Unusually Severe and New Migraine Symptoms?

Health Professional

Full Question:

Yesterday I had the worst migraine I've ever had. It wasn't just that the pain level was high. The nausea and sensitivity to light, sound, and movement were more intense than with any other migraine before. On top of that, one side of my face became started tingling and continued for a couple of hours. Should I be concerned? Thanks, Shelby.

Full Answer:

Dear Shelby;

It's really not possible for anyone other than your own doctor to tell you if you should be concerned about these symptoms. The severity of migraine symptoms can vary from one migraine attack to another. It's also not unusual for us to develop new symptoms.

It's not totally understood why we develop new symptoms, but our bodies do change over time. When we encounter a migraine trigger, our hypersensitive brains react with a wave of irregular electrical activity (cortical spreading depression) sweeping the brain. As this electrical activity sweeps different areas of the brain, different symptoms occur. Changes in our brain's pathways and how the cortical spreading depression affects them may well be responsible for our developing new symptoms.

That said, whenever a migraineur experiences new symptoms or symptoms that are unusually severe for them, it's best to see a doctor to be sure that nothing additional is going on. As you may know, some of the symptoms of migraine are also potential symptoms of other medical issues including stroke and aneurysm, so it's always best to see your doctor to be on the safe side. Depending on your medical history and physical exam, your doctor my want to order an imaging study or other testing to rule out other causes of your especially severe symptoms during this recent migraine attack as well as the new paresthesia - the facial tingling.

We hope all turns out well for you. Please feel free to get back in touch if you need to.

Thanks for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert

About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. He and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about _ Dr. Watson_ or more about _** Teri Robert** _.

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