Numerous neurological symptoms; more than 1 cause?

by Marie
(Lake Wales, Florida)

I have been diagnosed with Chiari 1 malformation. I have numerous symptoms which seem to have begun after a car accident in 2012. June 2014 my symptoms exacerbated. May 16th I was in another car accident and my symptoms exacerbated even more. My question is, is it possible that my numerous symptoms that I am experiencing may not solely be from the Chiari but in fact be from a whiplash injury, nerve compression in my spinal cord, subluxations, or something else and could pulled muscles in my atlas axis area herniate my cerebellum?

The neurosurgeon wants to do a chiari decompression this month but I'm hesitant because I feel like my symptoms may actually be coming from something else. My symptoms are: Headaches, pain in head usually occipital, pain in neck, pain in shoulders, visual disturbances, numbness left tongue, pain left jaw, pain between shoulder blades, numbness back of legs, feet and toes, sleep apnea, bradycardia, tachycardia, ringing/buzzing in ears just to name s few....the list of symptoms I have is 4 pages long. I have been diagnosed with chiari malformation 1 with tonsillar herniations of 7.5mm, DJD, herniations thoracic spine abutting spinal cord, spondylolisthesis 15 mm lumbar spine. Marie

Hello Marie,
Yes, certainly some of these symptoms are probably coming from spinal subluxations and the spondy. The difficulty is that upper cervical manipulation, in fact anywhere in the neck probably, is decidedly risky if you have chiari malformations. So called "activator" treatment would be safer as there is no actual manipulation.

Your midback and lower back could be treated with chiropractic, and you might consider doing that for say two months before the surgery.

Chiari malformations affect different parts of the spinal cord and brainstem, hence the bizarre and complex array of symptoms.

It's pretty complex surgery, not without its dangers. Have you discussed these with the surgeon? It's always a tough call whether to live with symptoms rather than risk major surgery.

Perhaps before going for surgery, ask for an examination from a very experienced chiropractor, with no treatment, so that you can weigh these things.

Be strong and God bless, and much wisdom. These are not easy decisions and your loved ones perhaps should be party to them.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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