Living with the Symptoms of Arnold-Chiari Syndrome

Individuals with Arnold-Chiari syndrome may experience neck pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and other abnormal sensations in the arms or legs. Besides this, body balance or equilibrium problems, dizziness, problems associated with vision & hearing, difficulty in swallowing, ringing or some form of buzzing sound in the ears, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache becoming worse due to coughing or straining, etc. are also related to the syndrome. Infants also experience difficulty in swallowing, sense of irritability during feeding hours, weak cry, vomiting, a stiff neck, breathing difficulties, and the inability to put on weight. Due to these and other symptoms associated with Arnold-Chiari syndrome, it is important that a few tips are followed so that one can try leading a normal life.

Tips to Manage the Symptoms

Patients can be advised to wear extra-cushion shoes that can reduce neck and cerebellum pounding. It is better to avoid activities that cause stress to the neck, which includes football, basketball, wave pools, diving, soccer, roller coasters, and other fun park rides that defy gravity. They must take good amount of rest and sleep for a minimum of eight hours, in order to ensure normal metabolic activity. The sleeping positions along with the pillows being used are important. An elevated bed and soft, small pillows made of fibre are ideal. It is also important to avoid eating and drinking at least three to four hours before bed.

Foods rich in caffeine, aspirin, alcohol, and a high-salt diet have to be avoided. In order to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms, individuals should take up physical exercises; opt for walking and other activities that do not stress the neck. People with Arnold-Chiari syndrome are advised to use soft recliners with foot rests. It is better to read books or content off tablet PCs with a straight-head position, and also when working on a computer. Using vision mirrors, along with seats with high backs are advisable. Stay cool and ensure that you don't stress your neck muscles. Not to mention, excess straining during bowel movements should be avoided, too.

As far as the attire is concerned, wearing ties and heavy jewellery is not recommended at all. In fact, a more casual lifestyle should be the need of the hour. It is also better to avoid chequered designs and uneven floors to avoid dizziness. Working on crosswords and puzzles is suggested, as it can boost memory retention. Calcium supplements have to be taken to strengthen bones, and individuals inflicted with the syndrome should also ensure that they don't lean back or forth on the edges of their sinks.

When troubled with the syndrome signs, addressing or managing the symptoms is more important than letting the condition surface and then opting for a treatment. There are several individuals who are suffering from this syndrome and are still able to lead a very normal life.


As far as infants go, specialised care has to be administered by their parents. If neglected, the strain on the neck and the other physiological symptoms may become untenable to bear when the kids grow up to become adults. Their social and work-life may also get affected.