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Chiari Malformation Community
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Avatar universal

Scuba diving and Chiari Type 1

I enrolled in a scuba diving course for next semester at my school, though I am thinking I may need to drop it because of Chiari. I want to be a field biologist, and I have a great interest in aquatics; have been keeping aquariums for many years. This being the case, I was thinking that getting scuba certified would be highly beneficial to me. Of course, it doesn't seem like it'd be beneficial at all to my Chiari.

Is it a bad idea? How does scuba diving actually effect your Chiari? I really don't want to drop the course, as I will be highly upset if I cannot do it. What do you guys think...
25 Responses
1968463 tn?1374757813
Because of the amount of pressure at the lower levels associated with suba diving...I would advise against it. In all reality whenever I just go under the water....in a refular pool I feel the amount of pressure. Do you have a specialist? If so, I would inquire with him before deciding to keep the class. I am no doctor by far, but everything that I have read goes against it. I wish you the best of luck, and I pray that you can keep on track. It sounds like you have a wonderful future ahead of yourself.
Avatar universal
I am currently seeking a new specialist. Sigh...I guess I'm screwed for this...
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  Hi, it really depends on how u r being affected now by ur chiari, but many of us have issues with pressure HA's and diving goes down to where u will have pressure added...not sure I would want that.

I stopped swimming under  water altogether as it was too much pressure for me and that was b4 I was dx'd....

Did u have surgery?...what r ur symptoms like?
Avatar universal
I have not had surgery, my symptoms vary. I have headaches almost everyday but they are not that bad. I can swim underwater fine, I feel pressure at greater depths just like anyone else, I believe...though I have never gone very very deep. I guess I can test it out this summer in a pool. I don't have a syrinx, either.
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  What other symptoms do u have?....I had drop attacks and I never knew when I might have one, I would hate to be under water and suffer one...that would be scary....

I read u r looking for another specialist...what area r u looking in, have u looked at the list of Drs we have to help u in ur search?
Avatar universal
Selma, I don't know if you recall but you and I have shared correspondence in this thread:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Chiari-Malformation/My-Chiari-Quest-Making-Changes/show/1672062

I never had a drop attack, thankfully. I'm sorry that you su
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  I did recall the name, but not ur specific issues....

So where r u at, did u get the thoracic MRI done yet?...I scanned the other thread quickly to refresh me with ur history.,...don't hold me to remembering it all tho....lol...remember I too have chiari : )

Did u ever got to TCI?
Avatar universal
Haha, I was just trying to refresh your memory, didn't expect you to know who I was :-p.

My case as of the last post in that thread is as it stands now; I've been very busy with work and school, and my symptoms have been mild so I haven't been thinking about it. I'm very laid back about my Chiari at times, and I am a man who just wants to scuba!
1903798 tn?1333905288
I agree check with your specialist.  I know for me I was told no scuba...it was because I have EDS and we have discovered that I have EDS which has caused severe emphysema.  For me scuba could mean a collapsed lung and infections.  I am thankful that I already have scuba dived in St Lucia it was amazing!  A lot of chiarians have blood pressure problems and that would mean no scuba too.  I don't think having chiari automatically makes you unable to scuba yet I do think you need thoroughly checked out and need to make that decision with a partnership from a hilarious specialist....good luck:)
1306714 tn?1327257080
I hope that you can fulfill your dream of scuba diving, I have never dived, but had the opportunity to snorl.  You could also as the instructor about this, but also your NS.  I wish you the best with this.  It would be an amazing experience.  Best of luck.
Linda:)
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  Well I did recognize the name right away, just not ur history....lol...as I said I too have chiari and have issues with recall at times : )

I know u want to scuba and that is great, there r many things I want to do too, and don't bcuz I know how it will make me feel and I really choose not to feel like that or put myself in a position where it could mean more surgery bcuz of a choice I made.....I think about those things....I know some people feel but u may be able to do it with out an issue, and mayb I won't...it is a gamble...I am not a gambler.

As a child I had issues with breathing so I refused to go in a pool depth over my head....4.5 ft was the limit for me....I love to swim, but set my own limits yrs b4 I got my dx.

