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Migraine vs. MS
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Migraine vs. MS

Yesterday I had a migraine that presented a bit differently than previous migraines.  I don't usually have an aura beforehand, but felt very weird in the hours before I realized that this headache was becoming a migraine.  Before this was feeling like a definite migraine, I felt like I had a mild hangover, even though I hadn't had anything to drink at all in the days prior.  It just felt like something wasn't right.  

Vicodin didn't take care of it (I only take that when I'm desperate, anyway) and the nausea was increasing.   Then my left hand and arm began to have numbness, tingling, and weakness.  This is still going on now, even though the headache is gone.  (It has been about 10 hours since the onset of this symptom)  My headaches are always right sided, but I've never had this symptom.

I'm concerned that I've had other symptoms that could be consistent with MS and haven't thought much of them since they were fairly isolated and subsided on their own.  I've had a positive ANA with no diagnosed autoimmune disease to explain it.  

I'm wondering if this unilateral numbness/tingling/weakness feeling could be due to the migraine, even though the headache is gone completely, as well as the nausea that accompanied it.
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9 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I would call your doc and ask him about this. I don't mean to alarm you but you may have had a mild stroke or a complicated migraine. Can you lift that arm ok? If you develop any one sided weakness go to the ER. The nausea can frequently accompany a migraine, but if this is something new for you I would ask the doctor.
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Avatar_n_tn
heart2heart,

Thank you so much for your response.  I actually did a lot of research last night as soon as this all started, and I am really hoping it is complicated migraine, and nothing like MS.  I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow come he** or high water, and will be pushing to have an MRI ASAP.  I was originally worried about TIA/stroke, but since these were the only symptoms I was having at the time and I knew I had a migraine with fairly familiar symptoms other than this new symptom with my arm.  

Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday and my dad had a stroke at 40, so that's a big concern.  I'm an RN, husband is a paramedic, so if any other symptom develops indicating any sort of circulatory interruption in my noggin, we'll be heading to the ER right away.  

Do you know much about complicated migraine??

(thanks again for your response, I really appreciate it)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi holymoly. Does sound like a complicated migraine to me. I apparently get them and it still blows me away what they can do to you. I say apparently, because my neuro isn't 100% sure yet - I had one constantly for 3 months last year. My physician was sure they would find MS on the MRI, but no - nothing. I had the same symptoms you discribe plus left sided muscle weekness, unable to swallow or chew food properly, electric shock sensations, ataxia, tremors and some pretty major visual problems, but no MS.  Neuro said complicated migraine was the only other thing he could think of that fits ( although it is rare to have them for 3 months). Found that very hard to believe at first, as I did'nt get many headaches with it, but having done lots of research, its looking more possible to me now.
My advice to you is to push to have tests done to rule out other things first - for your own piece of mind as much as anything else. It is fairly common for migraine sufferers to find their symptoms change as they get older (30s &40s - I'm 37) Many find they don't get the headache every time - just the other stuff. You'll probably need migraine prevention meds. One thing that frustrates me these days is that my doctor seems to put every symptom I have down to the migraines and isn't really interested in running any tests anymore. Sometimes you have to be strong and assertive to get the help you need, and thats not easy when you're very ill - hopefully, being an RN, you'll have better access to it all. Good luck and I hope I did'nt frighten you - you may never get one of these again. And as I said, my case is rare.
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Avatar_n_tn
ZZZZZZZZ....(did I put too many z's?? lol)  

I want to thank you for your response.  You didn't frighten me at all, I'm honestly hoping that complicated migraine is what this is.  What scared me a little is that in the morning I woke up with no more headache (thank God), but my hand and arm were still numb, tingly, sometimes painful.  Through the course of the day it's gotten better and worse, with no rhyme or reason, but it's not like it's really uncomfortable or anything.  I just don't want to worry about the cause.  Your message actually makes me feel encouraged and hopeful.  (I really don't want to find out I have MS.)

What kind of migraine prevention meds are you on?  I can't take Imitrex unless I absolutely have to, but I hear that there are more on the market than there used to be.

Thanks again, your post was very helpful.    

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Avatar_n_tn
Okay, I'm a dork.  I just now saw your thread at the bottom of the page....I'll read it right now and it may answer my question!

Thanks again.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi. Those numb & tingly sensations can last a while - who knows when they will go - I still have buzzing toes 9 months later - I understand this too, is unusual, though I have read that it can happen with complicated migraine.
I have read that it is not a good idea to take imitrex for complicated migraine - something about upping the seratonin levels making it more possible to have a stroke. In migraine with aura, the blood vessles shrink and then expand - If I remember correctly, I understand imitrex prevents them from expanding? - In complicated migraine, they stay shrunk for the duration and so you don't want to be taking imitrex for it - you need preventitive meds to keep them open. This is where it gets difficult for me as I am not tollerating the meds - I have tried Nadalol (sheer grog) and Sandomigran (I'm in NZ - think different names in US) The sandomigran was a nightmare - absolute zombie at starting dose :(  Currently I am awol from medical proffession and taking feverfew, magnesium, and Vit B2 (tones vascular system) Its been 3 weeks - no noticable difference yet - guess I'd better go back to doc - know shes going to kill me for stopping meds & going natural - she doesn't believe in it. I guess I'll have to work my way down the list until I find the right drug for me. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sheesh...no wonder they call it "complicated" migraine.  Migraines in general are pretty complicated, though!  Would you keep us updated if you don't mind?  I'd love to hear what you find out when you see the doctor again.  

That's a long time to have buzzing toes!   Take care and good luck to you, too.
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Avatar_f_tn
Is a COMPLICATED migraine the same thing as a migraine VARIANT? I was sent home with a migraine variant diagnosis once, and I had the same symptoms as you as far as tingling. Usually they send me home diagnosing me with a panic attack, but that time it was different. I'm just wondering if it was the same as a complicated migraine. Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
It sounds very similar. The headache ended on Sunday morning and hasn't really been back.  My hand (mainly the last three fingers and the side of it) continue to alternate between slightly numb and very numb.   It's so weird.  I went to the doctor - had an EKG that was normal, I'm having an echocardiogram today and I'm scheduling an MRI.  Actually, the echo is more to confirm whether I have Mitral Valve Prolapse or not since I had been told I had it in the past.  There is a click sound when she listens to it, but an echo is necessary to confirm the presence or absence of MVP.  We don't think this would have had anything to do with the headache or arm/hand thing, but it never hurts to know what's going on in those vital organs, so I'm glad we're doing it.  

I'm more worried about the MRI, but hopefully there is no reason to be.
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