Arnold chiari mal-formation
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GOLD COAST BLOG
Dr. Paul Fisher
Patients who suffer from Arnold Chiari Malformation can experience a wide range of different symptoms which makes it especially hard to diagnose the disease. This article will explain how one can recognize the disease and what methods can be used to treat it.
What is the Arnold Chiari Malformation?
The cerebellum is a part of the back of the brain which helps the body to control balance and coordination. Sometimes, a part of the cerebellum moves through a hole in the base of the skull, which is called the foramen magnum, and puts pressure on it. If this happens the body is not able to work the ways it’s supposed to.
The herniation depends on how much of the cerebellum moves through the hole. Depending on that, the patient suffers from Chiari type 1, type 2, type 3, or type 4.
What symptoms do patients suffer from?
Arnold Chiari Malformations can cause a wide range of different symptoms. Due to the added stress on the spinal cord, the patients’ brains can imagine all sorts of things and issues. Especially the area to the right of the brainstem is responsible for managing many important functions. However, when it doesn’t operate as it’s supposed to all kinds of odd symptoms can be experienced. This makes it especially hard to diagnose the Arnold Chiari Malformation.
Common symptoms are headaches. However, the illness can cause a whole mirage of issues. Some patients may experience balance and coordination issues. Others suffer from other problems such as a feeling of vibration on one side of their body. However, all sorts of things can be experienced by people suffering from Arnold Chiari Malformations.
Some patients even report that they feel either cold or hot in some parts of their body. Since there are a great number of unrelated symptoms, the disease is quite hard to diagnose. This is often very frustrating for patients as no one is able to help them or diagnose them.
Usually, when people have had a longstanding headache, they will eventually see their doctor. When an MRI is done, specialists can usually identify an Arnold-Chiari malformation.
Furthermore, the disease is, often, recognized after a car crash or another traumatic event. In this case, the MRI provides information about the patient’s condition. However, it is not clear whether the Arnold Chiari Malformation was caused by the car accident or the traumatic event, or whether it was there before.
How to treat the Arnold Chiari Malformation?
There are two common ways to treat an Arnold Chiari Malformation: either with surgery or with a chiropractic method.
Usually, surgical treatment is only used in extreme situations. In this case, a surgeon will remove a piece of the skull to take the pressure off it and to cure the symptoms. Sometimes, however, operations are even performed in less severe cases to give relief to the patient.
Besides this, the disease can be treated with non-surgical, chiropractic methods. These methods are, usually, used for Chiari type 1 or 2.
Patients that suffer from type 1 or 2, often, have an abnormal curve of their neck. Therefore, they suffer from increased stress on their spinal cord and brainstem. The abnormal deformation of the neck can cause the herniation of the cerebellum.
To cure the symptoms, chiropractors try to improve the patient’s curve in the neck to take the pressure off the brainstem and the spinal cord. This will allow the cerebellum to rest in its original location. Hence, the patient’s symptoms will improve.
Dr. Paul Fisher