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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. 


New Member Hoping for some Answers!

Started by sarahcait in Introductions. Last reply by soup 3 hours ago. 18 Replies

Hi all! My names Sarah. I'm 20 years old. I was diagnosed two years ago. Five years prior I complained to my parents of headaches and neck pain all the time. My doctor said I had a lot of muscle tension so she sent me to a chiropractor and physical…Continue

Dental Woes and potential spinal surgery

Started by treesforforest in General. Last reply by soup 4 hours ago. 5 Replies

Hi-I am new here and I have cervical stenosis--similar problems to chiari.  Just saw Dr heffez again after seeing him for first time in 99...been putting off a laminectomy/fusion all these years but getting closer to going for it.One of the reasons…Continue

Chiropractor Neurologist

Started by Yvonne in Symptoms and Medical Treatments. Last reply by gabby jazzypants 13 hours ago. 13 Replies

I just saw a chiropractor Neurologist today and had probably had the most thorough examinations ever!! He seems to have some good ideas and plans for me to receive some relief.  Has anyone else been to one and had some good results?Continue

New Symptoms?

Started by AnotherLisa in Symptoms and Medical Treatments. Last reply by gabby jazzypants 21 hours ago. 4 Replies

Hi everyone!  I have been experiencing what I think are some new symptoms, but I'm not real sure.  The last two days my vertigo has been pretty constant.  Everything feels "spinny".  Everything has been feeling kind of surreal, and I feel detached…Continue

Upcoming Surgeries

Started by BaltimoreBaby in General. Last reply by BaltimoreBaby yesterday. 22 Replies

We know of a number of members who will be having surgeries soon-dolphinlove123tes3jenTiffanywonderwoman1006Kayla C.Please join us in wishing them peace of mind, success and speedy recovery!Your Mod TeamContinue


Started by Lilmedic in Introductions. Last reply by Lilmedic yesterday. 2 Replies

My name is Jennifer. I'm 30 years old and about 10 years ago my mother was diagnosed with chiari malformation. She had the surgery and is doing good now. A couple of months ago I began having headaches ( more severe and frequent than before). Well…Continue

HELP--Post-Op CSF leak?

Started by Suz in General. Last reply by Suz yesterday. 3 Replies

Hey Everyone-Decompression/C-1 Laminectomy on 2/19-I have a palm-sized lump of CSF to the right of my scar. It developed as a Quarter-sized lump overnight on 3/19. Painful to put pressure on it. I was seen by my neurosurgeon on 3/25--was told the…Continue

personality changes post op?

Started by Melissa Wells in Parents and Caretakers of Children with Chiari. Last reply by gabby jazzypants yesterday. 1 Reply

Hey,I am looking for advice from others that have been through an experience similar to my son's. He had a craniotomy with a patch. He later had 2 more procedures from complications from the patch leaking. After that he developed bacterial…Continue

Latest Activity

soup replied to sarahcait's discussion New Member Hoping for some Answers!
"This site has a referral list with Drs in most states. That is the biggest step for you so you go…"
3 hours ago
soup replied to treesforforest's discussion Dental Woes and potential spinal surgery
"I too have had dental issues. I recently had upper left molar extracted. I went to any dentist that…"
4 hours ago
Debra Mann Davis posted a status
"But I am so scared. Because the doctor said if I had this surgery it would be twice as hard to recover from I am just scared and don't know"
5 hours ago
Debra Mann Davis posted a status
"Hi I went to see a new doctor at Vanderbilt in Nashville Tn. She said I need a 2nd surgery. It's for my chiari."
5 hours ago

SK commented on Dani's blog post Moving forward
"BTW, I had to google this guy, so here he is for any other who was…"
8 hours ago

SK commented on Dani's blog post Moving forward
"Hi Dani, though I am not a vet, my husband served in Nam/Cambodia and has been going to the VA for…"
8 hours ago
gabby jazzypants replied to Yvonne's discussion Chiropractor Neurologist
"Hi All Just wanted to put in a cautionary note here in that alternative medicines should still be…"
13 hours ago
Yvonne replied to Yvonne's discussion Chiropractor Neurologist
"I will definitely look into the study!! Thanks! I had no idea this was going on.  :) "
19 hours ago

About Blogs

Blogs are for tracking your personal journey and sharing your reflections, humor, or insights with the community. If you have questions about Chiari, living with Chiari, treating Chiari or anything else and would like responses, PLEASE start a thread in Discussions, as your question will be seen by more people and receive more answers. 

Blog Posts

Moving forward

Posted by Dani on April 23, 2015 at 11:26am 3 Comments

Hi everyone!

It's taken months.  The VA has finally approved me to see a Chiari specialist in Tulsa, Dr. Clifton Baird.  Though, it was a battle.  They seem to think that I should continue with occipital injections that do not work…



Posted by dolphinlove123 on April 22, 2015 at 12:02pm 0 Comments


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Top Content 

1 New Member Hoping for some Answers!

New Member Hoping for some Answers!

Posted by sarahcait on April 21, 2015

2 Greetings!


Posted by Kris on April 18, 2015

3 Upcoming Surgeries

Upcoming Surgeries

Posted by BaltimoreBaby on March 31, 2015


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Wow!  6000 threads as of Feb 28, 2015.  So much information, and sometimes  so hard to find. The mod team has set up some categories and will be sorting all 6000 posts into those categories, making it a bit easier to navigate

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