Friday, October 24, 2014
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 TRing, Community Member, asks

Q: can numbness/weakness on left side last over a week after a complex migraine?

I was admitted to hosp. a few days ago with a suspected stroke. I had been feeling funny and had a headache. My husband said my face looked funny and my one eye was up and one looked lower. By the time I was at the hospital, I wasn't making sense, had really unlear vision and my whole left side was numb. Doctors all were saying it was a stroke. My blood pressure went really high then so low (86/52). They were really concerned when it was staying so low. Everyone kept telling me it was a stroke but changed later & told me they weren't sure what it was after my MRi, Cat Scan and EEG came back good. I also had a good heart scan and ulta sound of neck. They were thinking it was a TIA but the numbness stayed.  It is day 4. I am home and receiving physical therapy because my hand and left foot won't work. They feel like they fell asleep and I have burning pins & needles that hurt. Therapist said it looks like a stroke but doctor said since MRI is clear it isn't. He said it was a complex migraine. Can they cause numbness that lasts so long? I have to use a walker and have daily pt/ot. Other than the numb/weakness, I still feel dreamy and tired.

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Answers (4)
Teri Robert, Health Guide
2/ 5/09 3:03pm

Hello, TRing,


I'm so sorry to read all you're going through. Unfortunately, there are times when it's very difficult to tell the difference between tia, stroke, and Migraine symptoms. That can make situations such as yours even more difficult and, honestly, frightening.


To simplify matters and make it easier for people to get information and treatment, doctors usually go by the gold standard for diagnosis, the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (ICHD-II). Under ICHD-II, there is no diagnosis of "complex Migraine." We do see it used, but doctors use it differently, so that leaves me unsure of what type of Migraine they think you actually have.


That said, although numbness can occur with several types of Migraine, true weakness occurs only with Hemiplegic Migraine. You can read more about it in Hemiplegic Migraine - The Basics.


Most of the time, neurological symptoms resolve themselves when the Migraine ends. However, there are cases, especially with hemiplegic Migraine, when the symptoms can continue for weeks or even months.


Hemiplegic Migraine is uncommon and not easy to treat. Several Migraine-specific medications such as the triptans -- Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, etc. -- are not recommended for use with hemiplegic Migraine.


The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is to find someone who really understands Migraine disease in its various forms, get a complete diagnosis, and talk with this doctor about treatment. That may well mean that you need to find a Migraine specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.


I know you're going through a rough time. If you'd like some additional support, come join our discussion forum. You'll need to register again once there because it's a separate membership database, but you can use the same member name, email address, and password that you used here. You can find our forum at


Good luck,


Bethany, Community Member
8/11/12 6:27pm

thank you, I have been diagnosed for years, but never found such a great wealth of information.  I went to the E.R. last evening and was insulted, was treated to the point of making a complaint.  I was told to go to the E.R. by my Nuero that is a distance away and they were to call them, after having been  suffering from symptoms for four days.  It was a disaster, I left.  To make matters worse, I had a severe TBI in April, it is now August, which I had multiple head blows, nerve damage and now suffer from another type of head pain daily as well.  I also have short term memory loss and word problems from it.  It is what I call a "double whammy".  I am presently trying to finish two Thesis projects, which I have no idea how I will make it....this recent migrane is not helping matters. 


I still have a facial dropping, if that is the right term.  My left side is still weak, and if I do anything at all it gets weaker after it was feeling better.


Frustrated I am.....any help is appreciated.




Teri Robert, Health Guide
8/12/12 11:00am

Hi, Bethany,


I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. The ER can be a horrible place for Migraine treatment. I hope you're planning to let your neuro know what happened. It would also be helpful to discuss rescue treatments with him. Rescue treatments are those we have at home to use when our regular treatments fail, keeping us out of the ER as much as possible. Thanks to the rescue treatments prescribed by my doctor, it's been about 10 years since I've had to go to the ER for a Migraine. For more on this, take a look at Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications - What's the Difference?


This "double whammy" of yours is bound to be frustrating. If you're not making any progress with your neuro, I'd suggest a second opinion from a Migraine and headache specialist. It’s important to note that neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists


I hope some of this helps. Please keep me posted?




Bethany, Community Member
8/27/12 3:56pm

thank you so much your information is very appreciated.  This has been a long, long road and this recent TBI has just complicated everything, plus the new nerve damage along with it.  The paraylis that goes with my migrane is rare and very frustrating, it makes me feel as if I am very alone.  My family is very supportive, there used to be some window that gave a warning with it, but the window is getting very close these days. This is very hard to handle...topomax is helpful, but does not give complete control.  Watching the triggers is part of the game, but at times there is not a rhyme or reason to it either....I would love to communicate with you more...the other problem is payor source and finding a migrane specialist that will take the payor source available. 


Thanks again,



Teri Robert, Health Guide
8/27/12 3:59pm



This all has to be tremendously frustrating. I'm going to email you so you'll have my email address to "communicate more."



Chuck, Community Member
3/ 2/09 9:56pm

Hi Teri,


I just read your informative answer to TRing's post. I've been searching for info on my own condition - which is somewhat similar to TRing's symptoms. I have bad headaches on the left side that come and go. Associated with these sympotoms are mild numbness in my left arm and calf and discomfort in my upper left abdomen. Finally, my left eye and cheek feel funny when all this is happening. This has been going on for 3 years now. I have an MRI scheduled for Saturday. My doctor is testing me for TIA's, but I think an aneursym is also possible. I'm a 42 year old male - that occasionally smokes. Otherwise I'm physically fit - run and swim a couple of miles every day. Does this sound like migraines to you?

JR, Community Member
9/10/10 2:33pm

Have you found out what is wrong???  I have the exact same issues and have had them for about a year & 1/2.  I'm 35 non smoker, very healthly.  Have had CT & 2 MRI's Neck and head and everything came back fine.  My neurologist said come back and see how things are in a year.   Well it been a year and the symptoms still come and go.  Sometimes nothing for months and then they are back.  He seems stumped….says he can do all kind of tests but it would cost a lot and he doubts we will find anything.  Would like me to come back in another year. 


soonerscrapbooks, Community Member
3/17/10 11:06pm

I have had a similar attack last week. My MRI and CTs showed clear. 9 days later I still have the left side numbness. I am having trouble speaking, walking, and using my hand. My primary doctor thinks my stroke was related to migraines even though I have no history of migraines but I have had a headache since the attack. I have a history of high blood pressure. I am 34 year old female non-smoker. They put me on Topamax last week but so far no improvement. Maybe we can keep each other posted on our diagnosis.

Rachelle, Community Member
3/16/11 10:13pm

Hi - our story sound almost exactly the same. I am 39, non-smoker, they ran all the stroke tests and when clear said "oh must be a migraine - go home and we'll see you in clinic inthe next month".

Headache and left side numbness coming and going for 7 days, just wondering where to go form here?

Should I drive?

How many painkillers should I take?

All a bit up in the air!?

beautiful kennedy, Community Member
10/11/12 10:41pm

yup its a stroke,its been 6 mos. for me @ that time i couldnt walk either. get someone to walk ahead of u,and you hold them from behind,telling your mind to leg this leg move,i did this da same day i got out da hositpal n started walking,excercise that arm n leg,the numbness will leave but keep doing this u have to push yurself real heart. how i knew it was an stroke my mom have them all da time n tis time its #6 as of sept. i wish u da best in yur health.....b blessed.


Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
10/12/12 11:06am



I'm sorry to hear you've had a stroke and wish you well on your  continued recovery. Is there anything else we can do for you?



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By TRing, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/21/13, First Published: 02/04/09