Perhaps I can address some of these questions. First off, I'm a 74 yr. old female and have had scoliosis my entire life. L. sided scoliosis is indicative of a neurological problem (info given about 20 yrs. or so ago). I have accompanying kyphosis and lordosis and spent my childhood in either casts or braces. Rod surgery was discovered towards the end of the time I was being treated. I never had it b/c it was very new and we couldn't have afforded it anyway.
Later on it in life I sneezed while my l. arm was in the air. Extreme pain shot through that side of my body, especially towards the l. breast and under my l. arm. The MRI had just come along at that time, and I was discovered to have SM (Syringomyelia) and later ACM (Arnold Chiari Malformation). The cord surgery was an absolute nightmare and at that time I became ill with two separate viruses and feel that's when ME really developed. Bear in mind that I had symptoms like IBS from my early 20's on.
My scoliosis was hardly even seen, yet it had been so bad that I couldn't support myself at say the age of 4 (when treatments began in earnest). I walked....a lot and feel that probably did me more good than any other form of exercise.
I had ACM Repair Surgery five years after the first surgery..a neurosurgeon familiar with the new techniques was the person I used. My BP went from incredibly low to very high, something I'm still dealing with to this day, except that it's even higher again.
I would go to an osteopath familiar with myofascial therapy, but never to a Chiropractor (and I've done both). Most of all, I trust myself to know the limits of my own body the best. I do know that exercise is important...like it or not. But I know how far I can push myself and no one else knows that. I learn exercises, go only to myofascial therapists and have found at Jim's suggestion that exercising every 3 days is about right. I echo him on that thought. Right now I can't walk b/c of foot problems but I do try to keep my muscle tone and will fight to do so.
SM can be caused by an accident of any sort, but the most common type is by car. Neck injuries are common. ACM is a congenital defect with SM accompanying it...you always have both of them together. Accidental problems that lead to SM do not have the ACM involvement.
I believe that Jeff Wood is now advocating gentle neck exercises for people with CCI. I would do the same for ACM, because surgery is not for everyone. Not b/c I don't want to see people recover, but depending upon a lot of factors, it may be best to strengthen the neck muscles and see how one fares from there. Please don't just go wily nily into exercises, especially ones that can be damaging. Gentle...always gentle and you can build up from there if there are no aftereffects. Yes, expect pain, but it shouldn't be horrendous if the exercises are gone about properly.
I used to walk 3-5 miles each and every day for years. I'm a walker at heart, and was also a bike rider. Sadly, the latter had to go b/c with my problems I can no longer balance on a bike. Instead I focus on what I can do...I have to otherwise I'd be in even worse condition. I wish everyone good health. Yours, Lenora.