I just got back from The Wisconsin Chiari Center and after seeing Dr. Dan Heffez he confirmed I have a 5mm Chiari. Although small he feels it is causing 90% of my symptoms and recommends surgery. I might not have a lot of time to think about it as my husbands employer might be switching insurance and I would no longer be covered to see Dr. Heffez. Therefore I am looking for ALL input about surgery. I have TONS of questions. A couple to start - How long are you off work? ( I only work 3.25 hrs a day as a recess lady) How hard is the recovery? Do the meds help the pain? Dr. H mentioned that the worst part were the spinal headaches after cause of loss of fluid during operation. How long do those last and are they better every day?? Sorry for all the questions but things are coming at me soooooo fast.


Karen, I can't help you out with any of your questions, however I can tell you how about what I am gonna do and why...

I have had a headache for right around 7years now and the pain ranges anywhere from dull, achy annoying pressure too a lightning striking throbbing type and all that's in between. AND it can go from both extremes several times a day and it can stay at its worst for several days, anyways, I have several other neurological symptoms that go along with the headache BUT just based on my headache(s) alone if Dr. Heffez thinks that surgery may help me, I'm gonna take it.. (my husband isn't totally on board but hey he doesn't live in my body, I do) I can't live another 7 years like this.. I know there are risks but for me the possible benefits totally outweigh them!!! As far as insurance, I have have met my deductible and max out of pocket so my situation is kinda like yours (in a sense) Again id Dr. H thinks surgery may help, I'm gonna ask how soon I can get in and where do I sign.. Sure I am nervous but financailly I can't wait and I don't think I can emotionally handle much more of this either...

Sorry I tried to keep it short. And I hope that my thoughts on my own personal situation has helped u in your own.. and sorry i couldn't be of help with your questions..

Well, if he thinks that 90% of your symptoms are caused by chiari, and since there is no actual cure for chiari, aside from surgery to help with the symptoms. I think I’d take it. You’ll only be waiting for your symptoms to become unbearable for a future surgery if you don’t do it now. And then you may not have the proper insurance to handle the situation. Seems like now is a good time. It is your body and you know what you’ve been through and what you can handle though. I hope you’re able to make the perfect decision for your life specifically. Big hugs…

Hi Karen..

My herniation was a bit over 5mm ..Everyone recovers at a different rate.that being said....It took me many mths to be able to drive....The meds did help alot. The 1st 2-3 weeks were very hard on me...but it did pass.

Does your job require you to bend over, lift, push??? You must be careful after the operation, IMHO.

Others, I am sure will chime in with their experiences and I know some folks are 'off to the races', doing fab....4-6 after!!!!

Hang in there and keep us posted.

Take Care,


I am a patien fo Dr Heffez but am having my surgery in November. Mine is an 8mm Chiar and is causing my sypmtoms also. The only reason I am waiting is because my lease is up in Oct and I will be moving and can't move when Im off work for surgery.

Good luck!!!