwards while I am swimming as I look at the floor). Further, I have also noticed that since I started freedive training that the throbbing/aching also occurs when I am weightlifting (I only lift relatively light dumbells). It actually seems to be getting worse and as I have been in the pool for a few hours today…2 hours after getting home my neck is still aching (althoguh not particularly painful). I am pretty worried. My first thoughts were that it could just be carbon dioxide build-up but I arnt so sure. I really hope that someone can help.

Many thanks

Hi Jon,

If it doesn't happen when practicing statics, then I doubt it could be CO2 build up.

Could be a nervous pain from holding your head in an odd position for a while - I get this when carrying something over my shoulder and staring down (when hillwalking with a rucksack, or carrying a muntain bike).

Can you tell from the feeling if it is muscular, nervous or joint pain?

Might help you self-diagnose the problem. Try dynamics looking back, or forward to see if this helps.

Hi Ben, Thanks for replying

It definately feels like muscular pain but also like a headache in my neck.

Moreover though, after i have finished the pool session, the pain dulls but moves up into the very base of my skull. But while swimming (after surfacing after a dynamic) my neck pulsates all around the back almost level with my ear lobes and it can be fairly painful. Its also usually worse on the first dynamic.

Your right though, i dont get it when doing static.

i do have lower back problems even though my back has been fine for a while now.

strange that it doesnt happen during static nor does it occur when scuba diving, only during dynamic :(

Maybe someone else can shed some light on it?

Many thanks
Medical question

Johny Lee:

I am no physician, however I do recall some interesting posts regarding elevated blood pressure during apnea training, dynamics, etc., even as high as 300 systolic! That may explain why your statics were uneventful. Maybe there is a blood vessel sensitive to higher pressure? Not sure if that sort of thing can produce pain. Might be a good question for the physiology experts who make such good posts.

I hope it turns out to be nothing serious.

I had this same problem when I was practising vertical jumping. Strong pain in neck and bottom of the skull. Like stick with the knife. Sports specialisted doctor explained that is coming from tencing neck muscles, even if don't use them.

So maybe it's coming from tencing Your neck muscles. You could trying different hand positions, forward and aside.

For me it went ower by just practicing.....
just a guess

I would strongly recommend seeing your doctor if some of the suggestions you've gotten here do not resolve the problem. Johnny Lee may be right, and if so, this is nothing to fool around with.

My guess, is, however, (and it is ONLY a guess - I'm not an MD and even if I were, I wouldn't diagnose over the net!) that you are experiencing tension, fatigue and tightening of muscles that are not as flexible as they need to be (as Ben suggested). I have the same problem when I have not swum in months, and then try do a significant number of meters. For me, the pain comes on slowly, but after the swim session, I have such a headache I just want to scream. It comes from muscles in my neck that stiffen and begin to cause pain at the insertion points at the base of my skull.

The solution for me is stretching, daily. Believe it or not, hamstring stretches are the most important as tight muscles in the back of the thighs and lumbar region cause tightness all the way up. Developing suppleness in your legs and back won't hurt you a bit even if that does not turn out to be your problem.

You may also have some problem with vertebrae - either damaged or badly out of alignment - and that could cause pinching of a nerve, which would be consistent with the sharp pain you experience. Stretching won't usually resolve those kinds of problems.

Good Luck, and get checked by your doctor if this does not resolve very quickly.
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