The bends in diving

The bends in diving, or decompression sickness, is a condition that occurs when a diver returns to the surface too quickly after a dive. The nitrogen that builds up in the blood due to pressure changes causes bubbles to form in the bloodstream. If untreated, these bubbles can cause serious health problems, including paralysis and death. To avoid getting the bends, divers must carefully plan their dives and ascend slowly enough that they don’t descend faster than their bodies can eliminate nitrogen.


The beginning of the bends

The beginning of the bends in scuba diving is when a diver begins to feel pain and discomfort in the joints, muscles, and tendons. This can happen while they are still underwater or even after they have surfaced and are breathing fresh air. The symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing up blood.

Often scuba divers will feel no pain until they ascend too quickly, which causes nitrogen bubbles to form in their bloodstream. When these bubbles reach the surface of the skin, they cause pain as they expand. The affected area will swell up and may turn blue or purple in color as it fills with blood under pressure from the trapped nitrogen gas.

Why is it called the bends?

“The bends” is a colloquial term for a medical condition known as decompression sickness. This condition is caused by a rapid decrease in pressure that leads to the formation of gas bubbles in the body’s tissues and blood.

The term “the bends” is thought to have originated in the early days of diving, when divers would come to the surface too quickly and experience this condition. The name “the bends” comes from the fact that the symptoms of the condition, such as joint pain and skin bends, make the person affected look as if they are bending over.

While the term “the bends” is still used colloquially today, it’s important to note that decompression sickness is a serious medical condition that requires prompt treatment.

How do bends happen in scuba diving?

They happen while scuba diving when divers go to the bottom of the ocean and they stay there for a while. If they stay there too long, their blood will not be able to hold as much oxygen and they can get sick. That is why it is important for divers to come up before they get sick.

The reason is that your body can’t handle the pressure, so it releases some fluid into your lungs and bloodstream. This causes inflammation, which is painful and can be dangerous if not treated right away. The deeper you go underwater, the more pressure there is in your body.

What is the main cause of bends in diving?

The main cause of this is the formation of bubbles in the bloodstream. This happens when your body is subjected to pressure, like when you dive deep underwater. The reason that this happens is because nitrogen, one of the components of air we breathe, is absorbed into our bloodstream and tissues while we are under pressure. When the pressure is released, the nitrogen comes out of solution and forms bubbles in our blood vessels. The bubbles then lodge in small blood vessels, preventing oxygen from getting through to tissues and causing pain and damage to tissues.

How do you know you have the bends?

If you are wondering whether or not you have the bends, here are some symptoms:

  • A dull pain in your joints, muscles and bones that does not go away with rest and gets worse after exercise
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness, fatigue, weakness

How to avoid it?

Bends in diving is something that all divers should be aware of. It is a very real risk, and if you are not careful, it can happen to you.

To avoid it in scuba diving, you need to make sure that you are properly hydrated before and during your dive. You need to drink plenty of water before the dive, and on the boat ride over to your dive site. Also, make sure that you take a few sips of water every 10 minutes while you are in the water. This will help prevent dehydration and keep your body well-hydrated so it can recover quickly after any exertion or pressure changes that occur during your dive.

Once you have completed your dive and are back on land again, drink plenty of water again—this time with electrolytes added. This will help flush out any excess nitrogen from your system so that it does not become trapped there and cause bubbles in your joints or other parts of your body (which can lead to pain and even paralysis).

What to do when you experience bends after scuba diving?

When you experience it after scuba diving, it is important to know what to do.

First and foremost, do not panic! You are most likely fine. But, it is important to know what to do in case something goes wrong.

The first thing you should do is breathe normally. If your symptoms worsen or don’t improve within 12 hours then seek medical attention.And if you are in water and experiencing pain in your joints or muscles, get out of the water immediately and rest on a flat surface until your symptoms subside. If they don’t subside within 24 hours, or if they begin to worsen again after resting for 24 hours, it is time to go see your doctor.


In the end, it is all about being proactive. It takes time to learn to dive, but if you are willing to put in the work and practice your skills, then you can avoid potential pitfalls and injuries that could leave a lasting mark. And with that in mind, here are a few more tips for avoiding bends in diving.