Hemiplegic migraines & back pain

Written by taylor divico
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Hemiplegic migraines & back pain
Hemiplegic migraines can cause throbbing pain, aura and temporary paralysis. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jacob Bøtter)

Hemiplegic migraines are hereditary, typically beginning in childhood or adolescence and spanning throughout adulthood. There are three types of familial hemiplegic migraines, known as FHM1, FHM2 and FHM3. Each form results from an imbalance in ions and neurons, affecting neurotransmitters in the brain due to three potential gene mutations appearing on chromosomes 1, 2 or 19. Back pain is a potential side effect of hemiplegic migraines.

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Identification

Migraine episodes can begin randomly, lasting anywhere from two to three days to 6 months, returning cyclically or suddenly. Hemiplegic migraines are generally accompanied by aura at the onset of the headache. Symptoms of aura affect vision, causing light sensitivity, blurry vision, hallucinations, eye droopiness and involuntary eye movement. Hemiplegic migraines can result in facial pressure, throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting and tension, with neurological symptoms of slurred speech, disorientation, mood changes, dizziness and lack of coordination ensuing.

Effects

Hemiplegic migraines are often accompanied by symptoms of full or partial paralysis on one side of the body referred to as hemiplegia, mimicking stroke-like symptoms. Hemiparesis is another condition of hemiplegic migraines leading to weakness on one side of the body, resulting in overcompensation on the unaffected side, rigidity and spasticity due to muscles tightening and contracting. Back, neck and limb pain may be experienced after a hemiplegic migraine that was accompanied by neurological symptoms of hemiplegia or hemiparesis.

Features

According to Psychology Today, chiropractors believe that misalignment or subluxation of the spine may cause nerves to become irritated and swollen in the back and neck, putting pressure on nerves that lead to the brain and causing migraines due to inflammation. Hemiplegic migraines with aura, in particular, may put more pressure on the neck and back due to poor posture from straining or squinting, as aura creates impaired vision. Neurologists believe that migraines result from inflammation due to blood vessel expansion, decreased serotonin levels and hormonal imbalances.

Considerations

Menstrual hemiplegic migraines occur before, during or after menstruation due to hormonal fluctuations of oestrogen and progesterone. Hemiplegic menstrual migraines may be experienced in combination with other symptoms such as bloating, irritability, nausea and back pain. Pre-menstrual (PMS) lower back pain may be dull or acute and is the result of water retention that leads to inflammation. Menstrual back pain becomes pronounced with symptoms of hemiparesis, putting additional stress on the back nerves due to changes in normal gait.

Prevention/Solution

Hemiplegic migraines typically follow symptoms of aura within a half hour. Individuals suffering from migraines can try to prevent the onset by taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling of the nerves. Anti-inflammatory medicines can assist migraine and back pain in some people and are ineffective in others. Chronic migraine sufferers benefit from consulting with a neurologist for diagnosis and treatment through hormone therapy, beta blockers, antidepressants, pain relievers and preventive measures that defend against migraine triggers.

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