We all do what we can to help ourselves survive and feel good....
Avatar universal
Thank you for all of the comments, guys. Yesterday I turned my head around a bit to view something behind me, and after having it turned for only two seconds I felt significant pressure on my neck/brain. This was a reminder to me that my neck and head is sensitive to such movement. I work at a car wash on the weekends, and even then sometimes my head starts to hurt from twisting it to clean windows, etc. I may opt out of this, and take an Urban Environment course instead, which will nicely supplement my internship this summer in which I will be taking data (biological/environmental/social) on street trees across the city, studying their mortality and how the surrounding environment affects them . I am registered for 17 creidts, so if I drop the SCUBA class I am still in the clear. In other words, I have all summer to think long and hard about it. I am going to contact my doctor probably later in the week, and will report back.

I guess I am just scared to do such a thing as scuba, despite my strong desire. I don't know if I would feel comfortable knowing that such pressure is crushing down on my brain when there is already something obstructing my CSF flow; it's not kind to my body, I feel. I am going to test out swimming a bit this summer in greater depths to see how my body feels after being submerged for, say, forty seconds (if I can hold my breath that long!).

Thanks again guys, will keep you updated.
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  Just a quick FYI- with swimming the way u move ur arms and shoulders affects ur neck too....I found in order to "swim" I can only do it on my back with minimal arm movement...this way I am not holding my head up and not using my arms and shoulders to propel thru the water...I am using my legs more....

Just something to think about if what u try u have pain or pressure.....
Avatar universal
Well, I don't swim that much, but now that I think of it, I may actually get headaches after swimming as a result of what you mentioned. Oh, the fun of having Chiari.
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  Yeah ain't it tho....lol...

I like to just walk in the water and use it as resistance.....and I swim on my back...lol....that way minimal arm and shoulder and neck movement...

I even found trying to float on my stomach on  a tube was too much as I had to hold my head up....ugh

It feels like it weights more like 50 lbs....I know it doesn't but it gets to be too much and it is not comfy....so I gave that up....my sister found a blow up chair with back and neck support and a cup holder for me...my new best friend in the pool : )
1925822 tn?1333705617
The swimming things u describe like just being on the back and not going into deep water because of breathing really surprised me.i always thought i just dont like water...but actually my neck never felt comfortable...thanks selma for sharing.its really interesting how we adopt to the condition although we are not really aware
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  No worries...I truly believe many of us have more issues/symptoms that we have dealt with but are not aware of bcuz of how we compensate naturally for how we feel,, and we do change what we do so we r comfortable....and avoid things that we do not feel comfortable doing....I hated gym class, playing sports, swinging on a swing, watching a merry-go-round....blowing up balloons...I mean everything kids r supposed to love...right??..nah

Just like being female and hating shopping...lol...
Avatar universal
Over the years, I have begun to attribute almost every single ailment/issue I've had to Chiari (minus common cold and other obvious things). When you think about it, why not? Our brain is the control center of our entire body, and having protruding tonsils pressing down into the spinal cord can make our entire body sensitive to even the slightest things.
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  I agree with u 100% that it may play a role is most everything we deal with and yes, our control center is hijacked....so everything is amiss....
1925822 tn?1333705617
u guys are great!!!!!!!!!!!!! and selma again a yes for the dislikes u mentioned...i swear ever since people thought I am crazy or strange as I avoided stuff u should normally enjoy...Cant even walk on heels...my balance would never allow it!!!
620923 tn?1452915648
COMMUNITY LEADER

  did u ever have a problem tapping ur foot to a song...it starts out ok, but then u feel like it is not going the way u think it should and u can keep the rhythm  ne more...almost like ur leg and foot r fighting against u in the tapping...very odd, I always thought I was just not co ordinated...lol..
1925822 tn?1333705617
Lmao...oh yes...i do have rhythm in my blood,but in terms of tapping my feet i have to surrender...never connected that one neither.
Avatar universal
I have ran into this issue as well - I did talk to my specialist and he said it was find - so long as it didn't hurt me....I havent done it yet though...I wasnt able to talk to him before the opportunity passed
Avatar universal
Not sure if my other posted but.... I have chiari!  I have had surgery and they removed a portion of my skull!  I dove before my surgery and continue to dive today!  My neurosurgeon and neurologist say its fine!
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