Complex Migraines

by Robin
(Ayr Ontario Canada)

The local stroke clinic at our hospital diagnosed me with Complex Migraines. While it was a relief that I wasn't having a stroke or TIA. They left me with no treatment but to follow up with my family doctor.
Do you have suggestions for my next steps or treatment options?

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Hemiplegic Migraines
by: Anonymous

Hemiplegic migraines are sometimes called familial hemiplegic migraine. This type of migraine was initially described in literature in 1910. It is usually a recurring headache type.


This headache can be very frightening as it is one of those migraines that mimics a stroke. It can be associated with the following symptoms.

temporary one sided weakness (arm, leg or both)
possible tingling in the opposite limbs
difficulty talking or slurred speech
headache that is migrainous
loss of balance
decreased consciousness or unconsciousness
The symptoms may be less prominent than the headache and usually resolve within the headache phase.

The "familial" part refers to the fact that there is a genetic relationship and the genes have been located. There are three of them and they are FHM1, FHM2 and FHM3.

A second type of headache that is similar for FHM is sporadic hemiplegic migraine. The difference between the two is that SHM occurs only sporadically in a person's life whereas the FHM is definitely much more often.

Treatment of Hemiplegic Migraine

Generally speaking abortive medications such as triptans and ergotamines are contraindicated in this situation. This is because the risk of stroke, and these medications are very vasoconstrictive.

Prophylactic or preventative therapy is usually the treatment given. Medications such as verapamil or beta-blockers such as inderal are the best to try first.

Patients with hemiplegic migraines should consider wearing or carrying medical identification about their condition. This is because if you are semi-conscious or unconscious, medical providers need to know about your medical problems.

This is what I'm faced with everyday, what I found works for me is oxycodine, at the beginning of what feels like a headache coming on I will take one and it keeps the headache from getting to its severe stage that sends me into a seizure. There are times that even this can't stop the effect as it will hit me so fast I don't have time to react and stop it, I've already suffered a stroke and numerous TIA's with this condition, I am second generation of this condition as it runs in my Father's side of the family only they all had the first generation which in itself is severe but it doesn't seem to have all the other life threatening side effects as my condition has. I Tried the Triptan's and other medications but they gave me unwanted side effects that were worse than dealing with the migraines and seizure, right now I live a pretty normal life with as little stress as I can get by with as stress is a catalyst for the migraines.

I hope some of this may help someone out there that suffer with this condition as I do the unfortunate thing is that there is little known about this condition in the medical field and it hasn't had much research done on it until I think it was 2008 a doctor had a patient with this and they were first misdiagnosed and with that he started looking into what it was and how to treat it and now he has made several publications on the subject however not all doctors are aware of this condition as was the case with my doctor when I started with her, but the good thing was I had done a lot of research on my own and stubbled across his publications and then asked questions to my Father about his and his family's symptoms and was able to direct my doctor into the right direction so she called the expert on this subject and now she knows how and what to do to help me.


by: Mary Kay

Yes..you need to find a good neurologist in your area. This is not difficult to treat but may be beyond what a primary care doctor can offer.

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Does the scenerio above sound like you? If not, or if you think you need more information please read about different types of headaches to find out which type of headache you are experiencing.

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