Chiari Malformation: Fitness Tips & Exercises

Chiari Malformation: Fitness Tips & Exercises

What is Chiari Malformation?

Chiari Malformation is a neurological disorder where the cerebellum descends out of the skull and goes into the spinal column. This puts pressure on both the spine and the brain that causes a "cork" effect which disrupts the regular flow of CSF or cerebrospinal fluid.
Chiari Malformation can cause severe headaches, neck pain, balancing problems, limb numbness, weakness, occipital and respiratory problems.

The most important rule of exercise for Chiari Malformation fitness is to keep walking! This is the very best exercise instruction we can offer.

Other important tips to keep in mind for Chiari Malformation fitness include:

- Make sure you have the approval of your doctor or health-care professional for any Chiari Malformation exercise you are involved in. If you are just beginning a new program, talk to your team of medical providers to determine what activities would be best suited for you.

- If your current level of fitness is not very high, begin slowly with short Chiari Malformation fitness sessions. They may last only five to ten minutes to start with.

- Take breaks often during your Chiari Malformation fitness sessions if you need to.

- Choose a Chiari Malformation exercise that doesn’t add stress to your neck. Good activities to try include water activities, walking or cycling. These activities are low-impact and work for your large muscle groups. They can be performed continuously.

- Wear supportive and well- cushioned tennis shoes for Chiari Malformation fitness activities. This will reduce cerebellum pounding and neck stress.  Before purchasing shoes, always try them on. You may want to consider shoes made specifically for running and walking.

- Avoid activities and sports that can stress and strain your neck like tennis, soccer, basketball, or football.

- When doing Chiari Malformation exercises avoid anything that puts you at risk for falls or any kind of trauma.

- Avoid lifting a weight of more than 15 pounds when backpacking or strength training, especially if you have a syrinx. Heavy lifting is usually contraindicated in this case.

- Listen to your body when you are performing Chiari Malformation fitness activities. Stop any activity that causes nausea, dizziness, and increased a headache or pain.

- Many Chiari Malformation patients have trouble with their coordination and balance. On days when your symptoms are worse, practice your Chiari Malformation fitness program at home and avoid a crowded health club or gym. Try to really focus on your routine.- z

- If you are having numbness or decreased sensation in your feet and hands, it's safer to choose an exercise that you can do sitting down, like riding an exercise bicycle.

- Sometimes the cerebrospinal fluid can be restricted and headache pressure will be worse when you bend and stretch. You may have to alter your Chiari Malformation fitness program on these days. Make a list of exercises that don't increase headache pain that you can do any day.

- When your symptoms are severe, take the day off from your Chiari Malformation fitness program without feeling guilty. Rest may be just what your body needs!

General Exercise

Before beginning any Chiari Malformation exercise, check with your physical therapist or doctor and get their approval. Avoid any activities that stress or strain the neck. Walking is a great place to start. Be sure to choose shoes that support your feet and are well-cushioned. This will help decrease cerebellum and neck pounding while you're walking. Chiari Malformation exercises can also be done in the water and cycling is also beneficial.

Brandt-Daroff Exercises

Balance can be challenging for people who are starting a Chiari Malformation exercise, so a program known as Brandt-Daroff may be helpful.

- Sit on the edge of your bed, near the middle, with your legs hanging down over the side.

- Lie down on your right side

- Turn your head 45-degrees, so you are now looking up at the ceiling.

- Hold this position until any symptoms of dizziness pass.

- Sit up and look directly ahead for a count of 30.

- Repeat, lying down on your left side.

If you feel like you might fall, ask someone to stand nearby while you're doing this Chiari Malformation fitness exercise.

Cervical Exercises

Some physicians suggest doing Chiari Malformation fitness exercises in the shower to relieve headaches. Before beginning any exercises, check with your doctor to determine if it is safe for you to do them. Simply standing in the shower and letting the water pulse over your shoulders and the back of your neck may help a headache. Then as part of a Chiari Malformation fitness exercise, gently and slowly turn your head, as if to look behind you. Be careful not to turn your head too far and don't overstretch the muscles. Don't bend your neck or head down.

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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
4 answers
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
4 answers
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