Hello everyone. I have some questions that “Dr. Google” isn’t really answering for me. To start, a quick summary of my story is as follows: about 3 - 4 years ago I went through a very stressful time. My mother was dying (who lived in my home) and my work was putting a lot of pressure on me to create presentations via powerpoint… like none stop every day all day for over a year. I was hunched over a computer with alot of pressure to hit due dates. During this time, I suddenly began experiencing weird symptoms with my vision… to this day, I cannot focus on brightly colored objects without getting an instant strange like I’ve never had before headache, but its in the front of my head and around my eyes, not in the back of my head. (I am now employed doing a job that doesn’t require this.) But over the past few years, I still have been experiencing neck pain at the lower part of my neck, an almost constant dull (tolerable) pressure in the right side of my head, the right side of my nose and around the eye get numb (it comes and goes) and my neck is stiff on the right side. These are very mild symptoms compared to what I’ve been reading. Well anyway to continue, 3 years ago I had an MRI of the brain, neck, thoracic and lumbar spine. They were looking for MS, since my mother had MS the neurologist thought for sure I did but the brain MRI showed no lesions. I noticed an observation from the radiologist back then that I had tonsillar ectopia measuring 3 mm; this was noted on the brain MRI and the cervical MRI. I ignored this finding as “Dr. Google” said it was insignificant. My neck pain continued through the years. Recently, I decided to go to an Orthropedic surgeon who did another MRI of my neck. The observation by the radiologist said I have Chiari 1 measuring at 5 mm. I also have a protruding disc in C5 C6, and encroachments and stenosis at C2 - C3, and C3 - C4. When I seen the note of Chiari 1 I immediately began to do research and decided I wasn’t going to mess around. I found a neurosurgeon here in Michigan who specializes in Chiari, Holly Gilmer and made an appt with her (it was a video appt due to the pandemic). This appt took place only about 5 weeks after the results of the last cervical MRI. During the appt, she measured the tonsil herniation and said I was at 9.05 mm, she said it was never at 3 mm or 5 mm. But she also said she didn’t think my symptoms were due to Chiari and referred me for a cervical epidural. Which finally leads to my questions… 1. If I don’t get the headaches then the CSF flow must be ok, right? 2. Do I believe the MRIs or the neurosurgeon on the length of the tonsils? I understand that up to 5 mm is still considered a normal MRI, 3. It safe for me to get a cervical epidural since I do have descended tonsils? 4. Can the tonsils extend further with time, or is this just a measurement error? I have been asymptomatic my entire life up until 3 years ago and I’m not sure if any of my symptoms are from Chiari. My fear is proceeding with treatments, like a cervical epidural, that may make a Chiari condition worse or trigger symptoms like the horrible Chiari headache I’ve read about… so I’ve done nothing yet.
I appreciate you reading my long story, any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.