Originally asked by Community Member TRing
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.
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.
You should know Answers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Answered by: Teri Robert