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Got vertigo? Go hug yourself!

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by PansSiren, May 24, 2012.

  1. PansSiren

    PansSiren Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, CO
    767
    495
    63
    So I'm taking a rescue course online now, and in a list of ways to 'respond to vertigo', it said to "hug yourself", but offered no explanation. Would someone like to chime in? :D
     
  2. mathauck0814

    mathauck0814 Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Killington, VT & San Diego, CA
    2,034
    760
    113
    I don't know about vertigo, but if you can't hug yourself you can't very well expect anyone else to...
     
    PansSiren likes this.
  3. PansSiren

    PansSiren Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, CO
    767
    495
    63
    People who hug themselves probably need to be rescued! hahaha
     
  4. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
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    4,017
    113
    Vertigo sucks bad. Very scary. If you are in open water with no reference and it gets bad... I guess you grab yourself and pray. If it happens when you are near a wreck or a rock or an anchor line, it helps tremendously to hold yourself still. It will help to stop the feeling of spinning and disorientation. Hang on, because if it is bad and lasts for any length of time, you will probably be puking within 60 seconds..

    If it is caused by imbalance in pressure in the ears, you can try to ascend or descend, depending on what you feel the problem is. If it is caused by a blown ear drum that has allowed cool water into one middle ear, then (they say, it's never happened to me), hang onto something and the vertigo and spinning will be bad for a little while as the water slowly warms up inside your head.
     
    PansSiren likes this.
  5. mathauck0814

    mathauck0814 Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Killington, VT & San Diego, CA
    2,034
    760
    113
    Vertigo, while uncomfortable, isn't THAT bad. Any time I've experienced it it has passed quickly (<a couple of minutes). Chalk it up to one more reason you want to have command over buoyancy. I recall a blue water dive (e.g., bottomless environment of open ocean with no reference) where it happened. When the world settled down I was right at the depth where I started. If you don't have command of your buoyancy, I can see that being an issue quickly. Just keep breathing, stay calm, otherwise the issue you're managing is panic and a runaway ascent/descent, not vertigo.
     
  6. PansSiren

    PansSiren Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, CO
    767
    495
    63
    so you can gloat and feel good about yourself, that my friend, was the number one recommended answer!!

    ... Followed by looking at your bubbles, check your computer (ascending or descending), ... then hug yourself??
     
  7. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
    8,319
    4,017
    113

    I haven't read a diving text book in a long time.....I've suffered from... lets see if I can spell... alternobaric vertigo caused by a reverese squeeze in one ear many times. It is pretty terrible. I've had my vision completely spinning, even when hanging onto something. I generally have to shoot back down as fast as possible and re-equalize and it is not too bad.

    I remember one solo night dive in shallow water where I came up to 10 feet from 22 and felt terrible. I immediately shot back down to the bottom and got the ears taken care of, but the hormone release or whatever it was, caused me to puke bad about a minute after ALL symptoms had resolved.

    Getting a little dizzy or disoriented in the water column is one thing, having major problems with the ears and getting vertigo is pretty intense...
     
  8. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many.

    # of Dives:
    Location: Woodinville, WA
    36,350
    13,503
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    I disagree that vertigo is not that bad. I have fought with it since I began diving, and it can be terrifying. If you are in midwater in low viz, where the light gradient isn't very helpful, and the vertical hold on the world goes out, you don't know which way is up and you feel as though you are tumbling through the water. Attempts to stop the tumbling make it worse, because you weren't actually moving to begin with. It is very easy, in those circumstances, to lose all buoyancy control and end up on the surface -- controlling your breathing when you are spinning violently is quite a challenge.

    I never found hugging myself to be useful. I assume the people who recommend that are thinking that doing so gives you some kind of proprioceptive reference in space, but for me, touching my own spinning body never made the world any stiller :)

    The BEST way to control vertigo for me is to acquire a visual reference, even if that's just particles in the water. A buddy is much better, and structure that makes sense is better yet. Second is a proprioceptive reference -- being able to touch something -- although I've managed to end up upside-down while hanging onto something before.

    Third is acquiring a variety of cues as to orientation. Noting that my exhaust bubbles are going up both sides of my face evenly is very helpful, as is paying attention to where the gas in my dry suit is. (If my feet are squeezed, I'm feet down!) I think this is where the writers think the "hugging" will help.

    Vertigo is no fun at all. And it isn't a trivial problem.
     
    TjRjn, ScubaSteve and PansSiren like this.
  9. gcbryan

    gcbryan Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Seattle
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    1,631
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    I've never had a bad case of vertigo while underwater but have experienced a light version of it for a few seconds. I experienced it while driving in the mountains once in white out conditions. I've had it purposely induced during flight training and came close to experiencing it on a night flight once.

    In diving the key is to (as was mentioned) have your buoyancy dialed in so you know you aren't going up while you deal with the vertigo. Hugging yourself I guess is just an attempt to calm yourself down and to get your orientation back.

    When it happened to me underwater my buoyancy was fine so I just shut my eyes for a second and when I opened them it was gone. Of course it's extremely helpful if you can focus on something that is fixed and that "makes sense" to your mind at that moment.

    I've never heard of an online Rescue course. I assume dives are involved and the online part is just taking care of some test questions?
     
    PansSiren likes this.
  10. j2s

    j2s Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: florida
    1,311
    221
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    Try looking at your compass...With that type of diving you should have a good one w/good 'tilt' and faster 'swing' than the cheap ones....It gives you a 'reference' point......
     
    PansSiren likes this.

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