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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. 


Hello I'm new and could use some help understanding all of this

Started by Tysmom4ever in New Member Introductions. Last reply by dogrunner 19 hours ago. 4 Replies

Hello all, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your group.I am just learning about CM and I would like to know more. I am still waiting to see the surgeon but my neurologist said I would have to have surgery. I have had a constant migraine for…Continue


Started by JBs Momma in Parents and Caretakers of Children with Chiari. Last reply by Sugar 20 hours ago. 3 Replies

Hi, Jessica is 17 yo. 2 weeks post op... Cranio and laminectomy. She has been so sad and crying at the drop of a hat and does not know why. She wants to eat ravenously... Advise or consolation for her anyone? Thanks. Natalie. Jbs momma.

Back pain

Started by Robert Stanley in General. Last reply by gabby jazzypants yesterday. 1 Reply

I have been having sharp pains in my back between my shoulder blades and the pain shoots down my arm at the same time and my arm feels num too. Does anybody else have this issue? And does this sound like a chiari symptom?

Newly diagnosed from the UK.

Started by Laura in New Member Introductions. Last reply by Dawny6 on Thursday. 8 Replies

Hi I'm Laura 36 from Scotland. I have only very recently been diagnosed with Chiari 1 I'm a bit confused by it all.I had a sudden seizure and was taken to hospital was observed and was to return as an outpatient for further investigations. After 4…Continue

Your Community, Your Commitment

Started by BaltimoreBaby in General. Last reply by Jules G on Thursday. 1 Reply

Do you remember when you first found your Ben's Friends' Chiari community and the immediate welcoming connection you felt? You know then just how important it is to continue welcoming new members to the community.We're looking for special volunteers…Continue

Curious about other thing that people have been tested for along with the chiar

Started by Plwise in General on Thursday. 0 Replies

I'm just wondering what other tests people have had due the medical community not believing our symptoms are related to Chiari.Like the 2 neurologists and one of the neurosurgeons I've seen just want to treat me for migraines and I had one…Continue

Dr. doesn't seem concerned w/Chiari

Started by smeyeln in Symptoms. Last reply by dogrunner on Wednesday. 2 Replies

So I know my chiari is only 5mm and my Dr seems baffled with all mySymptoms. At what point do they decide to do something.  I now have constant ringing in my ears, which is annoying but nothing compared to the fatigue, pain in my feet and these…Continue

Dr. Iskandar UW Children's Hospital

Started by Val has Chiari in General. Last reply by atmeh on Wednesday. 1 Reply

Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone has any experience with Dr. Iskandar at UW Children's Hospital in Madison, WI?Continue

Latest Activity

Jules G left a comment for R Mom
"Hello R Mom, welcome to our community. Thank you for joining us to support your daughter and our…"
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Jules G left a comment for Marion
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"Hello darkness, welcome to our community. Please feel welcome to join any discussions that catch…"
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Jules G left a comment for Glory4
"Hello there Glory4, welcome to our community. Feel welcome to join any discussions that catch your…"
12 hours ago
dogrunner replied to Tysmom4ever's discussion Hello I'm new and could use some help understanding all of this
"Hello Tysmom4ever! Have you had a recent head trauma or whiplash to bring on migraines and vertigo?…"
19 hours ago
Sugar replied to JBs Momma's discussion SOS POST OP DEPRESSION.
"Hi I would let her neuroseurgeon know, this is a normal post surgery response. I would just start…"
20 hours ago

Jules G left a comment for savvy5596
"Hello savvy5596, welcome to Chiari Support. This is a great place for information, both in our…"

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Top Content 

1 Newly diagnosed from the UK.

Newly diagnosed from the UK.

Posted by Laura on July 27, 2015

2 Hello I'm new and could use some help understanding all of this

Hello I'm new and could use some help understanding all of this

Posted by Tysmom4ever on June 5, 2015



Posted by JBs Momma on July 28, 2015

4 Dr. doesn't seem concerned w/Chiari

Dr. doesn't seem concerned w/Chiari

Posted by smeyeln on July 28, 2015

5 Losing my mind

Losing my mind

Posted by Pamela on July 28, 2015

6 Tingling sensations in my left leg post op 2weeks

Tingling sensations in my left leg post op 2weeks

Posted by Yvonne Strawberri Jones on July 25, 2015

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Posted by CJ on July 29, 2015 at 12:31pm 1 Comment

I have a question about symptoms.   I have Chairi 1 Malformation - 11 mm distention.

Does anyone else have more sympoms when:

weather is extremely hot or cold?

when haven't been able to rest enough?



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