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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. 


Hi! New here and looking for feedback.

Started by Charitymac in New Member Introductions. Last reply by Charitymac 8 hours ago. 4 Replies

Hi everyone!   I was diagnosed with a chiari malformation and pseudotumor cerebri in October of 2015.  I'm on medication for the pseudotumor and it has worked as far as my swollen optic nerves.   I'm being treated by neuro opthamologist and a…Continue

Symptoms returning after decompression surgery in 2002.

Started by Mo in New Member Introductions. Last reply by Fugu 10 hours ago. 4 Replies

Hello all,My Chiari came on suddenly at the age of 26. It would be another 26 yrs and many doctors later before I was diagnosed and had surgery. I would say that for some 11 yrs the surgery was 90% successful! Thank God and a skillful surgeon!I have…Continue

second decompression surgery

Started by Kim Rivas in Surgery and Recovery. Last reply by Kim Rivas 12 hours ago. 15 Replies

I am scheduled for my second decompression on July 9th. This is due to brain slumping. Has anyone else had or is having this problem. I was not aware my brain could move after the initial surgery.

Very nervous and scared!

Started by Brokenwing in New Member Introductions. Last reply by Fugu 18 hours ago. 2 Replies

Hello everyone, I want to first thank everyone for sharing all there stories, and information.  I reached out for some support, and found this forum and new it was a place folks could help me on my journey.  I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos…Continue

Latest Activity

Charitymac replied to Charitymac's discussion Hi! New here and looking for feedback.
"Thanks for the info.   I hope I am the right track now,  I was just wondering if my onset…"
8 hours ago
Charitymac replied to Charitymac's discussion Hi! New here and looking for feedback.
"Thanks for the info.   I have heard that the size of the herniation doesn't matter when…"
9 hours ago
Fugu replied to Mo's discussion Symptoms returning after decompression surgery in 2002.
"That's a long way to travel. I think, if it's possible, it's always a good thing to…"
10 hours ago
Mo replied to Mo's discussion Symptoms returning after decompression surgery in 2002.
"Thank you for the replies! There is a "tightening" that originates at the base of my…"
10 hours ago

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Top Content 

1 First NS appointment

First NS appointment

Posted by Fugu on April 21, 2016

2 Flying


Posted by Jennifer on April 28, 2016

3 Very nervous and scared!

Very nervous and scared!

Posted by Brokenwing on April 27, 2016

4 Hi!  New here and looking for feedback.

Hi! New here and looking for feedback.

Posted by Charitymac on April 29, 2016

5 Symptoms returning after decompression surgery in 2002.

Symptoms returning after decompression surgery in 2002.

Posted by Mo on April 29, 2016

6 Greetings


Posted by Rose girl on April 30, 2016

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