Normal MRI?

Hi, my son is 14 years old and he has had headaches and weird stomach aches for about 6 years. Recently, he started getting headaches everyday and the stomach aches have been more often, so I took him to a neurologist which said he beleived his headaches were food related. He gave us a list of foods to try to eliminate one by one to see which ones are causing the headaches. He also ordered an MRI w/o contrast and an EEG. We haven't done the EEG yet, but I called the doctors office and the nurse told me his MRI was normal. I asked for a copy and it says he has low-lying cerebellar tonsils noted with the tonsils protruding below the level of foramina magnum by approzimately 3 to 5 mm, consistent with mild cerebellar tonsillar ectopia. Also minimal chronic left maillary and left anterior/middle ethmoid sinusitis noted.

My question is do I need to see another neurologist since this one thinks this is normal, or could this actually be considered normal? One of my main concerns is him playing sports, he plays football and does pole vault, and I'm not sure if he needs to stop or not. Thanks for any help!

My opinion is see a neurosurgeon one who specializes in Chiari. The protrusion is not normal and the sinus trouble can be a symptom of Chiari as well. As for the stomach aches I am not sure, but I would continue the elimination diet, my wife and daughters have food allergies, to be on the safe side.

Someone once said there is problems at the point of injury of malformation (here at the base of the skull) and anything below can be a problem. It wasn't said exactly like that but my point is with the protrusion it would not surprise me that stomachaches area related to Chiari.

What other symptoms does he have?

Sorry, not going near the sports question, that is best left up between the three of you family, neurosurgeon, and the school. Some schools may not allow him to participate due to a preexisting condition and they all play CYA (cover your a**)

Thank you for replying, he doesn't have any other symptoms really but the stomach aches (as he calls them) are hard for him to explain, he feels nausea but not enough to actually make him sick. We have seen a gastro for those and he had several blood test, stool samples and even a endoscopy done and all was normal, with no explaination. Also he had a CT scan done in 2008 when he first started getting headaches and the low-lying tonsils weren't mentioned.

Oh yeah, and another question, since the nurse for the neurologist that ordered the MRI told me over the phone that his MRI was normal, should I even bother going back for the follow-up and EEG, or would it just be a waste of time and money? I already have an appointment with a nuerosurgeon that specializes in Chiari on April 18th.

I was also told that mine was a normal MRI, then when a different neurologist looked at it I was automatically referred to the neurosurgeons office, I never even had an appointment with him. The first one said there is no way that could cause pain as the brain has no pain receptors LOL. Obviously she had no idea what she was talking about as I had surgery and the headaches are pretty much gone. I was also incredibly nauseated when the headache would get really bad. As far as the sports, I have been told that any blow to the head can make it worse and to use caution. I can't answer if you should go for that appointment, if it were me I am not too sure that I would bother with going. I cut all ties with the ding dong who told me that it wouldn't cause head pain, and I did this as soon as I had a referral to the neurosurgeon. I now have a new neurologist that I see since surgery. Good luck!

Something else I just thought about, about a year ago his pcp said he had scoliosis during a physical, we went to a specialist and they did an xray and they said he had a small curvature and to follow-up in 6 months, at 6 months they said the xray showed no curvature, could this be related somehow?

Michael Salasky said:

My opinion is see a neurosurgeon one who specializes in Chiari. The protrusion is not normal and the sinus trouble can be a symptom of Chiari as well. As for the stomach aches I am not sure, but I would continue the elimination diet, my wife and daughters have food allergies, to be on the safe side.

Someone once said there is problems at the point of injury of malformation (here at the base of the skull) and anything below can be a problem. It wasn't said exactly like that but my point is with the protrusion it would not surprise me that stomachaches area related to Chiari.

What other symptoms does he have?

Sorry, not going near the sports question, that is best left up between the three of you family, neurosurgeon, and the school. Some schools may not allow him to participate due to a preexisting condition and they all play CYA (cover your a**)


Thank you mommy.of.two.5483, I was thinking it would probably be a waste of my time to go there but since I only spoke with the nurse and not the neurologist, I wasn't sure, but I'm sure the neurologist has to look at the mri reports before the nurse calls and says they are normal.
mommy.of.two.5483 said:

I was also told that mine was a normal MRI, then when a different neurologist looked at it I was automatically referred to the neurosurgeons office, I never even had an appointment with him. The first one said there is no way that could cause pain as the brain has no pain receptors LOL. Obviously she had no idea what she was talking about as I had surgery and the headaches are pretty much gone. I was also incredibly nauseated when the headache would get really bad. As far as the sports, I have been told that any blow to the head can make it worse and to use caution. I can't answer if you should go for that appointment, if it were me I am not too sure that I would bother with going. I cut all ties with the ding dong who told me that it wouldn't cause head pain, and I did this as soon as I had a referral to the neurosurgeon. I now have a new neurologist that I see since surgery. Good luck!

Lots of us have nausea. I routinely throw up if I do to much activity. I wouldn't go back to the doctor just get hard copies of MRI's and reports. Why put yourself and son through that? We have all gone to doctors who don't believe us and dismiss our symptoms. I wouldn't give him/her the opportunity and money to dismiss your concerns. Ask the NS if he can recommend a nuerologist that knows something about Chiari. As far as sports just have him be careful until you can talk to the experts. Good luck.

please do not go back to the NL who said it was normal. Keep the NS who specializes in Chiari. please keep us informed and let me know if I acn help. There are a lot of great people here as well as a wealthy of information

I would deffinately get a copy of the scans and find a specialist, although not easy to find in some areas!

I read a study earlier today about cistern magnum crowding. The effects can be very similar to CM but the tonsils aren’t below the foreman magnum. Because of the function of the cistern magnum the crowding in that space by the cerebellum which also happens with CM is a significant finding. The study preformed decompression surgery on these patients and the outcome was positive. Most saw a significant decrease in symptoms.

This once again proves the size of the hurniation isn’t a very good indicator as to the severity of the case.