Are there any divers out there? I scuba dive… In fact I got my advanced open water after the MRI scan had been done. (I went on holiday to Thailand, letter was on the door mat unopened with the results!) Now that I’ve been diagnosed… I need a medical certificate to dive again. My goal is to get my dry suit certificate and dive the continental plate tectonics in Iceland. One of my local dive schools told me to get in touch with a local private doctor who does dive medicals and so I emailed him… He said that he never issues medical certificates for people with neurological conditions. My specific symptoms/severity etc were irrelevant. He just as a blanket ‘no’ policy for MS… He did say that it’s just his opinion so I might find a different doctor who’d be more willing to sign me as fit to dive. I’m still waiting to see my MS specialist and hopefully he will treat me as an individual rather than just an MS patient. I was just wondering if there is anyone out there who does scuba dive? And if you found it difficult to get a medical certificate or if you even declare your MS and just dive anyway? Thanks, Nic
I took this from the UK Diving Medical Committee.
The symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) and optic neuritis are very similar to neurological decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism. Any neurological symptom arising within 24 hours of surfacing from a dive must be considered dysbaric in origin and the only method of establishing the diagnosis is by assessing the response to therapeutic recompression. Instances have occurred where new neurological symptoms have arisen following dives in individuals who have had suspected or confirmed multiple sclerosis. These have proved very difficult management problems for the attending diving physicians. However, the medical committee recognises that up to one-third of patients do not develop progressive disability and remain relatively unimpaired many years after the onset of the illness. The committee therefore considers that a prospective diver who has experienced the symptoms and/or signs of MS should wait for a period of at least one year before taking up scuba-diving. During that year, no further symptoms or signs of MS should become evident and there should be no further clinical deterioration in the patient.
If a diver with MS experiences further episodes of MS (in or out of the water) then he/she must cease diving for a period of one year during which time there should be no further signs or symptoms of MS and his/her clinical condition should not deteriorate further.
Consideration of individual cases may be undertaken by the medical committee. The position with isolated optic neuritis remains unclear, but a recent episode of isolated optic neuritis would also disqualify for a period of one year.
I have dived. About 130 dives. All over the world, but only recreationally. No mixed gases etc. Max depth i think was probably 45m. Got my PADI advanced. My buddy is my missus. I have not dived since diagnosis.
MS does not stop me from wanting to dive in the future. I do not know what additional certification i should acquire. To be honest, i wouldn’t even consider it. I would sign the liability waiver form of whatever dive company i went with and get on with it.
If i felt sick for any reason (MS, DVT, nitrogen narcosis, whatever) then i would owe it to myself and my dive buddy not to go into the water (at least not below 10m).
Enjoy these things whilst you can! But be aware of your limitations!
@whammel, I had already read that. I was hoping to get personal experiences of actual divers rather than theory from the internet, which is more or less the same theory the doctor gave me. The symptoms are the same, so DCS can be mistaken or undiagnosed. As long as I avoid DCS I should be fine though. @paolo Smythe. Once I find a doctor who’ll sign the medical form I’ll be straight back in the water!
if i were you i wouldn’t even bother; is there a legal obligation for such a medical report?
even if there were… bawls to it! there are bubbles to be blown!
Usually yes, for insurance purposes. You get that self declaration medical form which includes neurological conditions. If you tick yes to any of them, you need a doctor’s authorisation to dive otherwise it voids any insurance they have or you might have privately.
ah yes, of course.
thanks for the reminder.
farking insurance shysters.
I have just got my open water certification and I want to continue diving. I was just wondering if anyone knows about any MS support diving groups. It is hard to explain to the dive master while I do things slower than others, and sometimes, I feel that I am way slower than anyone in the group and I am having problems to catch up with the rest. Getting my open water certification was my personal achievement, sort of to prove to myself that MS cannot limit my life and take everything away from me. I am a swimmer and it helps a lot with my pains. Let me know if you guys know anything about people with MS diving together. I really want to upgrade my certification to do ship wreck diving.
Another question I have is whether anyone of you had a problem with equalisation. My ears after a week are still plugged and sometimes it is really painful. I know I have to see my doctor soon about it, but I wanted to know if this is because I messed up under water or it is common with MS?
This site is for diving with disabilities and might be a good place to start. http://scubatrust.org.uk/
I never had a problem clearing my ears, but didn’t dive terribly deep either. Lots of MSers use a hyperbaric chamber as a therapy and presumably they manage ok. http://www.msntc.org.uk/oxygen_treatment.php
Congratulations on the qualification and hope you find a workable solution.
Thank you so much. I will try the site now I went as far as 60 feet, but even diving on the shallow water was a problem for me. Floating and ascending is not a problem, but descending is something I have to be careful with it. Once again, thank you for your advice, since I definitely want to continue with it.
sorry its been so long since I was here.
Try searching online for diveability. They’re a disabled friend diving group.
I’ve never had a problem equalising my ears.