Numbness, stroke-like symptoms related to Migraine?

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    I have been having migraines since 1980. The first time it happened, I was rushed to the emergency room because it was thought that I had a stroke. Incoherent, numbness throughout my body, couldn't see, aura, then eventually my tongue was thick feeling and I couldn't even talk. After it subsided, I had a headache from hades for 3 days that wouldn't go away no matter what.


    I had an MRI and it showed lots of lesions. They attributed them to migraines. I've been on 750 mg of Depakote for 8 years now to try to stop the aura's and stroke like symptoms.


    Last week, I was bowling and was talking to one of my team mates when all of the sudden, I couldn't say a complete coherent sentence and my right hand went numb. I had some of my nasal Imitrex with me so took that. After about half an hour, I was back to normal except for a pounding headache. My migraines are on my right side.

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    I haven't had the stroke like symptoms since being on the Depakote until last week. Could it be that I may be getting immune to the drug? I have glaucoma too so am limited to what I can take, like Topamax. Also since being on the Depakote, I have gained over 40 pounds. I can't seem to find any information of stroke like symptoms related to migraines. Could I be having mini strokes?  Robin.





    Dear Robin;


    Certainly, there are strokes that can be associated with Migraines, and there is plenty of information in the Migraine literature. They seem to be more prevalent in Migraines with aura and in women with other risk factors for stroke (smoking, lipids, hypertension and age grouping). Likewise, many symptoms that can be attributable to Migraine are the same symptoms sometimes experienced with stroke -- numbness aphasia and other speech issues, and more.


    Your episode could be part of a Migraine that is more complicated than usual, or there could be two separate issues at hand.


    Our strongest suggestion is to talk with your headache physician and/or obtain a consult from a Migraine and headache specialist to discuss your symptoms. There's a link below to our listing of patient recommended Migraine specialists. Perhaps medication changes can make a huge difference, as well. Even with glaucoma, there are still many preventive options open to you.




    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


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    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Last updated September 25, 2009.

Published On: September 25, 2009