Hemiplegic Migraines..Are They Dangerous or Not..

Hemiplegic migraines have stroke like symptoms.

If you've had migraine symptoms such as one sided numbness, loss of motor skills, and are dizzy headed, go to the ER. It may have been one of the sub-types of migraines. Or a stroke. Either way a specialist should be seen.

There are two types of hemiplegic migraines. These migraines are not often had. The first is called (FHM) which stands for familial hemiplegic headache or migraine. This migraine can be traced back through a family's history.

The second migraine is (SHM). This is called sporadic hemiplegic headache/migraine, and both have the same migraine symptoms but have one difference.

Research has found that (FHM) can be traced back to mutations of certain genes on chromosomes one, and nineteen, and some family members have suffered with this type of migraine.


And sporadic hemiplegic doesn't have the "I'll just say, messed up genes", or family members that have had this type of migraine attack.

I think my extended family has messed up genes, but that's another story for another day. Hope they don't read this.

The symptoms of sporadic hemiplegic, and familial hemiplegic migraine are the same.

Symptoms of hemiplegic migraines

  • Maybe paralysis on one side of the body.
  • Fever which could send up a red flag for meningitis. This is not found in the more common migraine types.
  • On and off aura (visual problems) for several days or longer
  • Range of consciousness could go from confusion to coma, so act quickly.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and photophobia can also be had.

Two things to remember if you suffer with hemiplegic migraines.

  • Find a very good headache specialist to give the right diagnose.
  • Have medical identification on you at all times.

If an attack hits one may not be able to:

  • Speak
  • May lose consciousness

Quick treatment, and also the right treatment for this migraine is essential. One should find a headache clinic to work with.


It may take a headache specialist to be able to let one know what happen. Through our experience one may be told they never had a stroke, but they may also have no idea what happen to you. We were told this after a two day hospital stay.

There are several types of migraines that are so close to hemiplegic migraines in their symptoms, a headache specialist will have to determine which one you suffer with. Some to read are basilar migraine, complicated migraine, migraine stroke, and now the hemiplegic migraine. These types of migraines can be difficult to diagnose. For instance the symptoms can be an indication of blood vessel disease.

Since the signs of stroke, epilepsy, and other conditions exist, a full neurological check up, plus other symptoms must be ruled out, to get to the bottom of the problem.


Treatment for hemiplegic migraines.

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is given."Use caution with these drugs because they are hard on the stomach, and you don't want a stomach ache, and a migraine". Or take aspirin or ibuprofen.

The first thing to remember is, if you've had these migraine symptoms, DON'T take triptans if a doctor prescribed them. Due to what's going on when an attack occurs one doesn't need the small amount of vasoconstriction effect that the triptans produce.

Criteria for these migraines.

For anyone that has hemiplegic headaches this description should fit. This is from the international headache society.

Migraine with aura including motor weakness, and where at least one first or second degree relative has migraine aura including motor weakness.


This is the criteria for familial hemiplegic migraines:

A At least two attacks fulfilling criteria B and E

B Fully reversible motor weakness, and at least one of the following other aura symptoms, visual, sensory, or speech disturbance.

C At least two of the following.

  • At least one aura symptom develops gradually over five minutes, and/or different symptoms occur in succession.
  • Each aura symptom last less than 24 hours.
  • Headache that meets criteria B to D for migraine without aura, and begins during the aura or follows aura within 60 minutes.

D. At least one first or second degree relative has migraine attacks with aura including motor weakness (fulfills 1,2,4, criteria A, B, C, and E

E. Not attributed to any other disorders.


Sporadic hemiplegic headache description

Migraine with aura including motor weakness, but no first or second degree relative has aura including motor weakness.

Diagnostic criteria:

A. At least two attacks fulfilling criteria B to D

B. Fully reversible motor weakness, and at least one of the following other aura symptoms, visual, sensory, or speech disturbances.

C. At least two of the following.

  • At least one aura symptom develops gradually over five minutes, and/or different symptoms occur in succession
  • Each aura symptom last less than 24 hours.
  • Headache that meets criteria B to D for migraine without aura, and begins during the aura or follows aura within 60 minutes

D. No first or second degree relative has migraine attacks with aura including motor weakness.

E. Not attributed to any other disorders.


Familial and sporadic hemiplegic migraine are rare conditions. There're no controlled studies on these types of migraines, and treatments are based on the small amount of people that have been seen, and case reports about them. The first description of these migraine attacks date back to the seventeenth century?

Thanks for reading, we hope this explained these headaches.

Get the right diagnose and treatment.

Our next page is about simple ways to help migraine pain. Our last page is info on migraines and stroke. Home page from hemiplegic migraine. Web site with more info.

New! Comments

Click the like button, or leave me a comment in the box below on Help for Migraines for headache sufferers..All the best...

For our Migrane sufferers that may want to seek additional help other than information, there's many products to choose from on Amazon to relieve that headache. You'll be surprised as to how many products are designed for headache relief, from medicine to pillows and so forth. 

Look at the products below and read the reviews. They are all sold on Amazon for  

migraine relief

Even pillows for migraines help tremendously when the pain originates from the neck area. Herbs and Vitamins such as the ones mentioned above are helpful for some sufferers. Most are very inexpensive, and you may find something that will work for your type of headache. All can be found by searching Amazons many headache products. 

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines
Flag Counter