Chiari Patient Support Community is one of Ben’s Friends safe and supportive patient communities for anyone affected by a rare disease or chronic condition. Our mission at Ben’s Friends is to ensure that patients living with rare diseases or chronic illnesses, as well as their caregivers, family, and friends, have a safe and supportive place to connect with others like them.
Chiari malformation, is usually present at birth and occurs at the back of the head where the brain and spinal cord connect.
There are four types of Chiari malformations:
Type 1 – occurs when the base of the skull and upper spinal area do not form properly. A type 1 Chiari malformation commonly goes unnoticed until problems arise in the adolescent or adult years of life. The headaches most typical of Chiari I malformations are usually located at the back of the head, and are often made worse by exertion.
Type 2 – sometimes known as an Arnold-Chiari malformation, a type 2 Chiari malformation is caused by part of the back of the brain shifting downward through the bottom of the skull. it is seen in infants who are born with spina bifida and can also be associated with hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an overproduction or lack of absorption of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF).
Type 3 – occurs when the back of the brain protrudes out of an opening in the back of the skull area.
Type 4 – occur when the back of the brain fails to develop normally.
Children with Chiari I malformations may start to have symptoms as early as age 2 or 3. Some don’t have any symptoms until they are older. Symptoms can appear any time. They may start or get worse after a trauma, physical effort or straining, such as exercising, coughing or sneezing.
Syringomyelia, common with Chiari, is a cyst in the center of the spinal cord that is filled with fluid. The cyst, also called a syrinx, can get larger and longer over time, putting pressure on the spinal cord and causing symptoms. If not treated, it may also eventually cause nerve damage.
This site is a virtual community intended to be a safe place for patients and family members as young as age 12, to visit for information, discussion, venting and mutual support. Members come from many backgrounds. Some have a strong religious faith, and others no faith; some are children and others adults, rich and poor, graduate educated or taught by life. Our common denominators are that we share a life journey, and we try to help each other.
We don’t want you to identify yourself or tell exactly where you live: it is important to us that you should be anonymous here. That encourages openness. (And that’s a major way that we’re different from social media and other disease support sites.) Nevertheless, visitors should also be aware that our discussion forums and groups are publicly accessible and frequently searched by Google. That’s why your speech here should be considered “public”. If you’re tempted to write something about another person that you wouldn’t say to their face, then we counsel you to think first. Speech can be consequential.
Chiarisupport.org is supported by unpaid volunteer moderators who validate and register new members and monitor ongoing discussions, photo postings and blogs. Very often, moderators are themselves patients or family members of patients. Most of the time, moderators tend to keep a low profile, except in their roles as members of the community, especially if they are well-informed about the state of medicine and research.