What Is a Hemiplegic Migraine?

Migraine is a complex neurological disorder that usually includes headaches (but not always). Before the migraine associated headache pain kick in, sufferers can experience a variety of additional symptoms called auras that act as warning signs that the migraine is coming. Auras, include temporary body disturbances that include weird sensations, muscle control and vision problems.

Hemiplegic migraine is a severe sub-type in the migraine group and one of the most serious and debilitating migraines. For hemiplegic migraine sufferers, paralysis and muscle weakness can be so extreme and pronounced that they can cause a temporary, stroke like paralysis (called hemiplegia) on one side of the body.

Hemiplegic Migraine Symptoms

Hemiplegic migraine stroke like symptoms frequently starts in childhood and for some, disappears in adulthood. Symptoms range from troublesome to debilitating and they often differ person to person and are very unpredictable. For example, one month a hemiplegic migraine headache could involve minor paralysis and extreme pain and the next month it could be a minor headache and extreme paralysis. Additional symptoms include, but aren’t limited to, severe, pulsating pain on one side of the head, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body which can include your face, arm or leg, loss of balance and coordination, nausea and vomiting, confusion, slurred speech and even coma. With hemiplegic migraine, the aura symptoms are often more severe and can last longer than with other migraines, typically from 5 minutes to an hour. It’s uncommon, but some hemiplegic migraine sufferers progressively develop long lasting coordination and movement problems.

Hemiplegic MigraineĀ Approach

When symptoms of hemiplegic migraine occur, it is crucial that a solid diagnosis by a specialist who can explain the sudden onset of one sided numbness or weakness. One thing that you may not know yet is that triptans should be avoided during the aura phase of hemiplegic migraine, despite the fact that it is often prescribed for migraine, just one of many reasons to confirm your specific problem. There’s little definitive research yet that has established the best course of drug treatment for hemiplegic migraine.

Safe and Natural Hemiplegic MigraineĀ Approach

Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a very specific (and gentle) form of Chiropractic care that specifically addresses the vertebral subluxation located at the top of the spine. Realigning the vertebra located by the brain stem assures the appropriate flow of communication between your nervous system and the rest of your body, allowing healing properties and proper brain stem function. This advanced chiropractic procedure has been successfully used to treat hemiplegic migraines in some cases and is definitely worth considering before opting for more invasive approaches or unpredictable, side effect riddled medications.

What to Do Next


Dr. Tymothy Flory, Dr. James Weiss and Dr. Jameson Wong of Atlas Spinal Care in Upland, California are Upper Cervical Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and surrounding areas. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems.