This patient support community is for discussions relating to Chiari Malformation and Living with Chiari Malformation.
TIPS FOR CHIARIANS ON EXERCISING AND SYMPTOM ALLEVIATION:
1) Make sure your health-care provider (s) approve of any physical activities you are currently doing.Talk to your dr to determine what type of activity/exercise is best for you.
2)If your fitness level is low, start slowly with shorter sessions.( 5 to 10 mins)This could be even less than 5 mins after surgery.
3)If needed, take frequent breaks during activity.( That also means shopping too)
4)Wear highly cushioned, supportive shoes to reduce the pounding on your neck and cerebellum.Before purchasing your shoes, look into which shoes are specifically made for walking and running, usually they have the best support and cushioning.
5)Stay in excellent physical condition by participating in physical activities that do not put stress on your neck.Good activities are things like: Walking, recumbent bikes, swimming and water exercises.These are low impact activities that involve large muscle groups and can be done continuously.
6)Avoid activities that put a strain on your neck, such as football, soccer, basketball or tennis.
7)Be careful of any physical activity that puts you in jeopardy of falling or causing trauma.
8)Avoid lifting more than 15 lbs....heavy lifting is generally not recommended.
9)Many Chiarians have balance and coordination issues, be sure to focus while exercising.Try t avoid crowded gyms and one's with a black and white checkerboard patterned floor.
10)An exercise sitting down like riding a bike is best if your are experiencing numbness in your hands and feet.( avoid bikes with low handle bars)
11)If you are having a flare up , take the day off!Headache pressure can increase with simple acts like bending and/or stretching overhead.
12)Get plenty of rest and sleep a minimum of 6 hours.Pillows and sleep positions are very important.Use large pillows to prevent rollover onto a sensitive side and soft small pillows to support your head and neck.Avoid allowing your head to be in a down position.
13)Stop eating and drinking 3 to 4 hours before lying down to reduce the need to get up during the night.
14)If you have a problem with tinnitus AVOID caffeine, alcohol, aspirin, most NSAIDS and a high salt diet, as thee items may cause the problem to increase.
15)Sit in soft recliners with high backs and foot rests.
16)Hold and support all reading material at eye level...books, computer monitor should be set so you are looking at them straight on.A tray table or a good arm chair may be helpful.
17)If you can drive, use wide vision mirrors and seats with the neck rest adjusted for you.
18)Relax and stay "cool", avoid tensing your neck muscles.
19) Eat plenty of fiber rich foods and if needed ask your dr about using a product like Miralax to help minimize constipation and straining.
20)Minimize head motion while brushing or "fixing" your hair, brushing your teeth or gargling.