Several months ago, I decided to try using a weighted blanket for Chiari Malformation symptoms to see if it would help me sleep better. Due to my Chiari Malformation, I frequently get painful leg spasms, have trouble sleeping due to pain in my back, and tend to have restless legs, especially at night. After hearing about weighted blankets, I thought it would be an interesting thing to try, and today I will share my thoughts on using a weighted blanket for Chiari Malformation.
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This article is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a heavier type of blanket that rests on top of the user and provides deep pressure, similar to a hug. The blankets are filled with plastic pellets and weigh anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds, depending on the weight of the user. There are lots of different weighted blankets available online and in-stores, though I purchased mine from Amazon.
Choose the correct size
A weighted blanket is supposed to be one-tenth of the users weight, give or take one pound. I used the slightly lighter weighted blanket for my size and purchased a twin-sized blanket for my dorm, which fit nicely on the bed. Some weighted blankets come with duvet covers, but I chose to use a duvet cover I already owned instead.
How I thought it would help my Chiari Malformation
When I purchased my weighted blanket for Chiari Malformation, I was imagining the following things would happen:
- My legs would feel much better not spasming around and the compression would be relaxing
- I would not be tossing and turning at night
- The weighted blanket would be soothing for my migraines and help me rest easier
- While it would not take away the pain, it definitely would feel better
What actually happened
So I got my weighted blanket and put it on my bed to sleep. I did this for several nights and found that the following things happened:
- My legs felt like they were being crushed and my feet were in a lot of pain. This is potentially because I’ve had a few ankle injuries and my feet did not respond well to the pressure or added weight, but it went away when I moved the blanket above my ankles.
- After a few nights, I started falling asleep more quickly with the weighted blanket. However, I had several weird dreams that I was being crushed by something, which was not a fun sensation.
- The weighted blanket did help me relax with a migraine when I had the blanket away from my ankles. However, I found it very difficult to get up post-migraine and ended up knocking the blanket on the floor. It was difficult for me to pick up and put back on the bed because I was so exhausted.
- I didn’t really notice a huge difference in my chronic pain when using a weighted blanket
Alternatives to weighted blankets
Instead of using a weighted blanket for Chiari Malformation, I decided to try out these alternatives, which I liked better:
- Large duvet cover with two comforters inside
- Using the smaller Yogibo Ms.Bliss weighted blanket, which only took up a small portion of my body and felt less constricting. Note- this is currently out of stock and post will be updated with new link when available.
- Using a weighted shoulder wrap, also from Yogibo
- Sleeping with compression leggings on when I have bad spasms
- Doing stretches before bed to help with my tight muscles
Should I get a weighted blanket for Chiari Malformation?
If you have symptoms similar to my Chiari Malformation or are aversive to touch or deep pressure, I would not recommend getting a weighted blanket, and instead try some of the alternatives I listed. While I do like the concept of a weighted blanket for helping others, it just wasn’t for me, though I’m willing to give it another try in the future if my Chiari Malformation symptoms change.