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Chiari malformations are a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into the spinal canal. It can either occur when part of the skull is abnormally small or misshapen, or if the pressure in the brain is abnormally high.

There are four types of Chiari malformations, which are identified by the anatomy of the brain tissue that is displaced in the spinal canal, and whether developmental abnormalities of the brain or spine are present.

Treatment options for Chiari malformations depend on the form and severity of the condition. Surgery is considered a last resort and only considered in cases with severe symptoms.

Many with this condition present no symptoms and are only made aware of it after undergoing an MRI.

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Symptoms

While not all Chiari malformations present symptoms, you may experience symptoms including:

  • Severe headaches, often brought on by coughing or sneezing
  • Neck pain
  • Problems with balance
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Gagging or choking when swallowing
  • Vision problems
  • Slurred speech

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The information provided here is not intended for you to self-diagnose. It is our way of letting you know that we understand how to help you. The first step to your relief is to schedule a consultation so we can determine what your underlying condition is and help you to understand your options.

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