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Complicated migraine: What you need to know

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A complicated migraine is characterized by an attack that is accompanied by intense neurological symptoms. It is important to note that a migraine is more than just a simple headache. The distinctive intense throbbing sensation is usually accompanied by light or sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. Some individuals experience an aura prior to a migraine attack that is comprised of tingling or numbness in the face or hands, visual disturbances such as flashing lights or blind spots and a metallic taste.

Close look on migraines

It is important to note that migraines are categorized as common, classic or complicated. The common migraines are those that occur without an aura while the classic types include an aura.

The complex or complicated migraines are considered uncommon which includes neurological symptoms that are strikingly similar to a stroke. The indications of a complicated migraine include an aura that persists for hours or days or paralysis of the eye muscles.

Individuals who have a complicated migraine can also experience difficulty speaking, weakness and loss of vision. Always bear in mind that these classifications are no longer used since many individuals who suffer from migraines often end up with more than just one type.

What are the types?

Those who have basilar migraine can experience an aura with dizziness or visual or auditory disruptions on both sides of the head.

Aside from the specific neurological symptoms, a complicated migraine also refers to uncommon migraine types. A hemiplegic migraine is usually an inherited form in which the individual suffers from stroke-like symptoms.

Those who have basilar migraine can experience an aura with dizziness or visual or auditory disruptions on both sides of the head. As for a retinal migraine, it is characterized by visual disturbances in one eye that can be caused by the retina rather than the brain as with other types of migraines.

What are the possible causes of complicated migraines?

The precise cause of migraines is considered theoretical. The process starts once a trigger such as an allergy, specific type of food or hormonal fluctuation triggers the blood vessels in the brain to spasm or constrict.

Always bear in mind that the constriction momentarily reduces the flow of blood to certain regions of the brain which results to an aura. The blood vessels dilate and trigger the characteristic one-sided pain.

Migraine management

The uncommon and complicated migraines are managed in the same manner as with other types of migraines. Just remember that a doctor should be consulted. The migraine medications are divided into 3 categories.

The preventives are the medications taken daily that reduce the frequency of the migraine attacks by reducing the dilation of the blood vessels. The common preventive medications include beta blockers, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and divalproex sodium.

Pain medications deal with the pain but not the accompanying symptoms. These include over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin and combination of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. There are also prescription pain medications such as ketorolac and naproxen. The abortive medications act on the dilated blood vessels which causes the migraine.

Important precautions

Always bear in mind that the migraines do not affect overall health but they increase the risk for stroke. A doctor should be consulted if the pattern or severity of the migraine changes or if the current medication loses effectiveness.

The individual should seek immediate care if the headache is the worst he/she experienced. If the individual experiences neurological symptoms such as visual or speech difficulties and balance loss or has his/her first attack, it is vital to seek immediate medical care.


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