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what are complex migrains

I had an incident at work where my right arm went numb, I had problem speaking for a few seconds and felt like I might faint.  I was in the hospital for 5 days undergoing stroke tests.  I was diagnosed with complex migrains and was told that it produces stroke symptoms.  What exactly, or as close as I can get, is a complex migraine, and how can I treat it without medication?

Related Topics: Migraine, Stroke, Arm, Lightheadedness

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

General Medicine
1,282 Answers
20,614 Helpful Votes
I'm sorry to hear you went through such a scary episode, but I'm glad it was a migraine and not a stroke!

"Complex migraine" is a term used to identify rare types of migraine headaches that have specific symptoms not usually associated with a common or classic migraine.

For example, a classic migraine usually starts with a visual disturbance (called an "aura"), and then proceeds to a painful headache.

A complex migraine may fall under one of these types:
  • Hemiplegic, which includes temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body (often mimicking a stroke)
  • Retinal, which includes loss of vision in one eye
  • Basilar artery, which usually affects young women and includes symptoms such as confusion and difficulty speaking
  • Ophthalmoplegic, which includes pain and paralysis of the muscles surrounding the eye
  • Status migrainosus, which is a severe migraine that lasts for days

It sounds like you may have experienced a hemiplegic migraine or a basilar artery migraine.

Just because you had one migraine doesn't mean it will ever happen again. That's the tricky thing about these headaches. Often, doctors will wait to treat a patient until they've had multiple migraines over a course of time. That may be why you were sent home without any treatment.

If you have any questions about your migraine experience, I suggest you follow up with your primary health care provider. He or she can help you understand what happened and if you need treatment.

Wishing you all the best!

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