Below is some technical information about how upper cervical spine work can influence a Type 1 Chiari Malformation. However, first I'd like to re-emphasize how important it is not to jump into decompression surgery without first looking into less invasive alternatives for symptom relief. Why? Because:
You can influence your own health.
Think outside the box. This includes evaluating your diet, thinking of your body as a whole (not just your brain stem), getting tested to determine factors that may have contributed to symptom onset or other health issues, emotional well-being, etc. When healing the mind and body, there is not one course of action. With NUCCA or other upper cervical treatment methods, one has the time to reflect inwardly, change outlook for more loving and positive thought processes and truly heal from the inside out. Too many times there have been Chiari Type 1 sufferers who chose decompression surgery more than likely because they simply do not know of another alternative, or out of fear. In my opinion and based on my own healing journey, this "quick fix" doesn't allow for the body and spirit to heal. What triggered this imbalanced state of being? If there is an imbalance, balance can again be achieved. Choosing an alternative path for healing is not for the feint of heart - it is a lot of work! But It is worth the effort.
The outcome of decompression surgery is questionable, no matter what your neurosurgeon says. There are many stories of people that have had the surgery only to find their symptoms returning. Why is this bad? Because now there are vital elements of your body missing, and may result in further surgeries which leads to more recovery time and more pain. NUCCA may be a sufficient treatment for those who have been decompressed, but bear in mind that every body is unique and will respond variously to treatment.
Surgery is invasive and can cause problems of its own, such as infections, blood clots, etc., or ongoing pain.
Even with the most skilled and experienced neurosurgeons performing this procedure, they have no idea what will be found and therefore cannot guarantee how your surgery will go and what they will "need" to do, such as inserting a shunt to manually control CSF flow.
If your neurosurgeon deems it necessary, they will remove of the posterior arch of C1 (the atlas, which has a circular shape), and possibly the C2 (axis), the two vertebrae that hold up your head and also support myriad nerves and vascular tissue that you need to maintain your health, vitality, motor skills and much more as you age. If there is an easier, gentler and just as effective way to lessen your symptoms without removing body parts, wouldn't you want to do that instead?
Upper Cervical Treatment
With the complication of a Chiari involvement, the alignment of the craniocervical juncture becomes critical. The brain and spinal cord comprise the central nervous system. It may help to think of the spinal cord as an extension of the brain, such as a long braided ponytail extending downward. The upper cervical spinal cord is "suspended" by triangular-shaped structures called dentate ligaments to the cervical spinal segments. When the upper cervical segments and the skull base are balanced, an optimal bio mechanical position allows for proper blood flow, cerebral spinal fluid flow, normal nerve function and neurological input both to and from the brain.
Abnormal positioning of the craniocervical junction will likely affect a Chiari Malformation negatively by creating a downward tug on the brainstem and cerebellar tonsils by dentate ligament tension.
For we Chiarians, this is especially important: Specific vectored orthogonal upper cervical adjustments to restore proper head/neck alignment are designed to be exceptionally light with respect to the force generated, which is significant for a delicate and neurologically-compromised brainstem region.
Upper cervical orthogonally-based procedures such as NUCCA, Orthospinology, Grostic and Atlas Orthogonal have always strived to restore the craniocervical junction to an optimal position in a three-dimensional sense. Balanced head/neck relationship posturing is essential for a normal functioning craniocervical juncture and the effects of a misalignment on the brainstem can have endless ramifications for an individuals health.