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Medical Condition Keeping Me Out of the Water

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by certainmisuse, May 25, 2019.

  1. certainmisuse

    certainmisuse Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta GA
    Background: I have about 100 dives under my belt, but mostly from about 10 years ago. I started back up last year by building my first BP/W rig, piece by piece. It's completed and I have been experimenting in the pool. But.

    Unfortunately the first time diving in the pool, I experienced a concerning reaction: tingling in my hands, feet, and stomach that increased in intensity the longer I stayed under. The first time it occured, I got out immediately, thinking it was something very serious. The tingling sensation begins about 20 to 30 mins underwater, even in the bathtub. At first I thought that I might be breathing too fast (see the affects of hyperventilation), but I have tried different regulator settings and I am extremely calm underwater taking careful note of my breathing. After a lot of thought, I believe it is occurring do to a back injury which is pinching on nerves and creating an O2/CO2 imbalance, lack of C02. I do get very light tingling at times topside, but nothing like the increasing intensity issue; therefore, I believe the regulator (SP g260) is contributing. I have had the injury for about 2 years now (you may have seen some of my earlier posts on lighter tanks). Anyone have any experience with this? I am a pretty skinny dude, and I believe the lack of fat around the nerves is contributing. I'm not giving up. Any thoughts?

    Other ideas I'm considering: try a mix with more O2, try a different reg. Edit: first step will be seeking doctors advice.

    I simply cannot dive until this is sorted out. And any testing will be done in the bathtub or shallow pool with buddies. For now, you can find me around Florida snorkeling the coast.

    Thanks good folks.

  2. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
    After everyone weighs in with various advice and experience, the one suggestion you absolutely need to follow up on is to contact Divers Alert Network for some specialized medical advice and/or a consult referal.
    Divers Alert Network
    chillyinCanada and DBPacific like this.
  3. DBPacific

    DBPacific ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    I'd say talk to a doctor who is familiar with diving and can do dive medicals about it. They can give more professional advice and have probably seen a lot of medical issues with divers. I have a chronic migraine disorder and the doctors I went to helped me out a lot.

    I don't know how much this advice will transfer, but I had a dive buddy with scoliosis who was able to dive if she used short tanks instead of the more normal height ones.

    Good luck, and I hope you find a solution.
  4. Pedro Burrito

    Pedro Burrito Moderator Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Boussens, Canton de Vaud, Suisse

    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Moved from Advanced​

    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. certainmisuse

    certainmisuse Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta GA
    Roger that and Thank you. And let me just make this clear for the thread going forward: doctors will be the next step.
  6. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
  7. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    Unlikely for a back injury to create tingling in both hands and feet unless it was in the neck area. Even then, I'd put my money on hyperventilation. Overbreathing lowers the CO2 level in the blood leading to respiratory alkalosis which in turn increases Calcium binding to protein. This produces a low free calcium level and neuromuscular irritability. This results in the symptoms you are describing. We see these same symptoms after thyroid surgery if the parathyroid glands are damaged and the calcium level in the blood drops.
  8. certainmisuse

    certainmisuse Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta GA
    I really appreciate the feedback. This was my first thought months ago during the initial experience. I gained more confidence in this potential cause after I did something very stupid upon returning home from the pool visit: I intentionally hyperventilated (topside) for a few minutes, which did in fact reproduce the symptoms. As I said, it was stupid, but I had a hypothesis and I wanted it tested, for better or for worse. Since then I have come to the belief that other factors may be contributing, possibly even the setting on my regulator. Another reason being is that after 100 dives I have not experienced this before, and I have dived in far more stressing conditions compared to my bathtub. See profile pic for typical low-viz lake dive from my early days. Anyway, a relatively local doctor with diving expertise is the next course of action.

    A few other parameters:
    • This is totally new equipment for me.
    • It occurs regardless of tank and who has performed the fill.
  9. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    Unless your reg is pretty out of tune it merely delivers what you 'request'. It should not deprive you of air, it should not force air down your throat. I really don't see this as a reg problem. You can hyperventilate with it, hypo-ventilate, or breathe normally. That part is completely up to you. It's either a physiological issue or a psychological issue.

    Another thought. While in water you are relatively unweighted. This can allow joints to expand, including the vertebral disks. Some people get some benefit from this. OTOH, you aren't really weightless. You are carrying buoyancy items (wetsuit/drysuit), heavy stuff (tank, weightbelt), and stuff in between. In cold water there is LOTS of buoyancy, and LOTS of weight to counteract it. With a heavy weightbelt all that is centered on the lower back. The floatation is trying to take you up, the weight belt is trying to take your belly button to the bottom. That kind of thing can be a significant stress on the back.
    You also tend to bend the neck back a fair amount to see where you are going. More stress. It can all add up.

    You mention snorkeling. Any issues with that?
  10. certainmisuse

    certainmisuse Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta GA
    All of the diving I have done of late has been pool bound. I used to dive cold and weighted years ago, but have decided going forward to focus solely on warm water diving. I have a steel backplate and have been diving a 3 mm and no weights in the pool. At times I have removed the 3 mm in order to eliminate any sources of the problem, but the problem persisted.

    Excellent post and good question about the snorkeling, too. I was curious about this myself. I have a definitive answer as I was in Turks and Caicos last month for my 10 yr Anniversary. I estimate I spent nearly 10 hours snorkeling and no issues whatsoever. I have 15 GB of footage to show for it, heh; Luckily I enjoy snorkeling equally as I do diving so this issue hasn't totally bummed me out. And so that it's clear, I did no diving in Turks due to obvious concerns over this issue.

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