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What is Chiari Malformation?

Chiari malformation, is usually present at birth and occurs at the back of the head where the brain and spinal cord connect.

There are four types of Chiari malformations:

  • Type 1 – occurs when the base of the skull and upper spinal area do not form properly. A type 1 Chiari malformation commonly goes unnoticed until problems arise in the adolescent or adult years of life. The headaches most typical of Chiari I malformations are usually located at the back of the head, and are often made worse by exertion.
  • Type 2 – sometimes known as an Arnold-Chiari malformation, a type 2 Chiari malformation is caused by part of the back of the brain shifting downward through the bottom of the skull. it is seen in infants who are born with spina bifida and can also be associated with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an overproduction or lack of absorption of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF).
  • Type 3 – occurs when the back of the brain protrudes out of an opening in the back of the skull area.
  • Type 4 – occur when the back of the brain fails to develop normally.

Children with Chiari I malformations may start to have symptoms as early as age 2 or 3. Some don't have any symptoms until they are older. Symptoms can appear any time. They may start or get worse after a trauma, physical effort or straining, such as exercising, coughing or sneezing.

Syringomyelia, common with Chiari, is a cyst in the center of the spinal cord that is filled with fluid. The cyst, also called a syrinx, can get larger and longer over time, putting pressure on the spinal cord and causing symptoms. If not treated, it may also eventually cause nerve damage.

Read more here about living and coping with CM. 



Started by mamabear32 in What's New With You?. Last reply by Offwthherhead86 2 hours ago. 3 Replies

I finally managed to get in with a gp doctor, mostly to get a refill of the fiorcet that the hospital gave me which has been helping quite a bit on most days. The doctor for one basically had no idea what chiari was, and decided I needed to be on an…Continue

Heart racing

Started by Lisa in Surgery and Recovery. Last reply by gabby jazzypants 9 hours ago. 1 Reply

I had surgery 3 weeks ago and it seems my symthom of my heart racing at times has not gone away. I can just be sitting in class and i can feel it racing. It comes and goes i know its not anxiety because i could be sleeping and it wakes me up. I know…Continue

2nd Decompression Surgery

Started by Brian's mom in General. Last reply by gabby jazzypants 23 hours ago. 1 Reply

My 13 yo son will be having his 2nd decompression next week. We finally feel like we found the right neurosurgeon :) He looked at the MRI & said he could clearly see pressure on the spinal cord that is causing my sons symptoms & has an exact…Continue

My Story-22 year old female and 6 months post Chiari Decompression and shunt placement

Started by bcto16 in New Member Introductions. Last reply by gabby jazzypants 23 hours ago. 1 Reply

Hi everyone! My name is Becky and I wanted to share my story..I am 22 years old and was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation type 1 on July 2015, right before my senior year of college. I have always been active playing sports since a young age and…Continue

Latest Activity

Offwthherhead86 replied to mamabear32's discussion Topamax?
"I have been on and off it for years as well. It does nothing for me at all. Well…"
2 hours ago

Jules G left a comment for A'Mya Dalton
"Hello and welcome A'Mya.  Glad you found and joined us here at Chiari Support. We've…"
6 hours ago

Jules G left a comment for Jennifer
"Hello there Jennifer, welcome to our amazing community here at Chiari Support. It certainly sounds…"
6 hours ago
Profile IconA'Mya Dalton and Jennifer joined Chiari Malformation - Online Support Group
6 hours ago

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