Migraine is a complex disease with myriad possible symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be frightening; at the very least, they’re frustrating. Motor weakness is one of the possible symptoms of a migraine attack.
Motor weakness is another term for muscle weakness, which is weakness in one or more muscle. Motor weakness can be temporary or permanent, and can be a symptom of several diseases and conditions.
In the context of migraine, temporary motor weakness can be a symptom of a migraine attack. It’s important to distinguish between motor weakness, paresthesia, and hemiplegia. Paresthesthesia, numbness or tingling, can be a symptom of any form of migraine. Motor weakness and hemiplegia, one-sided paralysis, are potential symptoms of hemiplegic migraine only. At one time, triptans — Imitrex (sumatriptan), Maxalt (rizatriptan), Zomig (zolmitriptan), etc. — and ergotamines — D.H.E. 45 (dihydroergotamine) and Migranal Nasal Spray (dihydroergotamine mesylate) — were contraindicated for patients with hemiplegic migraine. Some studies have shown that they may be safe, but at this time, there’s no consensus in the field on this issue. Some doctors prescribe triptans and ergotamines for hemiplegic migraine; some don’t. It is, however, important to identify hemiplegic migraine so that doctors and patients can make informed treatment decisions.
More Frustrating Migraine Symptoms:
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+.