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Brain & Nervous System Disorders Message Board

Brain & Nervous System Disorders Board Index

Hello, I really have two questions.

1. Can Chiari Malformation be missed on a head/brain MRI? I have had 2 done several years apart and there was no mention of this.

2. Do my symptoms sound like I should definitely consider Chiari Malformation?

I have been feeling unwell for almost 8 years now and things continue to get worse. I have seen no improvement over this time, just a steady decline in my health.

It all started with fatigue, and feeling spaced out all the time which worsened over the years. In February of 2010 things started to get worse for me. I got really dizzy for about 2 months straight, earache, felt really disoriented all the time and had several consecutive sinus colds.

A couple of months later I started developing numerous other symptoms which include the following:

• Dizzy, wozziness and off balance feeling
• Constant spaced out/foggy/drunk feeling
• Vision seems weird jumpy or like I'm staring off into space
• Concentration is terrible, brain fog all the time
• Feeling of pressure in my head
• Eye floaters
• Eye pain
• Light sensitivity
• After images (especially when reading off a computer screen… if I look away I will see the text faintly on the wall for example)
• Tinnitus
• Dull ear ache feeling off and on
• No energy at all, feeling fatigued all the time, yawning all day long
• Muscle twitching, weakness and pain

All my symptoms are causing me problems, but the biggest thing is I'm constantly feeling run down and have no energy. My muscles are so weak I have a hard time even standing for more than a couple of minutes or holding my arms up.

Thank you in advance.
I talked to someone who had surgery for chiari malformation and they told me the main symptoms that differentiated it from other things (at least for them) were seizures and blacking out. This individual started with migraines and it continued to get worse with the passing out for no apparent reason and seizures. I'm not sure if this is the case for everyone, but after I wondered about CM myself (I have a lot of similar symptoms to you), it eased my mind since those are not symptoms I get.

What other kinds of tests/evaluations were done other than the MRI? I've had different doctors suggest various things about me that were not in the brain. One doctor believed I had cervical spine problems (specifically, they believed in the discs), which can cause dizziness, headaches, jaw pain, ear problems, sinus pressure and pain, eye dryness and problems, and just make you ache all over. I went through physical therapy for months and unfortunately it did not work for me, so I'm not sure that diagnosis was correct. My last doctor suggested myofascial pain disorder in my neck/shoulder/base of head area, which will also have many of those symptoms. Thing is, an underlying neck problem can be possibly involved to cause something like that. But then, myofasical pain syndrome itself can cause joint discomfort and pinched nerves since the muscles are constantly contracted in those areas.

I wish there were easier answers, but it sounds like there are many more possibilities other than CM that might not show up in MRI's. I became frustrated knowing that myofascial pain syndrome may not be confirmed with an MRI... what else can one do to figure this out? Like you, I've had more times of just feeling bad and understand how frustrating it is. It really affects qualify of life. I also had my resting body temperature changing to unusually low numbers for me. Some people naturally have a lower temperature, but I'm the type of person who is usually on the high side, so it wasn't normal for me. It hasn't happened lately, but my doctor said other symptoms like that can possibly be an auto-immune disorder (not sure which one!).

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