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Brain & Nervous System Disorders Message Board

Brain & Nervous System Disorders Board Index

Re: Chiari symptoms
Aug 14, 2008
Hello, I'm new to this board and would love some help reading my mri. I've been diagnosed with a chiari malformation of 6 mm. I'verebellare suffered from headaches since I was around 7 yrs old and was diagnosed after a spinal fluid leak 3 yrs ago for no reason. I've had a cine mri which shows normal csf flow but I'm in so much pain every day now. Severe headaches and pressure in the back of my head from laughing, coughing, bending over, lifting.... My vision is blurry most of the time and my hearing is impaired from this. My neurologist says I'm not a candidate for surgery since the csf flow isn't being blocked so am I supposed to live on pain meds the rest of my life?? I'd love some feedback from anyone out there with the same symptoms.
MRI states
Cerebellar tonsils with slight protrusion through foramen magnum 6 mm. Several subtle increased signal foci on flair images, subcentimeter at periventricular white matter bilaterally, particularly at frontal horns. Major vessel flow voids identified with dominant vertebral arteron right. mastoid air cells unremarkable. Minimal soft tissue thickening of paranasal sinuses. Limited cervical cord with uniform contour.

If there is anyone out there that can decipher the above for me I'd appreciate it so much !!
Re: Chiari symptoms
Sep 13, 2008
Hi Jellebeans~

Your question is definately not a stupid one. I remember when I 1st learned about chiari, I worried about the same things. The mortality rate from chiari is rare. Most deaths from chiari are caused from patients who have sleep apnea and are heavily medicated with opiates (pain meds) which can lead to respitory arrest. Chiari does affect our infoluntary functions such as heart rate and breathing so that is where the problems lie.

The problem with leaving chiari untreated is that it is pressing on our nerves, causing all of these symptoms to occur. If left untreated, it can cause permanant damage. TCI (the ChiariInstitute) which treats Chiari and its related disorders, say that it is best to have intervention within 2 years of the onset of severe symptoms for the best results of recovery.

From what you've discribed, you should definately look into the possibility of chiari. Alot of people experience worsening of symptoms after child birth and a head trauma ( bumping of the head). Did you have an epidural during your labor? I ask you this because the changing point in my life was when I had a spinal tap. When the pressure in the spinal fluid was disturbed, my symptoms increased. Also, chiari patients are warned not to bear down to have a bowel movement and to use stool softeners to avoid this. Well, lets face it, in child birth theres alot of bearing down. My symptoms began in my child bearing years, in my early 20's. Though they were minimal, I had alot of strange tingling, I now know that my births and epidural probobly got things in motion.

An MRI is the only test to show chiari. When mine was done, my MRI said normal, no findings. I had copys of my MRI and compared mine to a normal brain and one with chiari and found my own diagnosis. So many people go undiagnosed for years because Dr's don't know about it and don't look for it on an MRI. Unless it is an extreme herniation, it gets unnoticed. Smaller herniations can certainly cause the symptoms your describing.

I feel so badly that you've suffered for so long. And I do understand your frustration with Dr's thinking your a cronic complainer and they can't find anything wrong. I went through this myself and they made me feel like I was crazy. It was horrible. But the daily pain you feel I only know so well!! And the cronic fatigue too. I was forced to give up my buisiness do to all of this. This is real and know one will truly understand unless they walk in the shoes of a chiarian or someone who lives in cronic pain for that matter. Being 31 and feeling 100 is something I know too well:D

If I can answer any questions or help in any way, just shout out. You definately need some answers after so long you've suffered. I'm here if you need anything. But what you really need is to find a Dr who will listen. ;)

Take care


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