Chiari Online Support Group

Is Jogging Safe?

Due to Covid, I haven’t yet had my MRI. I’m a fitness enthusiast, but my dizziness has become much worse the past couple of months. I’m very concerned about whether or not it is safe to continue exercising like I do.

Axial loading(jogging, ATV riding, roller coasters) can often exacerbate symptoms of Chiari(but there is no literature that it causes further cerebellar tonsillar descent).

I usually recommend to lead a normal life(and run if it doesn’t worsen your symptoms).

However, this is NOT a “No pain, no gain” situation. If you are doing something and “it” hurts, stop doing “it”, whatever “it” is.

Each patient is an individual and knows their body better than anyone else.

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Thank you for the response. This makes me feel much better about the days that I just can’t bring myself to exercise. Jogging doesn’t seem to be one of the activities that increases the discomfort (most of the time). But there are some days that my whole body just feels too weak to do any of it.

Hi, are you a chiari doctor? I am curious if you recommend a mini elliptical or mini stepper as some form of cardio activity? I walk, but it’s enough to get heart rate up and I don’t run. Neuros say it’s not chiari, but chiro says it’s a mild grade 0 chiari.

Also, do you recommend SOT - sacral occipital technique and cranio sacral therapy to get rid of dizziness and if not, which non invasive therapies are best to eliminate wobbly head, heavy head, dizziness?

Thank you!

In order:

Yes, I am a fellowship trained, board certified neurosurgeon who treats
many Chiari patients. Since there is no national certification for
“Chiari doctor”, I would be hesitant to call myself that.

In terms of your other questions, there is much variability between
patients and I would therefore recommend you do what works best for you.
Again, this is not a “no pain, no gain” situation, so if you are doing
something at it makes your symptoms worse, stop doing “it”, whatever
“it” is.

In terms of SOT, it was more trendy a few years ago than it is now. I
have never prescribed it but have had it help some patients. I would
put it in the same category as acupuncture, meaning there is anecdotal
evidence it helps some patients but no published, randomized control
studies suggesting it should be regularly used in any patient

Hope these thoughts help!

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I, too, was a running enthusiast prior to Chiari. In fact, I was winning marathons and 10Ks and such. Then - in 2001, along came Chiaris. I went 10 years misdiagnosed and became completely paralyzed and brain dead before decompression surgery in 2012. My neurosurgeon said ‘no jogging’ for the first year post-surgery. After a decade of increased paralysis, I found I could hardly even wallk. Thanks to my neurosurgeon, I was encouraged to become active asap. He said to jump back into life with both feet as vigorously as I could, including exerise. Movement revives the Central Nervous System. I sure tried. I found I could never get the running mojo back. I have degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis which triggers aches and pains all over my skeletal structure. Running means hammering the ol’ body against the road repeatedly. Wow. That hurt. INSTEAD, I have discovered racewalking - and more recently - powerwalking! What fun that has been. I’m old enough to join the Senior Olympic Games circuit, (you have to be over age 50) where each state offers a track meet which can include the 1,500meter powerwalk and/or the 5K powerwalk. To my shock and amazement, last year I not only qualified and finished on the awards stand at Nationals, but later in the year, I have set one of the fastest times in the nation for the 5K. I never would have imagined it. Especially post-Chiaris! Powerwalking is much easier on the crumbling bones and joints - and less technical than racewalking. And, the races offer a competetive venue for the competitive spirit! There you go… powerwalking is another option for Chiari fitness folks.


BethR, thank you for sharing your story! I’ve really just stopped trying to jog anymore, its so uncomfortable. But I’m all about speed walking! I make sure to get at least 10,000 steps in a day, & break a sweat doing it

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