National Migraine Centre
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Migraine - Blood Vessel Spasm

Hi, I am new to this website but have read such great things. I've been having stroke like symptoms on and off for 12 months and after various investigations during that time its thought my problem is Migrainous, my blood vessels go into spasm. I started taking Propranalol a week ago but it is making me feel dreadful, I feel like a zombie! My symptoms have subsided a little but not totally. Does anyone else have experience of Propranalol? I'd like to stop taking it but a Pharmacist I spoke to this morning said I cannot just stop it and my doctor is away on holiday until next week. Also, does anyone suffer from Blood Vessel spasm? Many thanks.

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I'm on propranolol 80mg slow release and they have really helped my migraines, I was on 40mg twice a day and felt faint with that so doctor changed to the one a day 80mg slow release which is much better. Unfortunately I have just started taking HRT due to forced surgical menopause and migraines have started again but not as bad, so might see what doc says about that.


That's really helpful, thankyou.


One theory with migraines is that they are caused by muscle spasms. For me, in a bad migraine, the worst ones are actually in my gut - totally uncontrollable and so violent that I have to be sitting on the loo when one hits. A lot of migraine medications (the triptans for instance) are actually vaso-constrictors (ie make muscles contract) as this seems to be one way of stopping the spasms.

However, I'm not an expert just suffered for long enough and had one doctor I saw who was brilliantly honest about how little was actually understood.

I was on propranolol for a while - not because of the migraines but because of hypertension - and did notice that that helped with the migraines - but for me the effect was noticeable but not significant and I had to stop taking the propranolol for some reason and don't remember the details now - was a very long time ago.

One thing that really helped me was taking up running - always done a lot of cycling but running really did seem to cut down the length and severity of the attacks.

Since then I've discovered that I have a B12 Deficiency ... and in the period when that was getting bad the migraines did start to increase in length and severity but it has improved since I started treatment. B12 deficiency can result in weakened muscles and spasms and migraine like headaches are one symptom. It isn't a thing that is generally tested for. It tends to get more prevalent as you get older because changes in the acidity levels in your gut start to affect the efficiency of the mechanisms that enable you to absorb B12. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control - US equivalent of UK NICE) 1 in 31 of the population over 51 are affected by B12 deficiency. It may not be related but I just mention it in case you want to investigate further.

Symptoms checklist can be found here, just in case anything else strikes a bell.


It is a serious condition but most GPs aren't very aware of it and tend not to understand it very well. It can progress and go undiagnosed for years as a result - not least because symptoms overlap with lots of other conditions but, like diabetes, it is treatable.

Pernicious Anaemia is one cause of B12 deficiency - an autoimmune response - which just attacks and destroys the mechanisms that enable you to absorb B12 and can affect people at any age.


That's really helpful, thankyou.


I started taking a calcium channel blocker for Raynaud's and my migraines disappeared! I was told I couldn't take propanolol because of my Raynaud's. I also can't take Triptan for this reason.

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Hi Hemipligetic Migraine and Hughes Syndrome/APS are very similar, if the stroke like symptoms continue your GP could do a test for Hughes Syndrome just to rule it out: Unfortunately GP's and in particular neurologists can miss this condition! MaryF



I recently eperienced this mini stroke like experience and it scared the life out of me !! I've never experienced anything like it before though it lasted only a few minutes ! When I saw my Gp he calmly and matter of factly told me it was simply a migraine!!, I have since looked it up on the internet and it seems it was this hempligic migraine which I've never heard of before !, I am now suffering with Very sore and painful neck pain mainly to the left of me which I've had now for a few weeks .. My GP has appointed me to see a neurologist and mentioned Botox.. My medication history consists of being propanol for a few years only side effect I had was extreme tiredness.. And a very cold feeling to very painful feeling in my breasts.!! I have also taken topiramate which was no good I couldn't function on that and now on neurontin which seem to be ok at the min though pain is and can be still very severe at times.. My headaches and migraine seem to have gone for the time being and now just have this neck pain .. No migraine/ headache for 2 days so far this month so doing well. :/


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