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Ouch! - packing injury

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Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2004
I should have known better...

I regularly do packing stretches (2-3x/wk), and am fairly comfortable going to about 15 packs after full inhale.

However, two nights ago, I tried the ATRC test. Wanting to induce the full effect of the reduced blood flow, I packed to max (no warmup), about 18 packs and held. (As a side note, I scored somewhere between 7-8 -- a very interesting experience.)

BUT.. ever since that my chest has been extremely sore (in other words, I need to be careful reaching for things, twisting, etc.). Originally I had assumed that I must have just pulled the internal intercostal muscles, but now I am worried about pulmonary overpressurization injuries (POPS, POIS, pulmonary barotrauma, etc.). The pain is intermittent and sharp.

I am kicking myself for this, because I don't want this to affect/ruin my diving going forward. What are the chances of damaging the actual lung, not just stretching the muscles? I'll see if I can see a doctor as a backup, of course.

Has anyone else experienced this, and how long did it take to recover? How long did it take you to get back into packing stretches, etc? :crutch

Hopefully others can learn from this -- be very careful with packing, even if you think you are only slightly above your usual limit. :naughty

I'm very upset :waterwork

Many thanks...
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I have not had an incident like this, your best bet is to see a doctor, but lets see what everyone else has to say...
An update -- got full-inspiration and expiration X-rays done. No signs of anything bad (lining looked fine, although I wonder about the alveoli). So fortunately, it appears to be just muscular.
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Karoline Dal Toe had a packing injury in 2001. We were never really sure if it was muscular or lung tissue, but it gradually went away in about 2 weeks. I think a main point is just not to stretch the areas in the meantime, in order to let them recover.

The good news is that a packing injury is far less serious than a lung squeeze injury can be. A bad lung squeeze can take 6 months to recover from.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
hi chojan

I did a very similar injury when I first learnt how to pack and had the sharp pains like you say, it was even difficult to breathe properly. It took just over 2 weeks to heal however I didnt do any packing or stretching for a month after it happened :(

I have never had it happen since :cool:

Hmmm.... looks like I'll need more rest than I was hoping to give up :vangry ... Maybe I can still do some practice with FRC dives/training :confused: .

Thanks for the info everyone.
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I also had a mild packing injury (very mild), which went away in a few days. It never happened again.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I think FRC should be a 'no-no' as well as packing, if not even worse.
X-rays cannot always show damage to delicate tissues, better play it safe to reduce the chance of scarred tissues.
You're totally right (I was kind of half-joking)... I'm one of those people doctors hate because I never like to give things a chance to heal (I don't like having to "sit out") :(

Kind of like that time I broke my foot (full leg cast) and got frustrated by how much the crutches :crutch were slowing me down. So, I tried skipping a bunch of steps at the top of a flight of stairs at a movie theatre. Next thing I know, the crutches catch an in-between step and I tumble down the entire flight of stairs, crutches flying, boy in leg cast head-over-heels down the busy stairwell only to land the concession stand :duh. A sure-fire way to get a few worried looks from people. :blackeye

Yeah, I guess I'll just give it all a break!
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A similar thing happened to me too, about 1 month ago i posted on the forum "Sore Lungs".. That was my definition of it. It lasted only for a couple of days, but i couldnt fully inhale or exhale at the time cause it hurt.. But dont worry youll be fully recovered im sure ;)