Avatar universal

Migraine vs. MS or something else... (redux)

I know this topic has come up multiple times on this board lately.  I do get migraines (and other weird headaches, the worst of which I'm pretty sure is occipital neuralgia), but not frequently.

I'm lucky that my current neuro hasn't mentioned migraine as a "dx" yet, but I have been told that in the past.  I do sometimes wonder if it is migraine causing my problems (but then I also think of all the people who have lesions and are told they are from migraines, and I wonder why, with as many issues as I'm having, shouldn't I have "migraine" lesions, too?  How do you differentiate?)

Anyway, I got a real migraine yesterday.  I haven't had one in a number of months.  It follows a very predictable pattern--my eyes, and then the rest of my face, get itchy and iritated.  I get super sensitive to all stimuli--touch (can't stand to have anything touching me lightly, like clothes!), sound, SMELL, light.  And the nausea is there...  then comes the headache.  Yuck!  This started at work (~1 pm), I had to go home, get the kids dinner, take them to choir practice and get them ready for bed.  At 8:30, when my husband finally got home, I took the meds that I couldn't take earlier (make me sleepy) turned off the lights and went to sleep.

So, I understand that you can have an aura w/o the headache, but wouldn't the aura be the same, or generally the same?  I truly want to know what's wrong with me and if it is migraine, I want to address it properly.  Is it possible to have worsening auras that just last?  

My other sx (that don't go away and were found by neuro on exam) are:
trouble walking heel to toe
balance and coordination issues
hyper-reflexia, worse on left side of body
clonus in left ankle
slight weakness in fingers
some loss of sensation on left foot
over developed manibular muscles on the left side, can't fully open my mouth

Signs that don't go away (reported to neuro by me):
trigeminal neuralgia, bilateral, much worse on left
occipital neuralgia
tingling/pins and needles in left arm, left leg (very first sx, 7 years ago)
cognitive issues (trouble finding words, misplacing one word with another, difficulty making decisions, like whether to stop at a yellow light...)

Over the years I've also had other things "dx" by other drs:
lung function tests showed "poor neuro-muscular control, or pt not trying" (guess whether I was trying or not!)
inflamation in the cartiledge of my rib cage (at ER for chest pain, felt like I was being sqeezed/sat on by an elephant)

Other things have come and gone:
action tremor
bug crawling on skin feeling
loss of sensation in other places

I guess even to me it doesn't seem possible that migraine is doing all this...  I just don't understand what's going on.  If I had lesions on my MRI then I think I'd have a dx.  I'm going for a 3T soon, but I'm so concerned about the "what next" if it's clear.  But honestly, could this be migraine?  Also, if it was, would migraine meds help?  Is it worth a trial of migraine meds (preventative, I mean).

Sorry for the long windedness of this.  I was originally going ot post saying I'm sure it's not migraine because I just had a good reminder of what a "real" migraine is like for me, but then I started questioning myself.

3 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
987762 tn?1331027953
Take one step at a time, dont worry about 'what next' until you get there, if you get there.

It might be worth giving migraine meds a trial, one thing for sure is if it doesn't help, you'll be able to rule out migraine as the culprit :-)

Helpful - 0
410281 tn?1254229064
I feel your pain, my dear. I have yet to get anything but a migraine dx and I don't even get classic migraines, but had chronic headaches for a long time which are gone now.

I have the same question about aura, which I recently posted on another thread.  I have a kind of on going aura.  It's there every day, all the time. I notice it more when I go outside for some reason. It's spiderwebish most of the time but I also get big grey "blind spots" and floating black dots. I've also had the "classic" firefly effect and bright lines, which I think is why I get stuck with migraine dx - plus there is a family history.

I agree with JJ - one step at a time. I hope you have better luck getting over this one than me. Try the migraine meds. I'm trying a new one now, and have tried many with no luck, but maybe you'll have luck!

Helpful - 0
995282 tn?1254707226
I got the runaround with the migraine dx for a while and have managed to get back to "we have no idea what is wrong with you."

When the neuro suggested migraine, I opted to try medication to see if it would help my symptoms.  There are 3 main choices in medication:
Inderal (beta blocker)
Amitriptyline (SSRI)
Topamax (anti-seizure)

All of these are used "off label" for migraine.  I opted to try the Inderal as my blood pressure is boderline anyway; needless to say it didn't work but it did get the neuro off of the migraine train.

I do get migraines but do not get classic migraines w/ aura.  No history of classic migraines makes migraine a less likely cause of neurological symptoms.  Also, it is possible for aura symptoms to last for up to a week in a condition called "prolonged aura."  Aura lasting longer than one week is highly unusual, therefore if you have symptoms that last longer than a week at a time it is even more unlikely that it is being caused by migraine (or aura without migraine).

I would be wary of the migraine dx, especially with the list of symptoms you have listed since migraine generally doesn't affect the entire body.   But, as several of my docs have said, "Migraines can cause some really weird stuff."

Hope this helps and good luck!
Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Multiple Sclerosis Community

Top Neurology Answerers
987762 tn?1331027953
5265383 tn?1483808356
1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
1780921 tn?1499301793
Queen Creek, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease