Chiari Online Support Group

Military enlistment


Hey everyone, I was diagnosed with Chiari at birth. I have type 1, I’ve never had any symptoms or problems with it, and I didn’t need to have the surgery. My doctor told my parents in 2006 that I had a very mild case of it at best and would never need the surgery, I might not even get the headaches from it. I was just wondering if I would be able to enlist into the Navy with my diagnosis. I’m as healthy and normal as any other 18 year old male.


I tend to want to tell you the armed services is not a wise career choice with a known Chiari. The thing with Chiari is you can be asymtopmatic until you have a mild injury – bump your head, mild whipping of the neck from a sudden stop, fender bender car accident… there are any number of things that can “activate” Chiari. It seems like active duty is increasing that risk.

Of course, in the same breath I can say there are many, many people who live their entire lives never knowing they even have Chiari. It’s a tricky thing. I would say you need to talk to your recruiter and get a meeting with a military medical person for a consult.




I’m not sure I can completely help with this question in specific but have been in the Navy for 10 years and just had my decompression surgery. They are saying they may not kick me out if all heals well. Call your local recruiting office and even if it is a medical condition you cannot join with, you can probably get a waiver. Especially since you don’t have symptoms! The recruiters should have a manual that literally lists conditions that you cannot join with. Dont get discouraged though, serving your country is a great honor and like I said ask for a WAIVER. The Navy has waivers for just about everything!