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Complex Migraines or Seizures?

Hello,

I had a car accident last year, suffered a severe concussion with physical injuries to neck, shoulder and back.

Since then always had cognitive problems and severe headaches for several months, headaches stopped until a few months ago and now I get them sometimes, not always.

Last year I started having spells where my brain feels like it "shifts" and everything slows down, my thinking is off, don't always get a headache with these spells.

I am also losing time, I can do something then suddenly realize I did it but have no memory of doing it at all. Have also had electricity feelings in my arms and twitching fingers, none of these spells lasts for more than a few mins. I can walk in somewhere which should be very familiar then here comes the brain shift and everything is unfamiliar and my brain feels shut down.

One episode sent me to the ER last year with a brain shift, tingling arms and twitching fingers and in the ER it happened again and I started shouting the same words over and over and could not stop for a minute or so then it passed.

The other night I suddenly got a terrible headache and my head fell forward, it felt like I was almost asleep but kept thinking I can't speak over and over and wanted to shout out, then I looked up at my daughter who said I was looking weirdly at her, then it all passed and I felt normal again.

One Dr said it sounds like seizures but another said it's complex migraines.

A brain MRA shows at least 7 subcortical white matter lesions and 50% stenosis of the ICA in my neck but was told this is not what's causing these episodes.

Sorry this is so long but am wondering if anyone has these symptoms?? do you have the twitching fingers?

Thank you for any help/advice

  1. Hi Tilly,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your motor vehicle accident last year. Migraine symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of the symptoms you describe are not typical of migraine. That doesn't mean that can't be, just a bit unusual.

    Complex migraine is not really a diagnosis according to the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders -III, beta or ICHD-III beta, but more of a descriptive term. Complex migraine may be migraine with aura or you may have some other condition. Let me share this with you on complex migraine; https://migraine.com/blog/complex-complicated-migraine/.

    Seeing as there is some conversation about a seizure disorder, will you be having an EEG soon? And EEG or electroencephalogram which measures brain activity. If your doctor has not suggested this, you may want to discuss it with him.

    I would encourage you to seek out the opinion of an expert who eats, sleeps and breathes migraine and headache disorders, a migraine/headache disorder specialist. These expert doctors differ from neurologists in that they have extra board certification in headache medicine whereas most neurologists do not. And it's difficult for neurologists to be experts in one area because they treat so many different conditions like multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's and others. Here is information on what makes these doctors so special and how to find one; https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    Please keep us posted,
    Nancy

    1. I have very similar symptoms to what you describe except that I will lose my vision in one or both eyes and right before my speech gets really slurred. I twitch in my hands and sometimes my feet. A couple of times I had tremors in my whole body but I was fully aware - just couldn't move or do anything about it.

      My head goes forward even if I am lying down when it happens. It often feels like my body wants to follow if that makes sense.

      I have been in the trauma unit of the ER more times than I can count because my "events" have been mistaken for stroke.

      I had several neurologists and doctors tell me that I was not having seizures, then a neurologist I saw when I lived in DC told me it was seizure activity. He told me that many seizures have an aura just like migraines do. And just like migraines, many people confuse the aura with the ictus (the actual seizure).

      Fast forward ten years and I wound up in the ER, the trauma unit (again) because they thought I was having a stroke (again) They were fortunate enough to capture the actual episode on my EEG this time and saw what was going on.

      They called it “seizure activity” and kept me in critical care. That was loads of fun.

      I don’t have medication right now either. I am managing my diet and other triggers like lifestyle and stress.

      If you are having migraines, you can talk to your doctor about medications. You might need to see a headache specialist. This article has a link to a database and some good information. I used it to find my migraine doctor.

      https://www.axonoptics.com/do-i-need-migraine-specialist/

      If light is a problem, I highly recommend migraine glasses. They changed my world.

      I hope you are able to get to the bottom on your issue and can get some help.

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