What Is Chiari Malformation and How Is It Treated?

Chiari

What Is Chiari Malformation And How Is It Treated?

Chiari malformation, also known as Arnold-Chiari Syndrome, is an abnormality in the lower part of the brain near the spinal column and can cause neurological symptoms. This condition results in the cerebellar tonsils, the lowest part of the brain stem, extending down into the spinal column. It is present at birth, but may be undetected until adulthood. Treatments for Chiari malformation include surgery, physical therapy, and medications.

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Types Of Chiari Malformation

There are four major types of Chiari malformation:

  • Type I: This is the most common type and is present at birth. It is caused by the displacement of the lower part of the brain to the cervical area of the spine. Symptoms may include headaches, neck pain, unsteadiness, and ringing in the ears.
  • Type II: This is a more serious type. It is present at birth and is associated with problems in the central nervous system and spine. Symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, visual disturbances, paralysis, and difficulty breathing.
  • Type III: This is a rare condition, caused by a small opening in the skull and is usually seen in infants. Symptoms may include developmental delay and paralysis.
  • Type IV: This is a very rare condition, caused by a tumor in the spine. Symptoms may include paralysis, cognitive deficits, and seizures.

How Is Chiari Malformation Treated?

Chiari malformation is usually treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Medications may include pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants. Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and increase coordination and balance. Surgery may also be recommended to reduce pressure on the brain or spine.

How Does Chiari Malformation Affect Health?

Chiari malformation can lead to serious health problems if it is not treated properly. Symptoms may include nausea, headaches, and dizziness. The condition can also lead to difficulty with balance and coordination. Finally, Chiari malformation may lead to difficulty with swallowing and difficulty communicating or speaking.

Takeaways

Chiari malformation is a neurological disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Treatments for Chiari malformation include medications, physical therapy, and surgery. It is important to receive appropriate care and follow-up from a healthcare professional to prevent serious complications.

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