What IS Chiari Malformation?
What The Books Say:
Chiari Malformation is an abnormality in the lower part of the brain called the cerebellum. There are three different types of Chiari Malformation, but the most common is Chiari 1. In most cases, Chiari is congenital (which means you'd have it since you were born.).
Chiari 1 Malformation is when the cerebellar tonsils (the lower part of your brain) hang below the skull, opening into the spinal canal. These tonsils can press up agaisnt the nerves in the spinal cord, causing severe syptoms. Though, some people who have Chiari, may not know it because symptoms do not occur in ALL Chiari holders. Most people do not experience symptoms until adolescence or early adulthood. Though, symtoms can be seen in younger kids.
What My Doctors At TCI are Trying to Prove:
Chiari is the amount of pressure in your head, often a result of too much pressure forces the brain to herniated into the spinal cord. The herniation is just one way to tell if you have Chiari or not. The pressure and the herniation constrics the flow of your spinal fluid, resulting in a varity of symptoms. (See our symptoms page for more info)
Why Chiari gets overlooked or mis-diagnosed:
Lack of information in the medical feild, which is why awareness is so important and very much needed.
Everyone in the whole world has a different brain. Yes, there are the most common symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and vision problems; but there are many symptoms that one person with Chiari may have, that another won't. This is because everyone's body is different. We all have a different brain, skull size, placement of the veins, dura size, nerves, ect. The list could go on and on.
There is no cure for Chiari Malformation.
As upsetting and heart breaking that it is, as of now, there is no cure for Chiari Malformation. Though, some doctors/NS might say that after you have surgery, your Chiari is cured. In my opinion, seek a second opinion of another doctor, considering there is no cure. You will have Chiari Malformation for the rest of your life. Surgeries will only make it easier to live with. Surgery is not a gareentee that you will feel better, though; most surgery results take away some symptoms. I know it's hard to accept but there are many people that are going through what you are and are willing to talk to you if you need it. (see Useful Links)
This diagram may help:
(Picture from Chiari Insitute)