Beyond the knife and pills
Many patients with Chiari malformations, as well as some with syringomyelia, may elect to cope with their symptoms and resultant disabilities, rather than undergo a neurosurgical operation. Others, who do have surgery and who, hopefully, gain some benefit, may still be left with some of their original symptoms. Occasionally surgery causes complications, with new symptoms developing. Referral to a neurology service, or a pain clinic, is a common pathway for such individuals, following which various drug regimes are commonly tried. There are, however, a number of other therapies that can be applied, with benefit. Physiotherapy may assist in the control of subjective balance disturbances or with alleviation of vestibular symptoms, as well as compensating for motor deficits and assisting functional restoration and enabling the client to regain some exercise ability. Speech and language therapy may help the patient who presents with bulbar symptoms, such as dysphonia or dysphasia. Diet and exercise advice should help with weight loss when this is aggravating matters. Occupational therapy can assist in many areas including applying desensitisation techniques may help with management of chronic pains and sensory disturbances, affecting various parts of the body. Management of chronic fatigue, a common complaint with Chiari and syringomyelia patients, can yield great benefits. So, too, can the alleviation of anxieties and the inevitable psychological distresses that accompany living with these chronic neurological disorders. Chiari malformations and syringomyelia can have life-altering effects on people and, beyond any surgical of pharmacological treatments offered by neurosurgeons, neurologists and pain relief specialists, the Therapies can help the individual rebuild norms in his or her life.
The symposium is co-organised by The Ann Conroy Trust, in association with Aesculap Academia.
The Ann Conroy Trust is Registered Charity No: 1165808.
We provide Support, Education and Research for patients living with Chiari Malformation, Syringomyelia and associated conditions.