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springboard diving

I am 39 years old and started taking up springboard diving.  I have decided not to continue because immediately after an hour of diving I get all "stuffed" up and a it feels like a major sinus headache.  I was wondering if it is possible to wear a nose plug while diving and if you thought this might help my problem?  Also, water gets in my ears as well.  Is it possible to wear earplugs?  Oh, I am just on the 1m board.

Hi Rhonda -

I am familiar with the problem you are having because when I dived in high school and college, I used to get painful sinus conditions too. It happened when I plunged deeply and quickly from a head first dive. I did not want to quit so my mom took me to see an ear, nose and throat specialist to see what could be done. He prescribed a sinus medicine which is now the equivalent of an over the counter drug like Claritin. That helped, but once in a while I had to cut short my workout because I could not go deep. You might want to try seeing a similar doctor and find out if they think a prescription or over the counter drug will help you. The other thing I used to do before doing my first dive, was to bend over or do a handstand and if I felt pressure on my sinuses, I knew it was going to hurt to go deep. I would then do feet first dives and went shallow and saved the head first dives for the end of practice.

As far as a nose plug goes, you could try it but it probably won't stay on, especially for a head first dive. It most likely will come off. I know of divers who have used ear plugs because they have an ear infection or a perforated ear drum from a poor landing on the water. What they do is use a paraffin wax that molds into your ear. Regular ear plugs (like the kind that muffle sound) won't work. You will also need to wear a tight fitting swim cap over the ear wax to ensure they do not come out. This way water will stay out of your ear which may help your sinus condition.

The only other thing I think of is that you might be having an allergic reaction to the chemicals used to treat the pool water. This might be the cause of you getting all stuffed up when you dive. Some people cannot tolerate any form of chlorine and that might be happening to you. Since I am no medical expert, I think you should pay a visit to a specialist and find out more about your condition so you can keep diving. Good luck.

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