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Old 10-29-2011, 12:21 AM   #1
beconfly
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Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

When i started diving seriously last year i didn't have any problems with my ears or clearing. I never had ear pain, just gradual pressure build if i missed an equalization, and would just come back up, no problem.

This year, quite often, i get this very strong ear/sinus pain after a few dives. What often happens is: I make a few dives to 20-30 feet no problem. Equalization feels fine. Then one dive i go down 15 feet and get a very strong ear/sinus pain that comes on quickly, although i'm pretty sure i was equalizing okay. I go back up and the pain goes away. After that, if i do a few more dives, then this pain will come on very strong at only like 3-4 feet under water! Then i also get shooting pains in my sinus/eyes.

It happened to me today, and it is extremely annoying and frustrating. If i go down very slowly, and equalize every one foot, then i can get down without too much pain, but of course that is not practical when diving and hunting.

It doesn't happen every session, but it has happened to me more than half my dive session lately. I've tried sinus rinsing the night before and morning before diving. I've tried sudafed and afrin. Nothing seems to work consistently.

Any ideas on what may cause this? Could it be another part of my ear or sinus that is not getting equalized? its killing me and ruining my enjoyment of the sport! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by beconfly; 10-29-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:43 AM   #2
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Ear wax ,you can try a ear wax removal kit you can get a rite aid . Go to a ent if that dosent work . Are you geting ear pain after diveing?
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

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Originally Posted by phil herranen View Post
Ear wax ,you can try a ear wax removal kit you can get a rite aid . Go to a ent if that dosent work . Are you geting ear pain after diveing?
Phil
Thanks Phil, I will try an ear wax removal kit. I've read elsewhere that it is generally bad to remove earwax, as it is necessary to protect my ears from bacteria that will cause ear infections. But maybe now i've built up too much in there. I don't get the earpain after diving, just during the dive, and it usually goes away within a few minutes of coming back up.
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Old 10-29-2011, 06:39 PM   #4
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Could be allergies bothering your sinuses. I had that problem before. Ended up being a sinus infection. Treated the infection with antibiotics. Soon after I would have problems again. Went back to the doctor who said it was allergies inflaming my sinus and that the original infection was probably caused by allergies. Gave me a prescription for allegra. I'm not big on taking meds and don't take these on a daily bases but, if I know I'm going diving, I'll start taking it the day before. Haven't had a problem since. Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:49 PM   #5
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

As mentioned above, get your doctor to refer you to a ear/nose/throat specialist.

Sounds like you have some sort of infection. Check it out sooner than later.

Good luck !
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:22 PM   #6
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Ear wax is your best friend in freediving
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Is it possible to have an infection all year long? Actually, last year around the holidays i did have a pretty severe sinus infection, the first one i've ever had, and it lasted a good month. It was a few weeks after that sinus infection was cleared up (or at least i though it was cleared up), that I went diving and felt this strong ear pain phenomena, and i've had it off and on since then. I'm worried that either that sinus infection permanently damaged something in my ear/sinus, or i dove too soon after the infection and caused damage. I'm going to try the allergy med, and the earwax removal, and if this happens again i'm definitely going to go to an ENT to get things checked out.

Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:33 PM   #8
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

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Originally Posted by beconfly View Post
Is it possible to have an infection all year long? Actually, last year around the holidays i did have a pretty severe sinus infection, the first one i've ever had, and it lasted a good month. It was a few weeks after that sinus infection was cleared up (or at least i though it was cleared up), that I went diving and felt this strong ear pain phenomena, and i've had it off and on since then. I'm worried that either that sinus infection permanently damaged something in my ear/sinus, or i dove too soon after the infection and caused damage. I'm going to try the allergy med, and the earwax removal, and if this happens again i'm definitely going to go to an ENT to get things checked out.

Thanks for the help guys.
It might not be an infection. It could just be inflammation from allergies.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:45 PM   #9
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

See a doc. I used to get those in San Francisco every time it rained and the sewers overflowed into the bay. I solved the problem by switching to a dry suit in the winter months. You need antibiotics dude.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:51 PM   #10
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Ok. Retread the original post. Sounds like you have a blocked sinus. Try using some decongestants a day or two before diving. Once you irritate your ear drum, it will nag you for a while. Very sensitive area and even an itch in your ear can cause throbbing pain.nothing to fool around with. Get it checked if you want to continue diving.
Good luck!
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:11 AM   #11
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

Go see an ENT. It sounds like you had a pretty severe infection before that went on for a while. You can develop scar tissue in your inner ear and sinuses from prolonged infection which could be part of your problem. Only your doctor can diagnose it for sure though.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:26 AM   #12
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

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Ear wax is your best friend in freediving
You are right but not excessive amounts . Cold water makes you produce extra wax and also bone around the ear canal . If you freedive and surf (cold water makes it much worse) a lot the wax will compact against your ear drum and make it very dificult to clear . After a multi day trip I have had my hearing get cut in half and had trouble hearing . I went to a ent and he told me what was going on and told me to use a ear wax kit ,I had a 1/4" plug of wax and sand come out of each ear ,now I use the kit whenever I have trouble clearing when I know I don't have a sinus issue going on
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #13
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

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Originally Posted by phil herranen View Post
You are right but not excessive amounts . Cold water makes you produce extra wax and also bone around the ear canal . If you freedive and surf (cold water makes it much worse) a lot the wax will compact against your ear drum and make it very dificult to clear . After a multi day trip I have had my hearing get cut in half and had trouble hearing . I went to a ent and he told me what was going on and told me to use a ear wax kit ,I had a 1/4" plug of wax and sand come out of each ear ,now I use the kit whenever I have trouble clearing when I know I don't have a sinus issue going on
Phil
Well that explains why I have trouble equalizing sometimes when I dive in the St. Lawrence (50 degrees now !)
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #14
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

ive got the same problem ..its horrible . any one know of a good ENT ( in socal or nearby) that has some dive experience and someone that I could relate to in this matter.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:22 PM   #15
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Re: Throbbing ear/head/sinus pain - advice needed

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ive got the same problem ..its horrible . any one know of a good ENT ( in socal or nearby) that has some dive experience and someone that I could relate to in this matter.
For what its worth, I used the earwax removal kit and tried allergy medication before diving. Whatever I did has worked so far. Perhaps I should have followed the scientific method more carefully, trying one remedy then the other to determine individual effects. I'm not sure how much earwax I got out of my ear, it took a few days of usage and I never got a solid plug out, but there was definitely a build up in there.

The last few times I've gone out, I took an allergy medication call Xyzal a few hours before hand, and I had no sinus or ear issues. Hopefully this continues to work for me. I think it helped, but I'll try diving without it, and I'll continue experimenting with various remedies.

I haven't seen an ENT specialist yet, but if you're looking for one near the southbay area, someone gave me the name of Nina Yoshpe, an MD at SCENT on Wardlow in Long Beach. Again, I haven't personally seen her, but another diver claims she is the best he has seen, and solved all his issues. Good luck.
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