Headache precipitated by Valsalva maneuvers in patients with congenital Chiari I malformation

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2010 Jun;68(3):406-9. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2010000300015.


The objective of this study was to characterize the headache precipitated by Valsalva maneuvers associated with Chiari type I malformation (CM-1). Nineteen patients were evaluated, with ages ranging from 30 to 75 years. Ten of them presented headache. Pain was more prevalent in the occipital (80%) and frontal region (60%). The headaches were of significantly shorter duration in the women compared with the men. The frequency of headache crises was relatively high. All patients with Valsalva-related headache suffered from at least one episode per month. The most prevalent precipitating factors were coughing, which is well described in the literature, and sexual activity, which only now is recognized as an event associated with CM-1.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / complications*
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders, Primary / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Valsalva Maneuver*