Chiari Malformation FAQ Section To Address Your Concerns

Chiari Malformation FAQ

1. Can Chiari Malformation occur in those not born with the deformity?

Yes. The name for this is secondary Chiari Malformation. This can be due to hydrocephalus, a condition in which tumors cause swelling of the brain and displacement of the structures. In some people, secondary Chiari Malformation develops after a shunt is placed in the lower part of the spinal canal. It has not been fully determined whether a tethered spinal cord can be the reason behind Chiari Malformation.

2. Can CM-I reoccur?

Some individuals who have experienced a period of relief from their symptoms following surgery for Chiari Malformation have recurrent symptoms. This can occur for various reasons and these people need to be carefully evaluated. In some cases, the reason is not the Chiari Malformation but is found to be other problems like pain from the nerves in the back of the head or problems with the discs in the cervical spine.

3. Does CM-I cause disability?

Depending on the person with Chiari Malformation, it can cause permanent or temporary disability. Many times, the symptoms that were the most bothersome were relieved by surgery, but the remaining symptoms can be harder to resolve. It can take much patient motivation, as well as effort and time, and the assistance offered by a team of healthcare providers to get the person with Chiari Malformation back to his or her usual lifestyle.

4. I have CM-I. Are there any activities I should avoid?

Every person is different and needs to be aware of how their own body responds to activities, so avoid what bothers you. Many people with Chiari Malformation find their symptoms are worse when they do things like look up, bend forward, strain or lift heavy objects. Before treatment, activities such as jumping (trampolines), roller coaster rides and contact sports are often restricted.

5. If CM-I is present at birth, why do the symptoms show up later?

The reason that the symptoms of Chiari Malformation do not appear in many individuals until they are older is not known. It's possible that the flow of spinal fluid becomes restricted as we age, and also because of the repeated pulsing through the area. Sometimes the symptoms of Chiari Malformations first appear following a fall or an accident with an injury such as a whiplash or a car accident that occurs later in life.

6. Why do poor Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) circulation and crowding cause symptoms?

The cerebral spinal fluid flows around the brain and spinal cord constantly. It circulates continually, providing protection for the nerves. Many of the symptoms of Chiari Malformation are due to the flow of the spinal fluid being obstructed, or the cranial nerves or lower brain stem being compressed.

7. How are children with CM-I diagnosed?

Chiari Malformation is most often diagnosed by physicians using an MRI scan. If your child has symptoms and you have Chiari Malformation, make an appointment with your pediatrician.

8. How can I help my family understand my condition?

The symptoms of Chiari Malformation are not usually visible to others, so it can be difficult for friends and family to understand the disease. Sometimes, the best way to help others understand is to take them with you to your doctor. Write down a few simple questions about Chiari Malformation and have your neurologist explain them to you and your family member or friend during your appointment.

9. How can I help protect my unborn child from Neural tube defects?

Ask your obstetrician about taking a folic acid supplement during pregnancy.

10. How does CM-I affect children?

Even though many of the same symptoms of Chiari Malformation that are present in adults with the disease are also present in children, children of a young age may not be able to verbalize how they are feeling. In rare cases, a child may have paroxysmal rage or cerebellar fits.

11. If I have CM-I will my children inherit it?

In some cases, Chiari Malformation can be passed from the father or mother to a child, but most of the time it doesn't run in families.

12. Do CM-I patients who are pregnant have to have a Cesarean section?

This is a question that needs to be discussed with your obstetrician, but having Chiari Malformation does not mean a pregnant woman will require a C-section delivery. Many women with Chiari Malformation have vaginal deliveries.

13. Is pregnancy possible with CM-I?

Yes. Many women who have Chiari Malformation become pregnant.

14. Is it OK for my chiropractor to crack my neck?

Chiropractic is not recommended for people who have Chiari Malformation. High-velocity adjustments have resulted in injury.

15. Should I tell my boss that I have CM-I?

Many people who have Chiari Malformation work for many years following their diagnosis. Many federal and state laws address the issue of work-related disability and illness. You can check with your state agencies about workplace discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act may also be helpful, as well as The Family and Medical Leave Act.  Chiari Malformation does not give others the right to discriminate. Find out what your rights are and then make a decision about disclosing your condition to your boss.

16. How can I cope with headaches?

The headaches associated with Chiari Malformation are often triggered by lifting, bending, laughing, straining or coughing. Headaches can also be brought on by taking too much medication to treat them. Be sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water because dehydration can also add to headaches caused by Chiari Malformation. When you have a headache, you may find it helps to lie down in a dark room and apply cold or heat to the painful area. Some physicians prescribe migraine medication for occasional use or specific anti-seizure drugs.

17. Is there anything I can do to ease dizziness?

Lying completely flat can make dizziness worse. Moving your head suddenly or changing positions quickly can also cause it. Chiari Malformation is not the only condition that can cause dizziness, so you might consider seeing an EENT (eyes, ears, nose, throat) specialist to see if there is another reason for your dizziness. Problems with the inner ear often can cause a person to become dizzy.

18. The constant burning pain in my arms is keeping me from sleeping. What can I take for this pain?

The neuropathic pain or nerve pain caused by Chiari Malformation is not usually relieved by narcotics. The usual medications used for this type of pain are certain prescription medications that are commonly used to treat seizures. Examples are pregabalin and gabapentin.

19. Why am I falling and having trouble walking?

Chiari Malformation causes a crowding in the part of the brain that controls coordination of voluntary muscles. It helps with different movements, including walking and maintaining balance.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers