What is “The Bends”?

Most people have heard of the bend (decompression sickness), but not many know exactly what it is!

Decompression sickness is caused when bubbles of nitrogen gas are formed in the blood, when the pressure around them decreases too quickly.  This can cause a wide range of symptoms as the bubbles may form in different parts of the body. The bubbles then can cause blockages. These blood vessel blockages causes pain and various other symptoms, for example, sometimes similar to those of a stroke (such as weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, or dizziness), or even flu-like symptoms.

Decompression sickness is a frequent issue for divers due to the varying pressures underwater and can even happen in shallow waters!

Divers who are affected will typically be treated in a hyperbaric chamber like this one.


It is extremely important for diving contractors to implement safe diving techniques and be vigilant for any potential signs of sickness. Commercial and Specialised Diving have an exemplary health and safety record and our fully trained supervisors help to ensure that all correct diving procedures are adhered to.


If you require a commercial dive team, contact us today o 01202 580007 to ensure that you have a safe diving contractor with over 25 years of experience!