Migraine or Mini-Stroke?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/10/2010 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
My mom has been suffering some pretty scary attacks lately and the doctors and nurses refer to it as a Complex Migraine. However, as I've researched her symptoms I am finding that she could of suffered a mini-stroke, also known as a TIA and am wondering if anyone has had a similar experience?

She woke up on Thursday with what she thought was a Sinus headache and took some Mucinex. Went to work and the headache got worse and she became dizzy. Laid down and eventually had her boss bring her home. When she got home and they got her out of the car she collapsed and when she came to she could not speak. It took her about a minute or two to get out one word. They called 911 because they thought she was having a stroke. While in the ER all the tests were done and were negative for stroke and everything looked good. She continued to be unable to speak, was dizzy and starting to pass out several times. After getting some medication in her, the speech slowly came back but was slurred and about 5 hours later she was completely back to normal with just a dull headache.

They kept in her the hospital for two days. On day three they allowed her to go home because she told them her headache was gone. We have now learned that she lied to them because she wanted to go home so badly! So that night we were eating dinner and she had another attack. This time the pain was in a different part of her head and caused slurred speech, numbness in her fingers and she passed out when the EMT's were getting her on the stretcher. While at the ER she also had twitching of the eyes for a brief period of time.

When at the hospital they did not run tests again but treated it as the same - a Complex Migraine. They gave her Imitrex in the form of a shot which seemed to help and within two hours her speech was back and the pain was better. They ended up sending her home that night. However, after speaking with her this morning I found out she had yet another attack last night when she was home and immediately took the Imitrex and it seemed to help. She still has the headache and does not feel well. She has had the headache for 4 days now.

Not a single doctor or nurse has said the term mini-stroke or TIA. It has been considered a Complex Migraine. I am worried that she is in fact suffering these mini-strokes which are warning signs that a full stroke is to come. Has anyone had a similar experience and do you know how to determine the difference between the two? From what I have read the two are very similar and migraines can often be mistaken for a TIA. Please help!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 10/10/2010 1:31 PM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to Healing well. Sorry to hear that your Mum has been going through all this. I am not a Doc so can only express an opinion. I think your Mum needs to see a Neurologist who is a Headache Specialist as this sounds quite complex.

I would say that if she had experienced a TIA it would have shown up in tests and the Imitrex would not necessarily have worked. Please see a specialist.

take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

DX: Hemicrania Continua, Chronic Migraine, IBS, Allergic Rhinitis and Heart Murmur

Meds: Imigran Injections, High Flow Oxygen, Mebeverine, Lansoprazole, Nasonex and Clarityn

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 10/10/2010 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   

I would definitely pursue an MRI, etc if not done already.  I would test for blood clots, full panel, etc.

I would say they are symptoms of severe headaches and some types of migraine, but I think you definitely need to do all the tests and rule everything else out before making that conclusion due to the severity.  Does she take any different meds, increase in dosage, or otc products, or did she smack her head recently?  Many questions have to be answered to rule out the different problems it could be.

I know that I am very sensitive to all medications and I can get terrible headaches and problems from medications.  I have eye twitching but I don't know if its a reaction to the medicines that I take or if it's anxiety, etc.  I would say you need to walk through the tests with a good neuro and then make a call.  I know sometimes they can't tell if there was a stroke if it was small enough and depending on where it occurred.  There could be a thyroid imbalance.

The other thing she may want to try, since the triptans are working, is a longer acting triptan like Maxalt or Frovatriptan.  Frova is the newest and the longest acting triptan and may provide the best relief.  Imitrex is generic, but it is very old and I find it to not be as good as some of the newer triptans.  But every person is different so it may or may not work.  The other thing that might help is Lyrica.  Works very well with nerve pain.  The pain could be causing all of her other symptoms, like light-headedness, tiredness, dizziness, nausea because of higher blood pressure, etc.  Relieving the pain may help remove some of the symptoms and also assist in proper diagnosis.

Hope this helps.  Provide more information as far as symptoms and further background if you want more of an analysis.  Really hard to do with the limited information.  Anything can cause headaches, smoking, eating bacon, drinking wine, etc.

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