National Migraine Centre
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Migrainous strokes

Hi all. Ive just been diagnose by my gp with migrainous stroke, its the second time its happened this year... I normally suffer with migraine with aura and have done since i was 6 yrs old. Im now 31. Im waiting on a ct scan (just to check all is ok) and have been given asprin and tramoadol to take for the pain but as this knocks me out i have to suffer in the day as i have a child who is disabled. Ive had sumatriptan in the past but for some reason this hasnt worked this time. Any ideas on what i can do... Still in pain with this recent one and still weak from the tia... Worried for my health and of course my child who sees me like this as there would be no way he could an ambulance if i was to worsen. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

7 Replies

I'm sorry you're suffering. It sounds very scarey. But it's good that you'll be having a scan, and if they do confirm that you've been having little strokes they can put you on the correct medication for that, and hopefully try other things for the migraines.

Can you get in touch with your local council about getting some sort of alarm you wear round your neck or on your wrist that you could press if you were taken ill? Obviously, I don't know what's available where you live, but where we are there's a scheme like this. If you press the button it goes to a control centre, and if you're in a state where you can't speak they will send help to you. It's just a thought, and might take some of the worry away.

Hope you feel better soon.


Hello loops. Sorry to hear that you are suffering. I read your post and was pretty perplexed as its not something I had heard of before, so took it up with our Medical Director, Dr Giles Elrington. His response is below, I hope this clears up your confusion:

Migrainous stroke is very rare and it would be remarkably bad luck to have this twice in a year. With the greatest respect to your GP I suggest this is a matter for a specialist. If it really is a stroke it will show up on a CT scan i.e. the CT will not be OK! A person of 31 with any form of stroke should see a stroke specialist on the day of the attack and will usually need hospital admission. The symptoms of migraine aura are easily mistaken for stoke or transient ischaemic attacks (TIA). Stroke and TIA are relatively uncommon compared with migraine aura. I confess to wondering whether there may have bens me misunderstanding here – perhaps the scan is to consider an outside possibility of stroke? But, again, at 31 if there is even a small chance of stroke, this requires urgent specialist management.

Tramadol is not normally among the best treatments for migraine or headache.


Hughes Syndrome?


hi. thank you for your answers, i will bring all these up with my gp. the tramadol hasnt really worked to ease any pain but does help me sleep a little at night, i am kinda hoping that the symptoms are all part of the migraine.... still waiting on the ct scan to confirm or not confirm.

many thanks again for your help.


If your GP is lacking in specialist migraine knowledge, do come to see us. The number to call to book is 0207 251 3322. Maybe after you get the CT scan results back you should pay our doctors a visit for the next course of action?


Hi there... there is a very clear condition which links migraines and strokes together, often but not always diagnosed with a simple blood test! Some neurologists have never heard of it. This condition is APS, antiphospholipid syndrome... otherwise known as Hughes Syndrome - named after Professor Graham Hughes who discovered this disease at St Thomas' Hospital. You can get clear advise by contacting the Hughes Syndrome Foundation: we also have a forum on this platform. Many members have migraines and stokes! This disease is often called 'sticky blood' once the blood is thinned the migraines often get better and risk of stroke is significantly reduced. Mary F x


Migraines wear so many faces. I have had them since I was 13. Sometimes I have been really scared thinking that I was having a stroke, as the symptoms are so similar. I am now 67 and have never had a stroke. Sometimes I cannot talk straight or see straight. I cannot formulate words or sentences. I have auras sometimes and not other times. Sometimes I have all the pre migraine issues without the pain. Nothing has ever worked to ease the pain. The best I could hope for, like you, is that the drugs knock me out so I can sleep it off sometimes. Hang in there! You really need to see a good neurologist. Also some good support to help with your child to take some of the pressure off you. I also think the fear itself can produce a migraine. Could you go to some yoga classes? Good for stress and such. Hang in there you are not alone!!


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