Symptoms of Chiari Malformation

Although there are countless symptoms associated with Chiari Malformation, the most common symptoms are:


  • Headache that may get worse with exertion, including exercise, coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Pain may also be experienced with movement such as bending forward.

  • Neck pain

  • Dizziness

  • Numbness or tingling 

  • Unsteady gait

  • Loss of fine motor skills

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Spine deformity, such as scoliosis

Infants with any type of Chiari malformation may show symptoms that include:


  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Gagging or vomiting

  • Irritability during feeding

  • Excessive drooling

  • A weak cry

  • Arm weakness

  • Stiff neck

  • Problems breathing

  • Developmental delays

  • Failure to gain weight

Information from Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.