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Handling Chiari Malformations is Serious Work

October 1, 2015

Dr. Fraser Henderson (right) and Dr. Clare Francomano with Dr. John Mitakides at the symposium in New Orleans

Last week, world-class clinical and scientific experts from around the world met in New Orleans to share their findings that have contributed to the understanding and treatment of Chiari malformations (CM).

As a presenter at this symposium, Dr. Mitakides shared his findings on craniofacial pain syndrome—specifically the instability of the neck and how it affects head, face and TMJ pain, especially in EDS and CM patients. He was recognized for his studies which have indicated that stabilization, with particular focus on C-1 and C-2 vertebrae, can enhance the outcome of Chiari surgery or reduce the need for surgery.

CM are a rare, but serious condition affecting people of all ages. Those living with CM experience structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain controlling balance, when it is pushed into the upper spinal canal. This pressure on the cerebellum and brainstem can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to and from the brain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is estimated that about one in 1,000 people have some degree of CM.

People living with CM experience neck pain, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness in arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, hearing loss, problems with hand coordination and fine motor skills, difficulty swallowing and more. Working with a specialized team to diagnose the disorder, manage pain and develop a comprehensive treatment plan is essential.

The TMJ Treatment Center team has dedicated their careers to understanding and helping people living with TMJ, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and a variety of other craniofacial disorders.  With Dr. Mitakides’ in-depth knowledge of head, neck and spine functions, he and his team can help recognize these symptoms and get you the right treatment.