Chiari is often misdiagnosed & untreated.

The symptoms of Chiari often lead patients from one doctor to another in search of answers. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Patients come to us in search of someone who will listen. Some patients have been told they have migraines or fibromyalgia. Some have been told their pain is “all in their head.”

Chiari is a condition in which the lower part of the brain (tonsils) herniates through the skull into the spinal canal. This compresses the brainstem and blocks the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Symptoms are highly variable, and no two patients are alike.

Why is Chiari often misdiagnosed? The wide array of symptoms mimic other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, migraine, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It takes a specialist to put the pieces together.

Why is Chiari often left untreated? The traditional definition of Chiari – a herniation that extends 5 millimeters into the spinal canal — is outdated. We now understand that blockage of cerebrospinal fluid is the culprit, not the size of herniation. The best diagnostics include a Cine MRI and a careful assessment of the patient's symptoms.

We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of adults and adolescents with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia. We listen – we know your symptoms are real.

Learn more

"Looking back, I’d had headaches ever since I was a teenager ... then it got worse."  SANDI’S STORY >

In this Mayfield Minute, Dr. Andy Ringer discusses Chiari I Malformation

Non-surgical Options to Treat Chiari Symptoms with Lisa Cleveland, PT

Resources & Education