Sunday, September 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 monica, Community Member, asks

Q: Complicated migraines after none for 7 years.

I had months of complicated migraines 7 years ago but through meds, etc, the neurological symptoms resolved.  Then last week, I had two complicated migraines a day apart with the neurological syptoms (loss of speech and complete paralysis on my left side) lasting up to 6 hours.  The only thing that had recently changed were 1) I was taken off promethazine and had not started my new med yet and 2) I got botox injections the day before the first one. No more stress than usual and no other triggers I can identify.  Was extensively checked for stroke and all results came out neg.  They say brain is 'structually' okay.  Can anyone tell me if this is usual since these kind of sypmtoms have not been present for so long?  Very scared and perplexed.

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Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
8/ 9/12 8:13pm

Hi Monica,

 

I bet you are scared! I know I would especially after not having any problems in such a long time. Some people have Migraines for years, then they stop, only to start up again a few years later. Unfortunately no one is sure why this happens. Other people are a bit luckier and will have Migraines for years, but then they will completely stop. Because each Migraineur is so different, and we aren't exactly clear on all aspects of Migraine (but we're getting closer) it is almost impossible to tell how it will affect each of us.

 

I'm not sure what triggered your Migraines to start up again, but Migraine is a genetic neurological disease that to date, does not have a cure.

 

But here's the thing - the only type of Migraine with true motor weakness is hemiplegic Migraine (HM) which is a rare form of Migraine disease. Weakness or tingling/numbness can be attributed to Migraine, but which one it is makes a big difference. Tingling or numbness can be a symptom of any form of Migraine, but true weakness occurs only with hemiplegic Migraine. HM can mimic stroke, epilepsy and other disorders so it is important to have an accurate diagnosis. You can read more about this in Hemiplegic Migraine - The Basics. If in fact you do have HM, the best doctor to help treat you is a Migraine specialist.

 

You see it works like this - neurologists may be fine doctors, but may not be experts in Migraine and headache medicine. This is because they treat so many conditions like MS, epilepsy and stroke. A Migraine specialist is just that, an expert who treats one condition - ours - Migraines and headache disorders. When you get a chance, take a look at 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.

 

Speaking of accurate diagnosis this will help simplify matters and make it easier for you to get information and treatment. To get a diagnosis, doctors usually go by the gold standard for diagnosis, the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (ICHD-II). Although people often ask what “complex” or “complicated” Migraines are, there’s no such diagnoses under ICHD-II. We do see it used, but doctors use it differently, so it really doesn't tell anyone what type of Migraine you actually have. You can read more about this  What Is a Complex or Complicated Migraine? and The Type of Migraine Does Matter.

 

I know I've given you a lot of information, and I hope it all makes sense. Let me know what you think after you've had a chance to look it over.

 

Good luck

Nancy

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By monica, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/09/12, First Published: 08/08/12