Basilar migraine, or basilar artery headache as it is sometimes known, is a rare type of headache that can cause frightening symptoms. This pain is different from regular migraines. The pain is often severe and throbbing at the back of your head. It can be accompanied by severe vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning), difficulty moving, and most often, visual disturbances.
What does visual disturbances mean? Visible disturbances can be anything from blurry vision and blindness. The problem is caused by the basilar artery located in the back. This artery supplies blood and oxygen to the area of the brain that houses the visual centers. Other symptoms of migraine headaches include nausea, vomiting, and hearing and seeing problems.
Other symptoms include jerking movements in the eyes, ringing ears, and loss of consciousness. Severe vertigo can be quite serious and can cause permanent disability. Why is this so serious? Basilar migraines can increase your risk of stroke.
(An in-pouching of an artery) can occur in this area. Aneurysms can be caught early and are usually followed by more imaging, such as a CT angiogram. This gives you a better view of the area. It is recommended that you “clip” it once it reaches a certain size. The limit for cerebral aneurysms is usually 10mm, although some surgeons will perform the procedure on a smaller patient if there are neurological symptoms.
Basilar Migraine Testing
If you have symptoms of basilar migraine, a doctor will likely perform a thorough examination to rule out stroke. Most likely, this will include a CT or MRI of the brain and possibly an MRA to examine the arteries. This would not only detect a stroke, but also an aneurysm. If necessary, a complete examination should be done. This includes testing for vertigo (if needed) and hearing. An EEG is required if the doctor is concerned about seizures.
They can sometimes present with headaches and vertigo. This is a study to examine the electrical waves in your brain. It involves wearing scalp electrodes and having your hair messed up. Treatment After a stroke is ruled out, it’s pretty straightforward. If the headache is severe and lasts more than a few days per month, you will need to continue with daily therapy for a while, maybe a few months or a year.
Most migraine sufferers are familiar with many preventative medications, but verapamil is the best choice. It can be taken one to two times a day. A beta-blocker like Inderal can be used if you are unable to take verapamil. Most people can manage a mild to moderate migraine attack with a small dose painkiller. Many people wonder why they can’t take their migraine medications. Unfortunately, triptans such Imitrex are contra-indicated. Keep your chin up! There are always new treatments and research. With more research, this issue could change.