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Diving with Fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by JoyfulNoise, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Candance Springer

    Candance Springer Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Yorba Linda, California, United States
    I have not been officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia but the doctors suspect that I have it seeing that I have so many positive signs. I am currently going to Pain Management for nerve pain due to a hernia repair with mesh. Before this surgery I was in the water every chance I could get. Soon after the surgery I developed all kinds of adverse effects and nerve pain from the insertion of the mesh and after a year of pain and suffering, I found a surgeon to remove the mesh in Las Vegas, but I had to pay cash for the surgery. No doctor in California would recommend that I have it removed. They didn't think it was the cause of my pain. Well, now that the mesh is gone, I can most certainly say it was because of the mesh. The surgeon who put it in (Kaiser Permanente) put it in backwards. Yes there is a front and a back to mesh and should be put in the correct way other wise dense adhesions to the mesh will occur which mesh was designed to do. So, it adhered to my insides instead of the abdominal wall that it was supposed to. Luckily for me, it only stuck to the greater omentum and not the intestines which did make it easier to remove. In doing so, a lot of the nerves in that area had to be cut. So I'm recovering from a second surgery and I'm looking to get back into the water. My challenge is that through all of this, I think I have developed Fibromyalgia and am currently on medications to help with nerve pain, which happen to be prescribed for persons with Fibromyalgia. I am on Lyrica, Savella, Tramadol and I take Percocet on my really bad days. The Lyrica and Savella are the drugs I take everyday and cannot skip a dose. So with all these medications, will they wear off after a dive? Has anyone noticed if their medication has worn off after doing a dive? Does the medication effect your senses differently underwater? I hope to get off the Tramadol and Percocet completely soon. I also have had nerve blocks to the L5 and S1 nerve roots and I'm going for cortisone shots to the sacroiliac joints next week. My intention is to get into some serious physical therapy and return to the water when the doctors say I'm ok to dive. I can't lift anything over 40lbs for quite a while so the suggestions I've read so far give me hope.
  2. MooreaMike

    MooreaMike Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Michigan, USA
    My suggestion is if you have a big concern and are not getting your responses through,your medical community, that you work with an adaptive diving trained buddy. They will be certified through HSA, IAHD, SDI, or a couple of others. We are familiar with assisting divers with atypical needs, hence the definition of adaptive equipment or processes.
  3. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    Disclaimer - NOT A DOCTOR or medical expert. The below does not constitute medical advice but only my opinion. For medical advice you should consult a physician. A

    I recommend you consult a Dive Medicine specialist regarding this question. Contact Divers Alert Network (aka DAN) for a referral to the appropriate dive medicine physician.

    In Basic Open Water lessons we were taught that medications are not tested for use above 1 atmosphere (at depth). There is concern that the medication may wear off while the diver is at depth. Since medications are not tested under pressure the result is that how the medication will act at 2 or more ATA is unknown. Increased ATA could cause a medication to be absorbed more rapidly, or more slowly or may have not have any effect at all. One individual I have heard of (friend of a friend) stared a new medication, was fine with it for a week or two and then went diving and fell asleep under water. A concern also exist of how the medications affects your decision making abilities and if it would enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis at depth.

    A dive buddy of mine who is paralyzed took liquid morphine, phenyadol (sp?) an opium, and vicadan for pain daily (and had done so for years). She found pain relief at depth and only takes an occasional vicadan for pain as long as she can dive every 5 or 6 weeks. Don't know why but I do know several divers who use SCUBA as pain management.
  4. miketsp

    miketsp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: São Paulo, Brazil
    This reminds me. Back in 1975 I used to look after marine projects and would regularly contract professional/commercial divers all around the world. Anyway in one South American country we got into the boat to go out to the work site and there was this young, really well built guy and this shriveled old guy who must have been at least 85, driving the boat. So the young guy did all the shallow dives then when we got out into the deeper section (50m+) the old guy surprised me by getting geared up.
    Talking to the local contractor later I found that he was diving under doctors orders. Apparently every time he stopped diving he would soon lock up with arthritis.
  5. stilldivin

    stilldivin Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: San Jose, Ca.
    I too have fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and have 12 operations under my weight belt. I also was in an accident that probably triggered the fibro. As many have said in this post, the only time I'm not in pain is when I'm underwater. I usually dive weekly. The frustrating part is my "pay back" pain is delayed; I feel it the next day and I'm wiped out. It's worth it, though. I will be 63 soon and until I'm told to stop, I'm going to keep diving. What helps for me is to stretch before and after I go, and take a hot shower also before and after the dive, using lots of Mineral Ice. Happy diving! Check out my nearly 80 videos on YouTube at timothytech1, all one word. You can tell diving is my passion.

    ---------- Post added February 28th, 2013 at 10:52 AM ----------

    Fentanyl and morphine are powerful opiates and I would never recommend using them while diving. Of course, if your doctor says it's OK, then be careful. Also make sure the doctor knows diving medicine. Consulting a DAN doctor may help. Vicodin is less powerful, but should be used with caution. As a chronic pain patient, I sometimes will take a 1/2 of a Norco, which is Vicodin with less Tylenol, after the dive. I also don't drive to the dive spot; I let my buddy do so. Chronic pain patients can often get away with taking a little pain medication while diving, but only after they have adjusted to it and have clearance from their doctor. The reason we pain patients use diving to manage our pain is once we are underwater, our pain mostly goes away because we are weightless. We can then get a work out with little pain.

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