A basilar migraine is a rather severe type of migraine headache that has often been misunderstood. The main distinguishing features of a basilar migraine are the aura symptoms that sufferers experience. Visual distortions, among other symptoms, usually precede a basilar type migraine. Because basilar migraines are different than other migraine headaches, treatment for them differs as well.
Although it used to be believed that an adolescent girl was the most likely candidate for basilar migraines, it is now thought that these types of migraines affect men and women equally. Research has proven that unlike other migraine disorders, the basilar migraine does not affect females more than males.
Another misconception about the basilar type migraine is that the cause lies in the basilar artery. When migraines were first researched, it was thought that they were due to contracted arteries, making the brain suffer from oxygen loss. Now that migraines are believed to be more of a neurological disorder, what was called a basilar artery migraine is now often called a basilar type migraine.
Basilar Migraine Symptoms
Basilar migraine symptoms are often strange and frightening. They differ in many ways from other migraines. Basilar migraine aura symptoms include:
Visual distortions, preceding and/or during the headache that may include:
- flashing lights
- blurred vision
- jagged lines, circles or squares in the field of vision
- objects may appear to be closer or farther away than they really are
- Trouble finding the right word
- Slurred speech
- Smelling scents or odors that are not there
- Numbness/tingling in hands, feet or lips
- Euphoria or irritability
Aura symptoms usually precede the basilar migraine headache, but can occur during the headache as well. A person may have several aura symptoms at once or they can come one after the other. Aura usually lasts for 20-40 minutes before the headache begins and can serve as a warning.
The pain of basilar type migraine differs from typical migraine pain. It is located on the back of the head and on both sides of the head, rather than in just one temple.
Even though these basilar migraine symptoms seem very serious, they are really more scary than they are harmful. Even so, many of them can also indicate much more dangerous conditions, such as stroke or head injury. An MRI, EEG and/or other medical tests must be taken to rule them out.
Basilar Migraine Treatment
Medication is often prescribed to sufferers to lessen their pain and aura symptoms and may even avoid the basilar migraine altogether. Any changes in aura symptoms or patterns should be immediately discussed with a physician.
Thankfully, basilar migraine headaches are less common than other types of migraine headaches. The aura symptoms and severe pain are a hard combination for anyone to handle.
An attentive doctor will take them seriously and treat them accordingly. With the right treatment plans, many people have experienced relief from their basilar migraine headaches.
Always consult with your doctor or a certified professional trainer before undertaking any exercises, treatments, or dietary supplements.