It's been a while since I've posted on this forum and thought it was time to give back a little contribution to the club that has been great to me in the past.
I have been treated for the past 2 years as having reumatoid arthritis (RA) and would like to offer a bit of insight to those that are spearfishing/freediving and have been diagnosed with or being treated for RA.
During a dive a few weeks ago, I experienced something that I had never experienced before, cramps allover the body including hands, calf, thighs and hamstring. I put it down to being soft from not diving regularly. However, I have recently discovered that it is a manifestation of RA called rheumatoid cachexia (RC) which is loss of muscle strength and mass similar to muscle atrophy. The cramps that I had were dibilitating and I have only felt it in cold water temps below 15 degrees celcius.
Hopefully, anyone with RA understands these are serious symptoms and cautiously dives around periods of hightened inflammation. Do not hesitate to dump your dive weight and ensure to get back to your dive float upon onset, whilst lying on your back. Please, never rely on your dive buddy to get you out of these situations, you are compromising their safety when its too late.
By all means continue enjoying the comfort that freediving provides to reduced pain on inflamed or stressed joints. You just don't need to give an added level of difficulty to an inherintly dangerous sport.
I hope this information provides benefit to those spearfishing with RA in understanding the early signs. I would greatly appreciate to know if anyone else has discovered other symptoms of RA whilst spearfishing as it may be relevant to me or others out there diving with the condition.