• IRONMAN COACH PHIL JARVIS

Swim Training and your Ears!


Have you ever suffered from headaches after swimming laps in the pool? It is a problem a lot of swimmers encounter, and it is a very frustrating one. I have suffered from Ear problems mainly in the form of Otis Externa for many years whilst swimming. Sometimes it has prevented me from training as it went Chronic leading to a week maybe 2 weeks out of Training. We all know what time out does for feel of the water - right!

After all, swimming is meant to be refreshing and invigorating. But your energy and enthusiasm for the sport will soon disappear if you keep getting out of the water with a pounding head.

Swimmers' headaches can be brought on by a number of factors, ranging from the type of kit you're wearing (goggles and swim caps in particular) to a lack of oxygen or dehydration.

However, no swimmer should have to endure a crashing head when they're enjoying a dip.

It takes all the fun out of it and, since you're already in the water and have paid your entry fee, you're either going to have to leave early and cut your losses or continue swimming with a banging head.

Sound familiar? Well, the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way.

There are a number of simple and easy changes you can make to your swim routine to tackle the problem of swimming headaches.

These headaches tend to come on fairly quickly once the compression is applied on the cutaneous nerves in your scalp and forehead, so it's likely you'll be suffering from it before you've even exited the water.

However the pain usually eases within one hour after the pressure is relieved, and the goggles or swim cap has been taken off.

Earplugs can also bring on an external compression headache by exerting pressure to the inner ear and jaw.

Using standard earplugs for swimming isn't a good idea. Instead, try using specialist swimming earplugs which have been made using a soft silicone structure that adapts to the shape of the ear.

If you really can't get on with wearing earplugs, you could try using Earol Swim Oil. This mist spray can be applied to your ears before swimming, and it creates a natural water-resistant coating.

With this or any other ear drop product, we'd always advise checking with your doctor if you're in any doubt, and particularly if you have a history of ear conditions.

Swimmer's ear is caused by trapped water in the ear, which allows bacteria to multiply inside the ear canal. It is an unpleasant condition with symptoms including itching, redness and swelling.

Children are most susceptible to swimmer's ear because they have narrower ear canals, but adults are also known to suffer from it.

If you've suffered headaches brought on by this, try using specialist swimming ear drops such as Swim-Eze Ear Drops. These drops work extremely quickly, evaporating the trapped water and eliminating the painful symptoms.

Chlorine can irritate the nasal lining and sinus membrane in your nose, which can bring on what's known as a sinus headache.

Sinus headaches can also be caused by pressure changes in the water, which can result in your sinuses becoming plugged. If you suffer from this type of headache, there are a couple of measures you can take.

Firstly, consider buying a swimming nose clip. These are comfortable and easy to wear, and they will seal your nostrils so the chlorinated water does not get up there.


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