Not everyone realizes that there are many different forms of migraines. One of these is the hemiplegic migraine in which a sufferer experiences temporary paralysis in a specific body part. These symptoms can last for anything up to an hour before the actual headache itself sets in.
The hemiplegic migraine is considered to be one of the more serious ones although it is highly rare. Treatment becomes quite urgent after multiple migraine attacks have occurred.
The symptoms of the hemiplegic migraine can be bought about by a small head injury. These symptoms include paralysis in a certain body part followed by numbness and pins and needles sensations. Headaches generally go away when the paralysis sets in.
Weaknesses on one side of the body, specifically the limbs or the face may also be experienced, this weakness being followed up by headaches that can last for several hours of even some days. A difficulty to speak may also occur.
Hemiplegic migraines come into two types; the familial (FHM) migraine or the sporadic (SHM) migraine.
The FHM migraine has been identified within chromosomes of nineteen genes and these migraine attacks may last up to three days. These migraines are inherited from parents, uncles and aunts.
Sequence analysis techniques are generally used to find out the triggers of these types of migraines. Around half of families that suffer from FHM possess an identical mutation in their genes.
Research in Denmark has revealed that out of forty-four families there were 147 sufferers of FHM. These patients reported suffering various aura symptoms including sensory, visual and motor problems. About two thirds of the population experiences basilar symptoms such as vertigo, vomiting and nausea. Almost everyone experiencing an FHM attack experiences headaches.
Sporadic hemiplegic migraines (SHM) are not inherited and have no genetic connection. These types of migraine attacks lead to various weaknesses which are called hemiparesis.
As with the FHM type of migraines, SHM migraines begin in childhood and eventually disappear in adulthood. Diagnosing between the two different types of hemiplegic migraines is not easy since the symptoms are generally the same.
In spite of the general symptoms for both FHM and SHM migraines being the same, there are distinct symptoms which can vary amongst different people. Known symptoms include fever, bad muscular coordination, hemiplegia, meningitis-like symptoms, confusion, coma, unconsciousness, vertigo, vomiting, nausea, weaknesses in various areas of the body and even strokes.
Once diagnosed with either an FHM or SHM migraine the problem needs to be treated with the correct medications. Any medications should be authorized by the doctor so to avoid any complications or side effects. Medications that may be prescribed for other migraines like triptans and ergotamines are not prescribed for any type of hemiplegic migraines.
Treating migraines can be very hard but there are various options out there to help patients suffering from hemiplegic migraines. These include abortive and preventative treatments.
Preventative treatments include calcium channel blockers like flunarizine and verapamil but can only be prescribed by a doctor.
Abortive treatments help to relieve pain and these include antiemetics and narcotic analgesics.
They should be taken at the onset of any migraine symptoms. It is important to remember however, that certain types of abortive treatments such as triptans may lead to severe side effects including even a stroke.
Sufferers of hemiplegic migraines should keep a diary of any symptoms and pain they experience so that they can get the specific treatment that they need.
Any treatment is a gradual process and only begins after a careful diagnosis is carried out by the doctor including a study into the medical history of the patient’s family.
Buying over-the-counter drugs are not advised for treating these migraines in the longer term since they can only bring temporary relief and do not solve the root cause of the problem.