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Hemiplegic Migraine Treatment

Updated on Sep 2, 2021 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Hemiplegic migraine headaches are rare and extremely powerful. They result from a gene mutation from your family or your embryonic development that changes how your brain sends and receives pain signals. To treat these headaches, you need to visit a headache specialist such as Dr. Amr Hosny of the Advanced Headache Center in one of eight New York City or northern New Jersey locations. Only a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating the various types of migraines and other headaches can accurately determine the cause of your headaches and effectively treat them. Call the nearest center today for a consultation.

What Is a Hemiplegic Migraine?

A hemiplegic migraine is a rare type of incapacitating headache associated with gene mutations. Genes play a critical function in producing proteins to enable nerve communication within your brain. Mutations can cause faulty signals. Doctors identify abnormal variations in some genes as one cause of migraine headaches among members of the same family. This type of migraine affects your life because its debilitating symptoms include:

  • Paralysis or severe weakness on one side of your body
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Throbbing pain
  • Disturbances in your speech and vision, such as auras
  • Sound and light sensitivity
  • Nausea

These symptoms mimic a stroke, so it’s not uncommon for you to be misdiagnosed if you don’t consult a migraine specialist. Dr. Amr Hosny is a board-certified and Harvard-trained migraine specialist at the Advanced Headache Center. With locations in New York City and Bergen County, New Jersey, this top headache center employs a multimodal approach to deliver the best migraine treatments.

Are There Different Types of Hemiplegic Migraines?

There are two types of hemiplegic headaches. Before any treatment can begin, Dr. Hosny carries out diagnostic tests to determine the type of migraine you’re suffering from. The diagnostic process includes a review of your medical history to discover if you have a history of these severe headaches and a family history to see if other members of your family suffer from similar headaches. If the doctor diagnoses you with hemiplegic migraines, you can have one of the two hemiplegic migraine types:

  • Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM). This is a type of hemiplegic migraine that runs in families. If two or more close relatives in your family get these headaches, you likely have FHM. On average, a parent who has FHM passes the disorder on to 50 percent of the children.
  • Sporadic hemiplegic migraine (SHM). If you suffer the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine, but there’s no history of these severe headaches in your family, yours is a case of sporadic hemiplegic migraine. Doctors point to sporadic gene mutation as a possible cause of hemiplegic migraines.

In FHM, one person developed the gene mutation and passed it on to the family. In SHM, the gene mutation just occurred. An early diagnosis for your migraines is critical to determine the type of your headaches. At the headache centers in Manhattan and Paramus, NJ, the team uses the latest medical technology for effective diagnosis, after which you receive the best and most appropriate migraine treatment. The medical team not only treats migraines but other primary headaches, as well as secondary headaches.

What Triggers My Hemiplegic Migraine?

Migraine triggers are the external factors that cause a migraine episode, which usually progresses through specific stages. These triggers occur external to your body, but they create a ripple effect inside your brain that leads to a migraine attack. Hemiplegic migraine triggers include:

  • Food, such as processed foods, aged cheeses, salty foods, and the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Weather changes
  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Strong odors
  • Bright lights
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Physical exertion
  • Stress
  • Minor head trauma
  • intense emotions

By learning what your triggers are, you can take steps to avoid them. Keeping a headache journal is one way to narrow down your triggers, but a visit with a headache specialist helps you come to grips with your condition. Dr. Hosny delivers the best hemiplegic migraine treatment from his state-of-the-art offices.

How Are Hemiplegic Migraines Treated?

Treatment for hemiplegic migraine starts with extensive diagnostics that may include a CT scan, an MRI, an echocardiogram, or an electroencephalogram to measure the electrical activity in your brain. Gene testing may be necessary if your family has a history of migraines and you want a firm FHM diagnosis. Effective treatments include:

  • Preventive migraine medications are controlled in a rational polypharmacy manner to avoid addiction issues.
  • Medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics, triptans, ergotamines, tricyclic beta-blockers, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and anti-seizure medication
  • Intravenous infusions that deliver nutrients, anesthetics, and painkilling medication directly into your bloodstream for faster relief

Dr. Hosny uses an individualized treatment plan based on your diagnosis for the most effective results. He looks beyond the traditional treatments to provide you with alternative and integrative treatments for headache and migraine pain relief whenever possible. If you notice the warning signs of hemiplegic migraines, consult your doctor immediately. Contact the headache specialists at any of the eight locations in NYC and NJ to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 419-3105