A severe migraine isn’t just a headache. A true migraine emergency can lead to life-threatening complications — especially if the migraine is not diagnosed or treated aggressively. Most people with migraines get so used to tolerating their pain that they forget how dangerous the condition is.
(RELATED: Extreme Cold Linked to Migraines)
The truth is a severe migraine CAN kill. Although rare, here are 4 dangerous migraine complications.
- Status migrainosus
- Migrainous infarction
- Persistent aura without infarction
- Migraine aura-triggered infarction
Any migraine attack that lasts longer than 72 hours should be evaluated by a doctor. Even if you are able to sleep through the attack or get temporary relief from taking medication, you still need to get it checked out. Doctors will want to rule out stroke and administer treatments to break the cycle.
(RELATED: Could Dehydration Be Causing Your Headaches?)
Persistent aura without infarction
Anytime you have an aura that lasts for 1 week, you should be examined by a pain management specialist. Again, your doctor should rule out stroke before giving this diagnosis. On rare occasions, persistent aura without infarction can last for years.
This appears like a typical migraine with aura except that the aura lasts for longer than 60 minutes. When tested, an MRI or CT scan will show evidence of a stroke. This is distinct from the increased risk of stroke in younger patients (under 30) with migraine with aura.
Migraine aura-triggered seizure
This is a seizure that is triggered by a migraine attack and typically occurs within the first hour during or after a migraine attack. Patients with epilepsy often experience migraine-like headaches just as the seizure is ending. When a seizure follows a migraine attack, is it commonly referred to as “migralepsy”, although the more accurate diagnosis is migraine aura-triggered seizure.
Of the four complications of migraine, only status migrainosus is seen in patients with migraine without aura. The other three are only seen in migraine with aura. Since none can be accurately diagnosed without at CT scan or MRI and time may be critical, the ER is best equipped to determine the level of your emergency, rule out life-threatening issues, and provide the right recommendations for treatment.
Remember: If you do end up in the ER with these migraine emergency symptoms, it is critical that you (or your caregiver) be able to clearly explain the symptoms that you are experiencing so that you get fast response to either rule out problems or get emergency treatment right away.
Headache and Migraine Treatment in Pasadena CA
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.