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Diving with history of Migraine

Discussion in 'Ask Dr. Decompression' started by JInce, Jun 28, 2001.

  1. JInce

    JInce Guest

    I would be very grateful if you could advise me how I could distinguish between the onset of a migraine and decompression sickness.

    Three years ago I was half way through a diving course, when my GP failed my medical due to my history of migraine with visual disturbance. Caused either by eating dairy products or stress during exams.

    My migraines have since become less severe and far less frequent and being otherwise Fit and healthy and I have not consulted with a GP since. I am desperate to be able to learn to dive before a holiday in Australia. I have heard of other divers that suffer from migraines with no ill effects provided that they are sensible, but for my own peace of mind would be grateful if you could advise on whether there are any distinguishing features that you might experience with decompression sickness that are not usually the case with a migraine.
  2. Green_Manelishi

    Green_Manelishi Solo Diver


    be aware of the link between migraine suffering and incidence of PFO.

  3. Dr Deco

    Dr Deco Medical Moderator Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Issaquah [20 miles east of Seattle], Washington.
    I trust that some of the physicians on the FORUM will try this one........

    Dr Deco
  4. sky50960

    sky50960 Nassau Grouper

    If there is a relation between DCS/migrain
    There also can be one between migrain/CO2 Toxicity
    migrain/Co Toxicity
    I am talking about co2 an co in your tank...
    Sometimes that can happen


  5. scubadoc

    scubadoc Medical Moderator


    As far as diving with migraine is concerned--there is mixed opinion as to the proper thing to do. Some think it to be an absolute contraindication to diving, others think it to not be a significant problem. The migraine following a dive might be difficult to distinguish from decompression sickness and can possibly be provoked by CO2 retention in a diver.

    Because migraine can cause fainting in adolescents, the loss of consciousness would be particularly dangerous underwater. It can also cause severe vertigo, nausea and vomiting and can be produced rapidly by swimming.

    Migraine with neurological symptoms or signs is a definite contraindication in the commercial diver.

    Migraine may be precipitated by a rise in barometric pressure, among a host of other things. Medications taken for migraine also might have adverse effects on the diver.

    Migraine with aura has been found to be significantly associated with patent foramen ovale, thought to be a factor in the causation of undeserved decompression accidents. However, migraine has no other relationship to PFO, i.e., one does not cause the other. Repairing the PFO with an Amplatzer button does rid one of the aura of migraine. This can be found at the following reference:
    Neurology 1999 May 12;52(8):1622-5 Potential source of cerebral embolism in migraine with aura: a transcranial Doppler study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...ve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10331688&dopt=Abstract

    Migraine link

    Simply swimming can cause a significant vascular headache as reported in several journals:



    With your decreasing history of recent migraines and taking no medication, you would seem safe to participate fully in scuba diving - with the OK of your physician.

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