Newly diagnosed by chance..... looking for the source of my 'tingling' thumb & finger. Found a thickened spinal ligament & fluid in my spinal column due to Chiari. I can't say I have any symptoms worth mentioning.....I consider myself very lucky to have seen this early on.

My heart, prayers, & luck goes out to all of you Chiari sufferers. It's somewhat 'scary' to see what I could be facing in upcoming years.

I'm a physical person, never was afraid of doing grunt work. I've been going to the gym for years working out, lifting weights....nothing major - just enough to stay strong & toned.

Two weeks ago, I was told..... No more weight lifting, no more 'grunt' work, and I have to take it easy physically. Be cautious of 'the neck'..... I'm at a loss - not knowing what not to do, how to keep my muscles toned without over-doing it for both my 'back' and the 'chiari'.

Is cardio OK (for both my spine and chiari)? Jogging, walking, hiking, swimming, biking.....etc?
How about Yoga? What types of things should I avoid? Any upper body stretching I can do that won't harm the spine/chiari?

Thanks for the thoughts....suggestions.... I was always healthy and never had any problems. This is a game changer for me in a variety of different ways....

Thank again!

Chiari Connection International has a Q&A where doctors answer questions and they have this posted....

I've been diagnosed with Chiari, but haven't been
decompressed yet. Is it safe to exercise prior to surgery?

November 2008
Dr. Heiss:

Some exercise is fine.

If so, what do you recommend?


Hope this helps.

Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, and swimming are
fine. Heavy lifting is generally not recommended, especially if you have an
associated syrinx.

Thank You!! That's about what I figured.....but had to ask. I'll check out the Chiari Connection.

I, too, was diagnosed by accident, trying to track down an odd event I thought was a muscle spasm in my shoulder. I didn't think things were that serious until an EMG showed nerve damage to the left side of my body had been building up for at least five years. That made the decision to schedule a surgery date quite easy. Since then, my symptoms have been piling on, with significant leg pain starting about two and a half weeks ago, and three days of dizziness (which thankfully is better today).

Watching my son go through a similar surgery last week has done nothing but increase my resolve to go into my own surgery as strong and physically fit as possible.

I am no longer driving to my regular swim workouts (sitting increases my leg pain, and dizziness and driving are a bad combination), but I am getting in a 40 minute swim every day I can. I want the best cardio I can give my doctors. I think swimming helps me, and I know it doesn't exacerbate symptoms for me. Everyone is different, though.

If you're able to handle it, and want a good workout, try finding a pool and even a master's swim team in your area. Google USMasters swimming.

Good luck to you!