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Chiari and competitive running
I am a nationally ranked Masters runner (42 yr. old female) recently diagnosed via MRI with Chiari I -5mm. My question is regarding the safety of continued competitive running. My most bothersome symptom is exertionally induced headaches with are alway accompanied by Photopsia. This occurs when my effort level increases and I begin to feel the headache/pressure build up and then comes the flashing lights in my peripheral vision. Common sense says to stop/slow down however is there any danger in continuing the running effort when the symptoms occur?
I am scheduled to see a Neurologist specializing in Chiari in a month, however, I am concerned whether or not streneous activity at the level I compete is dangerous and if I should hang up my racing shoes for now.
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Hi,

I'm a runner too, but nowhere near your eliteness.  :-)

My daughter has just been diagnosed with Chiari, and we're getting on a plane today to see a specialist in LA.  Please be careful in  what specialist you choose!  We've been going through this for a long time, and people who claim to be specialists are often not.

There are some great websites out there with lists of specialists.  ChiariOneInternational is a good place to start.  Yahoo groups has a Chiari support forum, and the people there know alot of good specialists too.

Its been noted that Chiari pain can be  worse upon exertion.  My daughter is only three, so she can't articulate when her pain is worse.  I can only guess.  She does tell me when her head or eyes hurt.  Yesterday she was crying and begging me to "turn off the lights".  There were no lights on, so I can only guess she was either being ultra sensitve to light, or she was seeing flashing lights.

Good luck!
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p.s.: as far as your running goes, I can imagine that it would be hard for you to "hang up your running shoes"!  I think a specialist might tell you to stop.  I think you should experiment and find out at which  level your pain decreases.

BTW, if your specialist tells you to see a psychiatrist, run the other way and find a good one!
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I have a 5mm Chiari 1 as well.  They told me it would not cause any of my numerous neuro symptoms and was nothing to worry about.  5 mm is very mild and I was told it was considered a variant of normal.
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