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Diagnosis of Migraine & Headache Types

Silent Migraine, complex migraine or something else?

  • By littlelady

    Hello, Im new here.
    I had my first migraine aged 11. Suddenly my whole visual field went crazy and I couldn’t see anything properly – zigzags and blind spots and all those crazy things. This was followed by intense pain for several days and painkillers didn’t seem to help. I had this kind of migraine extremely rarly, really only about once or twice a year. In my late teens early 20s they stopped for several years and then they started again mid 20s. The visual aura was increasingly accompanied by the signs such as not being able to speak properly or find words, one-sided numbness and tingling in my lip and hand and feeling sick and dizzy. In the meantime since years now when I take 1g of paracetamol as soon as I notice the visual signs I have no headache pain whatsoever (!!) only the full combination of neurological symptoms including the most crazy visual disturbances, sickness one-sided numbness tingling, not being able to speak properly and such things. Since I dont have any headache pain anymore it seems that this is what is called a silent migraine although I don’t know how it would be like if I didn’t immediately take the 1g of paracetamol – it almost feels as though I’m having a mini stroke except that I’m so used to it. This type of silent migraine or whatever we shall call it only happens to me about once or twice a year though it’s rather scary when it does happen. Anyway I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this, what type of migraine it is or if it is part of something completely different. Would really be interested to hear your thoughts. Im female and 44 by the way. Best wishes to all 🙂

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi littlelady,

    Thank you so much for writing in. Some of the symptoms you describe can be associated with migraine with aura and/or silent migraine. Take a look at these articles for more information on these types of migraine; https://migraine.com/faqs/what-are-the-different-types-of-migraine-aura/ and https://migraine.com/blog/first-known-silent-migraine-episode/.

    It’s important to have an accurate diagnosis as this will allow you to get the proper treatment and learn about our particular type of migraine and/or headache disorder. To get an accurate diagnosis the doctor will give you a complete neurological exam, discuss your symptoms, and review you and your family’s medical history. Let me share information on diagnosis with you in this article; https://migraine.com/blog/diagnosing-migraine/.

    I hope this helps,
    Nancy

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  • By littlelady

    Dear Nancy,

    Thanks for your speedy reply. I will take a look at all the links you sent. I had a neurological examination not long ago because of some other neuro symptoms i had and all was fine – i just have very lively reflexes. Im just puzzled I no longer have pain (after 1g of paracetamol) only the neuroligical deficits. When i was younger pain meds didnt help at all. Im curious if others have symptoms like mine. I guess im lucky i dont have these migraines too often.

    Best wishes

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi littlelady,

      I’m sorry I didn’t mention this in my answer – paracetamol is your country’s version of our acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. It can sometimes help with pain, but doesn’t get rid of the neurological symptoms of a migraine attack.
      The only medications that stop the migraine process are called abortives and include triptans and ergotamines. Can you stand another link? Here is one on these abortive medications; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-5-abortive-treatment/.

      Again, keep us posted!

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  • By Eileen

    Hello, Im new here.
    I don’t know where to begin! To start I have not been given any diagnosis yet I go to
    see my GP on Wednesday for referral to a neurologist for MRI she may also give me medication as I have been to her recently with so many various symptoms thinking it was the antidepressant I was on but on describing my symptoms such as zigzag lines, cold hands an feet, dizzy, tightness in my head neck pain, •Difficulty concentrating,•Diarrhoea – constipation,•Mood changes,•Numbness, tingling in arms and face, the list is endless and I am at my wits end, The GP thinks this all sounds like silent migraines also my youngest daughter was diagnosed with silent migraines last year and on telling her my symptoms she also thinks I may have this, I cant really say how long I have had some if not all these terrible symptoms but it has came to a head in the last 8weeks how I coped till now …As I was thinking it was side effects from my antidepressant but my GP took me of them and I still suffered all the above!!! I just cant wait to get this terrible debilitating disease sorted out I am so grateful on finding this site it has been so enlightening and settled my mind as to what I may possibly have and learn to live with. I will keep you updated re medication etc.
    Sorry for going on but I am just so relieved that on finding the cause of my symptoms I can now get help and advice to cope with it. God Bless you all Love Eileen XxX

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Eileen,
    I’m glad you found this site! We try to help as much as we can and give you tools to help you through Migraines. Your symptoms do sound like Classic Migraines, which are different than Silent Migraines. With Silent Migraines (the scientific term is actually Retinal or Acephalagic) you experience an aura, like the zigzags you described, but you don’t ever get the headache. Here’s some info on these types of Migraines:
    https://migraine.com/blog/those-ocular-optical-and-ophthalmic-migraines/

    During a Classic Migraine, you see the same Aura, but get horrible head pain and can have most of the side effects you described.
    https://migraine.com/migraine-types/migraine-with-aura/

    Whatever final diagnosis your doctor gives you, there are things you can do to help your doctor find the right treatment plan for you and to help you find out what triggers your Migraines.

    Here is an extensive list of options to treat your Migraines. Everyone reacts differently, so it could take a lot of trial and error before you find what works best for you. So be patient.
    https://migraine.com/pro/preventative-treatment-for-migraine-overview-and-approach/

    Also, you can keep a Migraine Journal to give to your neurologist at your appointment. The Migraine Meter here on our site can collect data that may help identify what is triggering your headaches. And it’s printable, so you can give it to your doctor.
    https://migraine.com/migraine-meter/

    I’ve given you a lot of info to digest, so please feel free to ask questions. We want you to understand the disease and manage it to the best of your ability!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Eileen

    Thankyou Katie for your reply lots of great information. I have seen my GP and she has put me on medication called Pizotifen 0.5mg I took them for about one week with slight improvement in my many symptoms. I returned to update her and she increased the dose to 1mg per day, That was about one week ago and I can only say amazing change I have little or no symptoms I feel I am returning to normality thank God. I am doing my best to keep an eye on anything that may trigger the Migraine symptoms. I find that if I let myself get stressed can be a big factor so I try to plan my day at an easy pace and not over do things. I am still waiting on MRI I will keep you updated. I am very grateful for your help. And I hope and pray All those suffering will find the help and support they need. God Bless xx

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Eileen,
    I hope you are still feeling better with the increased meds. I’m so happy to hear that the Pizotifen is helping you. If your symptoms ever worsen, you may want to consider seeing a neurologist or Headache Specialist who can guide you through other treatment options and medications that your GP isn’t familiar with. Here’s some info about these tupes of doctors:
    https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/

    I’m sure your MRI will come out just fine (- dYIDon’t be disappointed if it comes back “normal”, Migraines don’t show up on MRIs). So a clean one means that nothing else bad is going on in there!
    Best Wishes to You!
    -Katie

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