National Migraine Centre
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Does migraine with aura cause left side weakness?

Hi there

I have been suffering from what I thought were hemiplegic migraines.

I booked a private appointment with a headache specialist that I could ill afford in an attempt to see if I could get a diagnosis.

After explaining my symptoms the doctor said it sounded like migraine with aura. So whilst I am grateful for that diagnosis I am confused. When I explained about my weakness which is not paralysis but quite bad weakness and a deep stiffness on my left side the doctor said it was sensory causing the weakness.

I have looked at the International headache society's criteria for migraine with aura and it is only sensory, pins and needles and numbness not weakness. Now if Hemiplegic migraine presents with paralysis and migraine with aura presents with sensory where does that leave people like me with weakness? I do get sensory symptoms aswell but I am unable to walk, lift my left arm as it is stiff and heavy. My chest also goes stiff and heavy and breathing and speaking is difficult.

The doctor is writing to my GP but I am worried that he will not understand the problems that I am having using my limbs during these attacks.

Also these episodes are definately happening at period and ovulation time but the doctor did not agree that this was the trigger. He did suggest that I could take the pill if I thought this was the case but I thought that it was not a good idea to take the pill with HM ( even though he did not diagnose HM). Is Hemiplegic migraine diagnosed in only paralysing weakness? What about milder weakness?

Thanks for any thoughts

CA x

7 Replies

Hi, I suffer from migraines, was diagnosed with post trauma headaches and migraines, basically the migraines started after a head injury I suffered from over 3 and a half years back, I'm not 100% sure if this is to do with the migraine or if it the brain damage I have, but when I have a really bad migraine, my knees try to buckle, last night I went football and I know I probably should have told the coach I can't head the football until I see my GP to get a definite yes or no to whether or not I can continue football, after the heading the ball practice, I was running and my left knee tried to buckle had to jump on my bruised possibly broken foot until I knew it would hold my weight because i would have been so embarrassed if I had of buckled on to the floor, this buckling of the knees only seems to happen when I have a really bad migraine.

This could be a result of the head/brain injury that happened to me, but it seems to only happen when my migraine gets too much for me to handle, obviously what happens to me is no where near as bad as what you suffer from and I've never had a definite answer as to why my knees buckle when my migraines get worse because it happens occasionally to the right knee but mainly my left knee.

I've tried googling what the neurologist diagnosed me with but I can't find anything on it, and even the neurologist doesn't even know when I will be migraine free if ever, according to him I could have them for the rest of my life (I have had severe headaches and migraines since my head injury) or they could just suddenly stop one day without warning (I'm hoping for that one)

I'm sorry I can't be of any more help, and I hope you find out the cause so you can get treatment that will help you and hopefully be migraine free in the future. :)


Hi there,

Thanks for replying. Sorry to hear that you are suffering too.

I think I know what you mean about the knees buckling. When I'm trying to walk and dragging my leg along, lol, my knees kind of buckle. It's like they are short circuiting. My Neuro said that since the migraine is doing something in the brain it's possible that signals are getting blocked.

It would be nice if these migraines just upped and left huh? Since mine appeared in my forties I am hoping they go after menopause. Fingers crossed.

I do think it might be a good idea to check with GP about heading the ball though- not sure I'd want to do that one :)

Thanks for the good wishes. Sending you some too :)


Hi. I have migraine with aura. I experience a similar kind of weakness which is all left sided. My symptoms are that my arm goes heavy and numb meaning I can't use it. It can also feel like other parts of my body are missing and my legs do ache and feel heavy. I also experience objects shrinking or getting bigger. Or the floor will suddenly slope away from me - as in a change in perspective. My neurologist hasn't been able to come up with a reason for these symptoms other than they can be part of migraine aura.

Has the neurologist suggested a preventated medication to try? They can be very good for migraine with aura.


Thanks for replying. Sorry to hear you experience this too. The neuro has recommended eating breakfast and high dose vitamin b2. Try this for three months. He seems to think it will eliminate them. I will try :)


Yes eating breakfast is very important. You shouldn't be skipping meals. You should also be drinking plenty throughout the day.

I tried taking vitamin b2. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. But you never know it might for you. Good luck! Give it a try :)


If you have not checked out Hughes Syndrome/APS then taking the pill would not be a good idea, I have also answered you under another of your posts. MaryF


I have mine mostly on the left. I had one very severe on the right once, I thought I was having a stroke. Quite nasty. The left-sided ones usually last for more than one day and progress quickly without taking any NSAID medications.


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