©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of The Bends
(Decompression Syndromes)

Doctor's Notes on The Bends
(Decompression Syndromes)

The bends, also known as decompression sickness (DCS) or Caisson disease is a condition that occurs in scuba divers when dissolved gases (mainly nitrogen) come out of solution in the bloodstream, forming gas bubbles in the circulation. It is caused by rapid changes in pressure during scuba diving. The bends can affect almost any area of the body or any organ, including the lungs, heart, brain, joints, and skin.

The most common signs and symptoms of the bends include joint pains, fatigue, low back pain, paralysis or numbness of the legs, and weakness or numbness in the arms. Other associated signs and symptoms can include dizziness, confusion, vomiting, ringing in the ears, head or neck pain, and loss of consciousness.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW