Went to a neurologist today with all my info (CT scans, MRI, MRA and hospital notes) - doesn't think I need surgery, even though my herniation is 13 mm, and prescribed Topamax.

You can always get a second opinion, but let me tell you surgery is NOT a cure or guarantee fix by any means! I had the decompression surgery 3 years ago and have all the same problems. Hopefully the Topamax will help you. And like Abby1 said drink lots of water!

Thanks Abby and Rosey! I had gone into the ER about a month ago with the most painful sudden headaches I had ever experienced (1 walking up a hill, others going to the bathroom, opening a jar). At first the doc thought I had a stroke or aneurism. After doing all the tests the neurosurgeon who read my tests said it was Chiari. My insurance requires multiple opinions, so technically this NL was my third if you count the NS at the hospital. Two said surgery, this one said wait. I am not one to leap on the table as soon as the 1st doc says so but I am concerned about nerve damage and I am scared to move, go to the bathroom, really just normal things due to those headaches. And I am kinda scared of this Topamax. I have anxiety issues and mild depression (Severe depression and bipolar run in my family) and the "suicide warning" made me take pause. Have you experienced those at all? Is that common in migraine med?Thanks for your advise so far.

PKteacher, I think almost any meds Ive been on as the "thoughts of suicide" warnings. Depression also runs in my family with several family members taking there lives, so i totally get your concerns. Ive taken topamax and a lot of others meds, I have had the suicidal thoughts (not sure if i was on Topamax at that time or not) but i really think that comes more from the feeling hopeless and constant pain with the illness/disorder and constantly searching for answers more than then medicine itself. Like Abby said depression goes along with chiari because its such a hard battle to go through. My advice is makes sure your doctor knows about your depression and any bad thoughts you have right away! Also make sure someone in your family/someone you live with knows whats going on in your head as well. I told my parents how i was feeling and we decide to get ANYTHING that could be harmful out view/reach/availability to me. That way when Im in unbearable pain I dont make a fast/stupid decision. And this forum Really helps, it makes you feel not so alone in your battle, We all know what your going through so feel free to vent any frustrations here. Stay strong, and Never give up!!!!