The main treatments for both types of Chiari malformation include pain medication, shunt insertion and posterior fossa decompression surgery, explains Mayo Clinic. The appropriate treatment protocol depends on the severity and characteristics of the patient's case. If a patient does not have any symptoms, doctors usually do not recommend any treatment other than regular monitoring of the condition.
The aim of surgery for Chiari malformation types I and II is to lower the pressure on the brain and spinal cord while restoring a healthy flow of the spinal fluid, states Mayo Clinic. During posterior fossa decompression, a surgeon cuts away a small piece of the patient's skull, creating more space for the brain. The surgeon may also sew a patch onto the covering of the brain, called the dura mater, to create a larger covering. Another procedure involves removing a piece of the spinal column to create a larger space for the spinal cord. Shunting is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon inserts a tube to drain any excess fluid due to Chiari malformation.
There are certain activities that patients with Chiari malformation should avoid because they can aggravate their symptoms, according to Mayfield Chiari Center. Some of these include chiropractic manipulation, straining during bowel movements and contact sports. Anything that places G forces on the neck, such as riding roller coasters, scuba diving and jumping on trampolines, can also exacerbate symptoms.