Chiari malformation - sister kissing baby - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy

Chiari Malformation Explored

The thought of a baby having neurosurgery due to chiari malformation can be terrifying for families.

“Chiari malformation is a problem where part of the brain (cerebellum) at the back of the skull bulges through a normal opening of the cranium where it joins the spinal canal. This puts pressure on the brain and spinal cord causing mild to severe symptoms."

—Johns Hopkins Medicine

Cerebrospinal fluid normally flows through the ventricular system, down the spinal cord, and out into the fascial web via the cranial and spinal nerve sheaths. In chiari malformation, the tongues of the cerebellum fall down through the foramen magnum to impede this flow.

Often hydrocephalus accompanies chiari malformation because the backup of fluid at the foramen magnum can cause the cranium to enlarge. Neurosurgery can restore normal fluid flow by removing some bone on the back of the skull to open the area and relieve the pressure.

In some cases, our work can possibly help to relieve the fascial strain in the area to allow the fluid to flow more normally. Even though we may be successful in only fewer than half of the cases, therapy is worth trying as a low-risk, high-reward procedure. If it is not corrective, surgery can be indicated.

Clinically, a provider would expect a zero-second brain cycle and marked fascial neck tightness like that of an infant with torticollis. This strain can also be a full-body web condition where fascia may be pulling on this area from different parts of the body.

A prime example is an arching infant whose strain starts in the pelvis and extends directly into the foramen magnum area. That strain must be fully released to relieve the pressure in that area.

Every infant needs to be checked at birth. Gillespie Approach Training can unlock the healing doors for many patients.

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