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Hello Everyone,

So I have been trying to do some research on if massage therapy can help ease pain and discomfort in patients with Chiari malformation. My mom was diagnosed about 7 years ago! And had decompression surgery in her C1-C5. I want to be able to help her with her pain but don’t know for sure if it is safe to work on her. I got in contact with someone from ABMP Andy they directed me here. Hope someone can help, thank you 

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Why not just ask her doctor or surgeon?

In my practice I would not do work on her without a doctors note. 

Best of Luck,

I have worked on two clients with a history of Chiari malformation with corrective surgery. For both it has been 10+ years since the surgery. Neither one mentions any issues with the surgical site nor mentioned any pain or physical restriction due to the condition. I usually do a very gentle neck massage, if requested. 

When in doubt, Ajay's suggestion is the best: contact her physician to determine the cause of pain and if decide if massage is indicated for her condition.

If you do contact the physician or give her massage, would you post your treatment protocol and your mother's response to the massage. It would be valuable information for anyone with a Chiari malformation client. Thanks.

Thank you for getting back in contact with me Ajay and Laurie! To answer your question I was researching it online to just find out if it was even possible to help. I was hoping to find something like this to see if massage was even possible with a chiari patient. Also i don’t have contact with her physician/surgeon, and I don’t think she does either.

Laurie if I may... what is your success with chiari? Has massage done justice to your clients due to their condition?

Once I get more information/ protocol/ or get in contact with her physician I will definitely get back to everyone!

I really appreciate everything thank you

Chiari malformation was part of both clients's history. Both had corrective surgery many years ago and both did not present chiari as a medical or massage issue. We worked on other problems during their sessions.

I am sorry, I am not much help other than to say that chiari was part of their medical history, but never a complaint. Because I had no information on the surgery details, I would not do any range of motion to the head or neck, only gentle relaxation massage to the head. I often thought scar tissue release would be beneficial (Marjorie Brook's STRAIT Method is very effective), and may do some in the future. 

Thanks for bringing this issue to the forum. I would like to hear more about how you and other therapist approach chiari malformation. 

Definitely don’t be sorry Laurie, anything helps at this point. I was talking to my mom yesterday and she said her pain is generally located in her L4-L5 where she is having a nerve wrapping around the joint and getting pinched. She had a steroid injection and said that it helped for 2 days then it was back to normal. She was saying the lightest pressure on her shoulders hurts her so if I was going to do any massage with her I would probably just avoid her head and shoulders all together just to prevent pain. I told her to get in contact with her primary physician and talk to them about it before we dive into massage.

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