Orthopedic & Wellness Center Blog

What Is Chiari Malformation And Is It Hereditary?

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Blog Snapshot:
  • Chiari malformation is a relatively common condition that causes brain tissue to extend downward into the spinal canal. 
  • This condition falls under two major categories. Chiari malformation type I occurs during fetal development, causing symptoms later in life. Chiari malformation type II is present at birth.
  • The specialists at Orthopedic & Wellness explain what Chiari malformation is and whether or not it’s hereditary.
What Is Chiari Malformation?
Chiari malformations are a defect in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls balance) that causes part of the cerebellum to be located below the opening of the spinal canal, not above it. If this occurs, the cerebellum and brain stem may be pushed into the skull and around the opening of the spinal canal (foramen magnum), which can result in increased pressure and cerebrospinal fluid blockage. For Chiari malformation type I, patients usually develop symptoms during adolescence or early adulthood. Chiari malformation type II, type III, and type IV often show signs of the condition right away.
 
What Causes Chiari Malformations?
Because Chiari malformations are an unusual structural defect, patients often wonder if the condition is hereditary. Although we can’t say for certain is Chiari malformations are hereditary, we do know this birth defect is common in families. Additional research will need to be conducted before a definitive answer can be provided. Chiari malformations are generally caused by genetic mutations that take shape during fetal development. Certain types of the condition are associated with diseases like myelomeningocele, hydrocephalus, spina bifida, syringomyelia, and tethered cord syndrome.
 
Symptoms of Chiari malformations:
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of Chiari malformation you have. Generally speaking, symptoms may include:
 
  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination issues
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • And more!

You’ll want to talk to your Orthopedic & Wellness physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. He or she will be able to diagnose the type of Chiari malformation you have and recommend subsequent treatment. Chiari malformations are usually treated with certain medications to ease pain and minimally invasive surgery. Call Orthopedic & Wellness today to schedule an appointment with a highly respected physician.
 
At Orthopedic & Wellness, we are committed to a minimally invasive approach to promote efficient pain control, higher functioning, and better quality of life! If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain, orthopedic, neurosurgical or spine issues don't hesitate to make an appointment by calling 240-629-3939.
We hope to see you soon!
 
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.