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I have a relatively rare condition called Chiari Malformation.  Chiari refers to a malformation of the skull that leads to compression of the cerebellum.  In most Chiari 1 cases, the cerebellar tonsils protrude downward into the spinal canal.  They pass through an area of the skull called the foramen magnum.  When this happens, the flow of cerebro-spinal fluid (csf) is obstructed. 

There is a lot of confusion and ignorance in the medical field regarding this condition.  That is because the true definition of a Chiari Malformation is not well-known.  Chiari is often mistaken for tonsillar herniation.  The herniation of the tonsils is not truly the indication for diagnosis of Chiari.  Herniation of the cerebellar tonsils is not actually a malformation, but a variant from normal.  Chiari actually occurs when the posterior cranial fossa is volumetrically too small to hold the cerebellum.


There is a form of Chiari, often called Chiari 0 Malformation, in which there is no tonsillar herniation, but there is still increased intracranial pressure due to crowding in the suboccipital area and blockage in the area of the foramen magnum.  This is very underdiagnosed.


The Chiari Malformation can only be seen in MRI's showing the cranio-cervical junction.  Typically, radiologists only know the "traditional" definition of Chiari, as tonsillar herniation.  Also, many neurologists and neurosurgeons haven't heard of chiari, while others have only learned the "traditional" definition of CM.  All of these things contribute to the common misdiagnosis of the condition.


Chiari can present with a wide variety of symptoms, because the cerebellum and the brainstem are often compressed, which leads to a variety of neurologic symptoms. 

Go to this great site to buy chiari products.  The proceeds go directly to asap, the American Syringomyelia Alliance Project, which raises money for Chiari and Syringo awareness and research.

Chiari Products

After so much controversy and confusion regarding chiari and it's diagnosis, this is a landmark study by Dr. Thomas Milhorat, from the Chiari Institute. If all neurosurgeons would read this, it would put an end to misdiagnosis and confusion.  Click the link below to read it.

Read Dr. Milhorat's article

I also have a chronic illness called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome).  It is a dysautonomia, which is a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system.  This can affect every function of the body.  Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, hypovolemia, nausea, and chronic pain.  For more information, the very best site is: